“For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” (Hebrews 12:3)
Faith in Christ does not make one immune to spiritual weariness and faintness of mind. This condition may arise from frustration at our own natures, our inability to love God as we ought, to pray effectively, to understand the Scriptures, or to bear fruit for Him. We may feel that our best efforts to represent God in our community have been of no avail and very few show by their lives that our witness and ministry have been effective.
Sometimes we may question why God does not choose to favor all those who follow Him with material blessings and pleasant circumstances, but instead, at times, the wicked prosper. Looking at the tide of evil sweeping our world can leave us faint and weary.
But the answer to our dilemma is Christ! Reflection on Him will re-energize even the most discouraged saint, for He “endured such contradiction [or opposition] of sinners” (today’s verse), was victorious, and now promises to lead us to similar victory (see Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:15-16, for example). It will help us to persevere if we notice how He endured, “who, when he was reviled, reviled not again” (1 Peter 2:23), and that He endured it all, not just for Himself or just for His followers, but also for us, who, “when we were enemies [of Christ], we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10).
The so-called “Hall of Fame of Faith” (Hebrews 11) immediately precedes today’s verse. Reflection on the testimonies of those faithful and victorious warriors, coupled with our example of Christ, will make our greatest burden seem light and should spur us on to even more effective and sacrificial labor. JDM