Matters of Faith: Don’t Look Back

Hebrews 10:27

“Remember how it was with you in the past. In those days, after God’s light had shone on you, you suffered many things, yet were not defeated by the struggle. You were at times publicly insulted and mistreated, and at other times you were ready to join those who were being treated in this way. You shared the sufferings of prisoners, and when all your belongings were seized, you endured your loss gladly, because you knew that you still possessed something much better, which would last forever. Do not lose your courage, then, because it brings with it a great reward.You need to be patient, in order to do the will of God and receive what he promises.”

In this text, the writer points out negative things that had happened and tells his readers to remember those things. He tells them to remember the suffering that they endured. They were bought out of darkness and immediately into suffering, not because of what they themselves had done, but because of their self-identification as believers, as well as their public association and affiliation with other believers.

They were humiliated and ridiculed publicly, yet ready, willing and would eventually join other believers who had been tortured, jailed and martyred. They even endured the destruction, seizure and loss of their property, but they remained faithful. They were not overcome nor were they defeated. They did not look back.

They were encouraged to redirect their attention so that it wasn’t on the temporary joys of this world, but the reward to follow. They knew that tough times never last, but tough people do. They knew that the race is not given to the swift nor to the strong, but to those who endure until the end.

Last Sunday, thousands of people ran in the NYC Marathon. One of my friends who has run around 22 marathons shared with me that he was ready to throw in the towel less than thirty minutes into the race. He said he just became overwhelmed and stopped right there on the Verrazano Bridge. Runners were whizzing past him as he contemplated quitting.
He told me that the one thing he did not do was look back. He said had he looked back, he would have surely gotten depressed and bowed out. So, he stood there for every bit of three minutes, which, for a competitive marathon runner, is an eternity. Suddenly, something came over him and he knew that he could not quit. He could not throw in the towel. He had to go on. He finished the race in 5 hours, 9 minutes and 59 seconds, far short of his usual under four hour runs, but he finished.

Did you notice the similarities in the text and the story? Both succeeded because they didn’t quit. If you endure like a good athlete, like a good soldier, if you’ve set God’s priorities as your priorities, then failure is not an option. It doesn’t matter and it won’t matter what challenges, what difficulties or what circumstances you run into along the journey, people who live by faith do not turn back! They don’t look back. They press on to the high calling of Christ Jesus, just like those who finish the race. Don’t look back!

Be Blessed +++

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial &. Strategic Consulting, and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen by phone” at 626-226-1448. Be sure to Friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook and email us at Order your copy of Matters of Faith: The Book at Book Blues.

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