As we step into 2017 we are being challenged by the Word and the Spirit to set the course of our lives to be true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the greatest destiny for us because although the modern message of our day may present an alternative destiny that involves reaching personal goals and dreams, the fact is, God has a higher destiny for his disciples. It is beyond the trappings of the ‘prosperity gospel or the personal dream message’. It is the Divine will of God to establish us as true disciples willing to pay any price required to complete his purpose. Matthew 14 v 27 reminds us of the cost of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. ‘…anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple’. The early disciples left everything behind and most paid the ultimate sacrifice in losing their lives for the sake of the gospel.
The writer to the Hebrews uses the heroes of faith from both the Old and New Testament to help us see that even when life takes us into the bleakest and darkest of times we are still able to walk by faith into the purpose of God. Jesus asked the Father to ‘take this cup from me’ referring to facing death upon the cross, but then exclaimed; ‘nevertheless thy will be done’. What would have been perceived as heaven’s greatest defeat by the enemy became the greatest victory for the whole of mankind. Let me remind you what Hebrews 11 verse 32 – 38 states, and take note that those who experienced complete victory as well as those who paid the ultimate price are commended for their faith in God. Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets… Through acts of faith, they toppled Kingdoms, made justice work. They took the promises for themselves. They were protected from lions, fires, and sword thrusts, turned disadvantage to advantage, won battles, routed alien armies. Women received their loved ones back from the dead. There were those who, under torture, refused to give in and go free, preferring something better: resurrection. Others braved abuse and whips, and yes chains and dungeons. We have stories of those who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood; stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless – the world didn’t deserve them – making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world.
(The Message) Their story of life is real history and they make up the great cloud of witnesses referred to in Chapter 12. These people blazed the way for us who now follow in the same faith and life of sacrifice as followers of Christ. Faith should not be focused upon what we can gain for ourselves but what we can give for the purpose of God. God will meet all your needs and that is a promise from him.
Thank God that I can conclude this article by writing of the ultimate victory of Christ which they and us will share in eternity. Hebrews 11 v 39 & 40; ‘These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect’.
As you walk through 2017 and on into your future be encouraged because whatever you carry for the sake of Christ will produce an eternal moment of victory. Bring your full focus upon the will of God no matter what you face and finish the course no matter what the cost.