One of the most uplifting chapters in God’s word is Hebrews 11. It provides examples of what belief in God can achieve; the factor that should be the spiritual mainspring of our lives. The danger is, we might become too familiar with the lessons in this chapter and the ‘inspiration’ they offer. To say, ‘I believe’ is one thing, but what is the evidence of that belief?
Chapter 10 ends by making the point (remember that originally there were no chapter breaks) “… we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls”. And then, reading straight on into chapter 11, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”. Real faith means we have a “conviction”! The minds of those who possess it have a set state of thinking, they really know what the whole purpose of life is – God’s purpose: for all that exists “was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (verse 3).
Those who have this conviction are “made strong out of weakness” (verse 34) and Paul lists many examples of those possessing this conviction and ends by stating, “all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect”. We each ask ourselves – am I really part of this?
Again, ignoring the chapter break, absorb the point Paul makes next. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, (all these examples of faith) let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured …”.
Let us practice looking to Jesus more often. This is the only time the Greek word rendered “looking” occurs in the Bible? It means to be totally attentive, a fixed gaze! All those who have faith to do that will surely “be made strong out of weakness”.