This poetic expression, couched in Old Testament language (Isaiah 35:3; Proverbs 4:26), is a message of encouragement.
We need messages of encouragement—because we live in an environment that leads many to despair.
God has destined you, not for despair, but joy.
How do we experience this joy?
Remember the witnesses.
Old Testament heroes of the faith.
Men and women throughout human history have chosen to live by faith (trust in God and His plan).
Cloud: many—a multitude.
Key Point: You are not the only ones to go through the difficulties of life.
Look to those who have gone on before for encouragement, inspiration, and direction.
Run with Endurance.
In light of those who have gone on before, a person of faith lives to win this race called life.
Lay aside anything that impedes faith in Christ (weight)—our plans, hopes, and dreams.
The busyness of life.
Things that may distract us from serving God.
Lay aside sin.
The nature of the clinging sin is not defined, so as to have the widest possible application.
Easily surrounding (besetting)
Once we have jettisoned those burdens that my hold us back or trip us up, we...
Run with perseverance.
Pressing on to the end in spite of the difficulties.
This is not our own race—we are conforming to God’s will (plan, purpose).
Refocus on Jesus.
Looking to Jesus implies a definite looking away from others and directing one’s gaze toward Jesus.
It suggests the impossibility of looking in two directions at once.
In any contest a single eye for the finishing-post is essential.
We need to set our full attention on the most perfect example of what it means to be a person (as God intends us to be).
Look at His Credentials
“the founder and perfecter of our faith.”
Jesus pioneered the path of faith Christians should follow.
He also perfected the way of faith since He reached its end successfully.
Look at His Joy
“who for the joy that was set before him.”
How can one be filled with joy in the face of suffering?
The joy is in what the suffering (the cross) brings: salvation, restoration, fellowship with God.
The joy of what would be accomplished takes precedence over the momentary hardship.
Look at His Endurance
Jesus endured the cross.
The cross of Christ represents the greatest suffering in history, for Jesus not only suffered physically but also experienced God’s just wrath in taking upon himself the sin of the world.
Look at His Attitude
“Despising the shame...”
Crucifixion, performed naked and in public, and inflicting prolonged pain on the victim, was intended to cause shame as well as death.
Jesus possessed the attitude of not ignoring the shame, but holding it to be of no consequence in view of the joy.
Look at HIs Authority
“And is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
In the New Testament, the cross is at once linked with resurrection and exaltation.
It is never seen as an end in itself.
We are called to life by faith—a faith that is filled with joy.
We are given a clear path to faith and joy:
Remember the witnesses (the people of faith that have gone on before).
Run with endurance (be persistent and deliberate in your actions and attitudes as a follower of Jesus Christ.
Refocus on Christ—our supreme example of living a life that please and glorifies God.