Hebrews 11:25 — choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.
A study of church history exposes you to the lives of men and women who are unbelievable examples of faithfulness to God. Many of the names and stories we most admire are those whose lives were marked by turbulence and hardship yet followed Jesus with courage and trust. Many are known for taking the gospel into hard and dangerous places. Some are known for their unwillingness to bow the knee to governing rulers and authorities threatening their lives if they didn’t recant their faith. Some suffered major hardships without grumbling, modeling humble faith.
Our passage in Hebrews comes from the chapter that celebrates the lives of those throughout the Bible. It is often referred to as the hall of faith. One of the things that marked these people was their choice to be mistreated rather than enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. They chose the selfless route instead of the self-indulgent route.
This is what it means to be a Christian. We live for Christ and we die to self. The Christian life is supposed to be marked by self-denial and putting off the flesh. This includes sins, but it also includes indulging in comfort when it conflicts with faithfulness. It includes willingness to be maligned and mistreated because living for Jesus is of more value than the acclaim of men.
Is your life marked by this willingness? This is what faith looks like. We prioritize a life for Christ above all things and let that dictate where everything else will fall. It is too easy to choose comfort and the pleasures of sin. Our flesh craves these actions. The aim is to choose each day to make honoring Christ our purpose in all we do. When that guides us, we will find conflict waiting us. It is in those moments we are to choose the road of selflessness – the one marked by honoring Christ despite the cost.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why is self-denial so difficult for us to consistently do?
- What personal struggles do you have with living for Christ and dying to self?
- Why is Jesus worthy of our full devotion? What can you do today to reprioritize living for Him?
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