2017 has been a wild year for me, personally. I quit my teaching job, finished out my first year of marriage, started full time ministry, began this blog, took a long hiatus, picked it back up, and was running a ministry for the first time. Everywhere I looked, there were changes and moments I felt ill-prepared for. I had a fairly stable life for the past few years, and ’17 turned everything on its head. I didn’t realize how many fears and insecurities I had until my illusions of control and safety were pulled out from under me.
In this crazy, challenging season, I noticed something about myself… and almost everyone else in my life. We tend to run away from Jesus when we don’t “have it together.” Shame, confusion, and worry kick in, activating our fight or flight reactions. Honestly, I choose flight almost every time. I try to withdraw, get my issues under control, and avoid vulnerability. My plan is to come back once things look better on the outside. We all know that this doesn’t work, yet we choose the path that helps us feel less broken and look more together.
We do this [run our race] by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Hebrews 12:2
I stumbled across this verse yesterday, and it stopped me in my tracks. So often, I think that I have to fight for myself, but this reminds me that Jesus is the Champion of our faith. He initiates it—because we weren’t the ones who began this relationship. He is the one who came, lived, died, rose, and made a way for us to walk with Him now. He perfects our faith, because only through Him can we, too, become holy. We are perfected as we continue to look more like Jesus, and that only happens as we look more at Jesus. This is such serious business that it is the whole work of the Holy Spirit—to keep our eyes on Christ.
He is the Champion who begins and completes our faith. Often, when we feel unseen, unworthy, or unlovable, we turn away from Him to lick our wounds. This is actually moving backwards, because the only one who can perfect us in these weak areas is the one we are hiding from. We hurt ourselves and the heart of God when we thing that by withdrawing, we can make things better. Healing, worth, and transformation only come in the presence of the One who already knows our hearts— the good, bad, and ugly.
We fight with ourselves, with those around us, and with our sin to make ourselves better, and this is no bad thing. It is our duty to “fight the good fight,” but never believe that you have to pull away and struggle alone. This is not your war. Turn toward your strength, and not away. The Champion of our faith is the one who wins our battles and makes us like Him as we fight.