"Lest Ye Be Wearied And Faint In Your Minds"
Often parents wearied by their children on some matter will say, "Let's not talk about it anymore, I am tired of hearing about it." Years ago a young lady said in my presence, "I am tired of hearing about the 'Issues'." This attitude in some says, "We are going to preach the gospel and leave these things alone as we are not bothered with them." I may be wrong, and hope I am, but I sense among some the attitude that they are "Tired of hearing about it." Again, I may be wrong and hope that I am, but it appears that some feel the battle is won. Perhaps this is true in some areas but it is not true in most. Liberalism is not dead, no matter what form, and we are not "winning the battle" as a very prominent brother remarked to me some time ago. The fight for men's souls is never ended. The race in which the Christian is running is not over until death closes over him. Those who would allow themselves to become "tired" are in reality succumbing to the "Devil's Brew." Each day congregations are being absorbed into the fold of Liberalism. It matters not if the Liberalism be in the organization, work, worship, plan of salvation or purity of the lives of members, it is still to be fought.
In Hebrews 12:1-4 the writer compares the Christian life to a race. Anyone who has participated in a track meet is aware that a contestant must follow the course officially laid out. Likewise for the Christian the race is "set before him." The course is clearly defined by God's Word, illuminated by the examples of such faithful men as Paul, and marked unmistakably by the footprints of the Son of God.
Even as a race is a beehive of activity so is the Christian's life. There is no room for indolence, laziness, or indifference. One must be constantly on guard, diligent at all times, ready for conflict and suffering if need be. Progress is hindered by many strong adversaries who take forms not always easy to recognize. We must battle these foes and many difficulties if we would "run the race set before us." If we should live 100 years, what is that compared to eternity? It is a short period of struggle in our race when compared to an eternity of rest and reward for the faithful. As a 9 seconds 100 yard dash is short compared to the glory brought, so is our struggle compared to the glory awaiting those like Paul who "finish the course."
Our text cites two things needing elimination; "every weight" and the "sin which doth so easily beset us." Among the weights one must set aside may be found customs, practices, associations and habits that are not sinful within themselves, yet hinder us in our efforts to overcome the devil. The "besetting sin" is the cloak the devil is waiting to place gently on sagging shoulders. Every man has some weakness in one of the areas of sin the devil uses, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. Failure to accept and deal with such weakness allows the devil to overcome us.
Two things the Hebrew writer states will help the Christian in the race that is "set before him." One is looking to Jesus as the perfecter of "our faith" and the other is a consideration of him as he withstood the opposition of Satan here on earth.
"For consider him that hath endured such gainsaying of sinners against himself, that ye wax not weary, fainting in your souls." (ASV, Heb. 12:4) The King James states it: "Lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." We thus see the danger exists of becoming weary and fainting in our minds or souls. Outward weariness comes from inward weariness. When a man loses his hope and enthusiasm, his heart will then lose its faith. This will be shown by a loss of vigor in his physical or spiritual activities.
One of the greatest lessons taught in God's word is on the danger of becoming weary in our service of God. Most all men have experienced some form of it at one time or another and they manifested it, with God's evident disapproval for all to see. Faithful Noah became weary, went on a drunk so to speak, and what modern man would not attempt to justify his actions for "after all look what he had been through!" Faithful Abraham tired of trusting God for his safety, and thus told his wife to lie while in Egypt. Faithful Sarah tired of waiting for God's promised offspring, and supplied her handmaid to help God. Faithful Moses, righteously tired of his murmuring brethren, struck the rock instead of speaking to it as God commanded. Because of his weariness, he fainted in his mind, disobeyed God and lost his reward of entering the promised land.
In the New Testament many man likewise became "tired." Many of Jesus' disciples tired of his "hard sayings" and offenses to "the herd," turned back. (John 6:66) Peter "tired" of being asked if he was a disciple of Christ so he cursed to the maid to show he was "one of the boys." (Matt. 26) Ananias and Sapphira tired of giving, so they lied to the Holy Spirit and lost their lives. (Acts 5) Those in Stephen's audience "tired" of having their shortcomings pointed out and they took his life. (Acts 7) It appears some in the Corinthian church "tired" of fighting against fornication or adultery so they allowed it to dwell among them "in peace." (1 Cor. 5) The Galatians tired of the pure Gospel and thus were ready to accept a little of the "old law" just as the Colossians also "tired" of it and stood in danger of accepting "....human philosophies." (Col. 2:8) The seven churches of Asia stand as a monument to whole churches becoming tired and sitting down to their own condemnation, unless repented of.
Proof men were "tired" is found in the fact that Jude was, "....constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend for the faith, which was once for all delivered unto the saints." (Jude 3, ASV)
It matters not if men grow weary or faint in their minds due to difficulties of life, apparent lack of progress, or because of some presumed or exaggerated sense of propriety. It is still weariness and faintness in mind and dangerous! Life is not all still waters and green pastures in spite of David's twenty-third Psalm. At times we make very little progress in our eternal fight with Satan. Still we can't test our spiritual condition by the way we "feel about it" Men are still saved by obedience to God's Word and not by their feelings. Many grow weary because of lack of prayer and concentration upon the spiritual. They concentrate upon the materialistic, numbers, building, contribution and such like. Lack of love for the truth is the basic problem.
"Consider him who endured...." (Heb. 12:3) This term "consider" is hard to express in English equivalents according to scholars, but it includes the following: "to consider, take account of, analyze, compare, think on." It is referring to Christ and His suffering as compared to ours. Our lot in life is much less than His. None would take our life as they did His, though some might desire such, He endured blasphemy, contradictions, slander, ensnaring questions, scourging, derision, and crucifixion. He was betrayed by one, denied by another, and forsaken by all in his hour of trial and tribulation. Yet He endured and left us a pattern and attitude for survival eternally.
My brother or sister, when you become tired of hearing things condemned which divide, corrupt, or mutilate the church, or which hinder those running the race set before them, it is time to "examine thyself, whether thou art in the faith." (2 Cor. 13:5) We need to attack all the forces of Liberalism with the very sword it attempts to use. Let us show by the light of God's Word who is really selfish or benevolent. Let us show by the light of God's Word who is dividing the church of our Lord. Let us never become weary or faint in our mind as we face this task, for "Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life" (Rev. 2:10), and "In due season we shall reap if we faint not" (Gal. 6:9)
— Winston, Oregon