Running with Horses, Part 4
We have been doing a series on running with the horses. Jeremiah is asking God a question: why do the wicked prosper? We have been looking at God’s response to his question. In Jeremiah 12:5 God tells Jeremiah this: “If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?”
We will continue in Revelation 6:9-11, which tells us, “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, ‘How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?’ Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.”
All over the world Christians are being persecuted and martyred. On the average, about eleven Christians are martyred every day, and tens of thousands every year. Yet for decades, pastors (especially here in America) have been preaching that this would not happen, that we would all be raptured. The verse that they quote is 1 Thessalonians 5:9, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Messiah Yeshua.” Now this is true, God does not want us to suffer wrath. But the wrath that He is speaking of is eternal damnation, because salvation is in Yeshua.
We must, as Christians, always be ready to lay down our lives for a friend. Yeshua gives new meaning to being a friend. He tells us this in John 15:13-15, “No one has greater love than this—that one lays down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything I heard from My Father.”
If we are Yeshua’s friend, then He is our friend; and if Yeshua is our friend, then we must gladly lay down our lives for Him. Like Yeshua, we too must pick up our cross and follow Him. Where? In losing our lives so that we may live, and this at times may mean literally losing our lives. God never asks us to do anything that He Himself has not done. We are His children, and we too must walk in His footsteps.
John 13:37-38 gives us some insight into this: “Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.’ Yeshua answered, ‘Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.’”
Peter in His head wanted to follow Yeshua, even to death, but we see that it really was not in his heart. We must be ready to lay down our lives if we must, and to do that we must draw close to God, praying without ceasing, meditating on His Word day and night. We must let go of this world. We must literally go through a dying process of letting go and denying ourselves, and most of all, growing our faith.
Philippians 3:7-11 tells us, “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Messiah. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Messiah Yeshua my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Messiah and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Messiah—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Messiah—yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.”
Paul also tells us in Romans 12:1, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
2 Timothy 2:3-7 tells us, “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Messiah Yeshua. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.”
If we endure till the end, Revelation 3:21 tells us our reward: “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” Yeshua picked up His cross and He was crucified, and so we too must deny ourselves and pick up our cross and crucify our flesh, and if the time comes, we may lose our lives for the gospel.
Yeshua warns us in Matthew 25:13, “So stay awake and be prepared, for you do not know the date or moment of My return.” Can you honestly say, “Well, it most likely won’t be in my lifetime”? Yeshua tells us, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
How about you? Are you ready to run the race to the end? If not, this is the time to prepare. Hebrews 12:1-3 tells us, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Yeshua, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Lord, make us ready so that in all situations we will be overcomers.