Living every moment for the glory of God
The letter to the Hebrews was written to people who had converted from Judaism to Christianity and were being persecuted as a result. However, chapter 12 teaches principles that apply to all Christians, regarding how we should live every moment for the glory of God.
Looking to Jesus
First, as followers of Christ, we should make a real effort to get rid of the sin in our lives (verse 1). We are to strive to be like our sinless God – to imitate and thus glorify him. We should follow the example of the ‘great cloud of witnesses’ whose stories are told in the preceding chapter and who had lived and died for their faith. If they were able to live God-pleasing lives through faith, so can we.
The beginning of Hebrews 12 likens the believer’s life to a race that we should run ‘looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith’. By keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus we can start to imitate him.
For example, if we understand how Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins, we shall learn how to live sacrificially ourselves. Again, seeing the way Jesus came ‘to seek and to save that which was lost’ will enable us to glorify God by seeking to bring others to Christ.
Many people turn their backs on God when things go wrong because they believe that God has abandoned them. When Job lost his children, livestock, servants and health, his wife told him to ‘curse God and die’ (Job 2:9). But he did no such thing.
Hebrews 12 actually explains how we can glorify God during times of trial – verse 3 tells us to ‘consider him (Jesus) who endured such hostility from sinners’. We can be comforted when we realise that whatever troubles we have, our Saviour had them all before.
Verse 7 says that ‘if you endure chastening, God deals with you as sons’. If we are never corrected we are not sons of God at all. When the suffering is over, says verse 11, it ‘yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness’. We should be thankful to God that he treats us as his children.
Verse 13 says, ‘make straight paths for your feet’. If we believe in Jesus we can do this by cultivating our relationship with God – by reading the Bible, praying, obeying Christ, and making Christian friends.
By doing this we show that we’re not just after a cheap ticket to heaven but that we love God and are grateful to him for his goodness and mercy.
Finally, we can honour God by our behaviour. We should ‘pursue peace and holiness’ (verse 14) and avoid the sins of idolatry and ungratefulness that Esau committed when ‘for one morsel of food [he] sold his birthright’ (verse 16). By living as God tells us to live we are bearing witness to our faith.
With all the sin and temptation around us it can be hard to glorify God. But we really must try to honour him in every aspect of our life – showing our gratefulness to the God who ‘loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16).