“Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he ploughed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” (Hebrews 12:1-3, The Message)

As part of the French GCSE curriculum (yes, honestly) I have to teach about healthy lifestyles, including, of course, things that contribute to unhealthy lifestyles, such as drugs, alcohol and smoking. (Believe me, that’s interesting compared to the part where I have to teach about environmental issues…!) We look at reasons why people continue to do things that ultimately are harming their bodies and why those things are physically and psychologically damaging. I have absolutely no idea if this influences pupils in any way, but it ticks lots of Government boxes, I’m sure.

This version of Hebrews 12 in the Message made me think of those lessons. ‘Shooting adrenaline into the souls’ is a powerful image. Sometimes those with severe nut allergies carry epipens with them in case of anaphylactic reactions and as a teacher I’ve received training to administer adrenaline through an epipen. It’s fast, uncomplicated and very, very effective.

Hebrews 12 urges us to fix our eyes on Jesus if we want to know how to live effectively and study how He lived. Reviewing this story helps us to persevere. Ironically, adrenaline is a hormone that works in the short-term; it’s not long-lasting, but provides a boost for us in times of need. The Christian life is not a short-term race, but a marathon. Nonetheless, we all need that ‘something extra’ at times to keep on keeping on!

If perhaps you’re flagging at the moment, feeling the pressure or just feeling jaded, understanding our role in the bigger picture of God’s story and studying how Jesus lived is the best way to keep persevering. Focussing on God in worship and consciously dwelling on who He is help a lot too. The link below takes you to a series of videos from the ‘Big Church Day Out’ held in Eastbourne in May of this year, featuring a number of worship leaders such as Matt Redman, Tim Hughes, Phil Wickham and Casting Crowns. Maybe they will help to ‘shoot adrenaline into the soul’ and keep our eyes fixed on God!

Big Church Day Out 2012 videos
(The link is to Matt Redman’s live concert; other concerts available by clicking on the right hand side of this page.)