This is an excerpt from the weekly exposition I deliver at the church I serve, taken from The Secret to Enduring Faith, from Hebrews 12:1-2.
I have been reading the book Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose. It chronicles the exploits of Easy Company of the US Army during World War II. They were known as one of the best combat outfits in the military. Being a volunteer outfit, only the strictest requirements let a young soldier in. Physical training was of utmost importance, the men doing it most of their waking hours. Intended to be a paratrooper regiment, the men began to get irritated that they had not began training in that regard. They did nearly twice as much calisthenics as normal basic.
However, basic came to an end and the boys transferred from Camp Toccoa in Georgia to Camp Mackall in North Carolina. Training at Mackall was to be broken into four regimens, A, B, C, and D. A was to be strictly physical exercises. Easy was so well-trained physically that they were able to skip Week A. The men began doing their runs backwards, literally running around the staff sergeants as they led them out on runs, and challenging the staff sergeants to races.
After two days of this abuse, the staff sergeants went to the CO and recommended that the boys of Easy advance to Week B and skip A. Standing in awe of the boys' endurance, the staff sergeants, as well as men from other outfits, got out of their way and let them begin training as paratroopers.
Many of us know similar people in our walks of faith. Much like the boys of Easy, we stand in awe of some of our contemporaries' faith. How do they do it? How do they endure under such difficult circumstances? Many of us have mature Christians we look up to and we wonder where they get their strength and stamina from.
The writer of Hebrews says, "Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." The Christian experience is like a race and not an easy one. This is one of the grand lessons of Hebrews 11. By faith each figure in chapter eleven endured, and it wasn't by perfect faith, but by enduring faith. Now the writer wants us to know how to endure just as those of the roll call.
The two secrets to enduring faith are so simple anyone can follow them; even me! First, we must lay aside every impediment. And then, we must keep our eyes on Jesus. Simple, isn't it?