The Olympics are so inspiring.
Have you ever met young people with such dedication and commitment? These people in their teens and twenties are focussed on one thing alone. They don't go out late with friends, they don't eat junk food, they don't see the newest release from Universal Studios, they don't even get jobs to buy that nice car they saw for sale down the street. They eat, sleep, practice, work out, practice, do some school work-if they're still in school, practice some more, go to sleep then get up and do it again. They give almost every waking hour preparing in some way to be the best in their sport...they hope...the best in the world.
This isn't pie-in-the-sky hope. This is hope with feet. This is the kind of hope that gained people in the ancient world approval, according to Hebrews 11. We might view this kind of approval in the same way we view a gold medal. This is the approval by the world of a job well-done. Hope that moves a human to such effort that the results bring this kind of approval is more than a wish.
This hope is what Hebrews 11 calls faith, or conviction. I think we relate better to the word "conviction."
If I have the conviction that I can be the best in something, it motivates me to action...or does it? That kind of dedication and effort is very rare today. I can honestly say I've never been that dedicated to anything in my life.
The sad part about that confession is that I've never even given that kind of effort to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God interceding.
And all for me.
Those drops of blood he sweated out due to severe emotional stress...those were for me. The crown of thorns pressed down into his forehead and temples...that was for me. The suffocating anguish He endured while hanging on a wooden crossbeam by gigantic nails pierced through his wrists and feet...that was all for me. For me and for you.
There are so many promises I see in scripture, promises of God's kingdom power available to us here and now. Promises I don't see fulfilled.
But what would happen if I dedicated myself to prayer? What if I prayed and kept on praying until I knew how to pray?
What might be possible if I read the Bible and believed those promises were for me today? What if I put feet to faith because of the conviction that nothing is impossible with God?