Be strong as servants of God
1 So we have learned about many people who trusted God long ago. They are like a very big crowd all round us and we should copy their example. We must be like people who run in a race. We must throw away everything that stops us from running well. The sins that we do make us fall down very easily. We must not let those sins rule us. God has prepared the way that is in front of us. We must continue to be strong while we run along that way. We must choose to run that race well. 2 As we run, we must always look towards Jesus. He is the one who trusted God completely. Our faith starts with him, and he will help us to trust God all the way to the end. Jesus accepted punishment on the cross. He chose to receive much pain. He did not think about being ashamed to die like that. He knew that God had prepared something very good for him that would make him happy. Now he has sat down at the right side of God to rule with him in heaven.
12:1Our lives as Christians on earth are like a race. It is very important that each of us finishes the race. We must never stop obeying God. When sins give us trouble, we must stop doing those bad things. When we reach the end of the race and we have left this earth, we will then have life with God for ever.
3 So think carefully about how Jesus lived on earth. Bad people did very bad things against him, but he continued to be strong. Think about him, and then you will not become weak as Christians. You will not stop trusting God.
4 You have been fighting against sin in your lives. But you have not yet had to fight like that until someone killed you. 5 God speaks to you as his children. Do not ever forget these words in the Bible that will make you strong:
‘My son, when the Lord shows you what is right,
do not easily forget it.
Do not be upset when he punishes you.
6 The Lord does that to everyone that he loves.
He punishes everyone that he accepts as a son.’
7 When you have troubles in your life, you must be patient and strong. Remember that God is teaching you what is right because you are his children. There has never been any son whose father did not punish him. 8 God teaches all his children not to do wrong things. So if he does not punish you, it shows that you are not really his children. Instead, you are like children who do not really belong to him. 9 Also, we have all had human fathers who punished us. As a result, we respected them. So think about our Father that our spirits belong to. We must surely obey him, and then he will give us true life.
10 Our human fathers punished us for a few years. They did this in a way that they thought was good. But God punishes us in a way that will really help us. As a result, we can become completely good, like he is. 11 Punishment never makes us happy at the time when we receive it. No, the pain makes us sad. But later we know that the punishment has taught us good things. It helps us to live in a right way that gives us peace in our minds.
12 So be strong as servants of God! If your hands feel weak, lift them up! If your knees are not strong, stand up straight! 13 Walk straight in front of you, step by step! Your example will help other Christians to serve God well. People who cannot walk well will not become worse and fall down. Instead, their legs will become strong again.
12:13Our life as Christians is like a journey. We need to walk strongly as we serve God. When we feel weak, we must be brave and continue to walk well. If the stronger Christians serve God well, then weaker Christians will copy their example. The weak Christians will become strong and serve God well too.