“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 NLT).
Hebrews 11 is the “faith chapter” that tells us about great people of the faith—Abraham, Moses, David, and many others. Their stories are sources of encouragement in and of themselves. But a phrase that starts off the first verse of the next chapter is what I want to focus on. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith . . .” (NLT)
What Paul is saying is that you don’t want to give up because heaven is watching and cheering for you. That’s encouraging news!
You have an audience. Nothing you have ever done has been hidden from heaven. God sees it all! As Job says, “He sees everything I do and every step I take” (Job 31:4 TLB). And Jesus tells us, “Even every hair on your head has been counted” (Luke 12:7 GW). God knows every detail of your life. He watches every breath you take. There are no secrets between you and him.
And it’s not just God who’s watching. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and all the other saints are there as well.
How is this encouraging? When you start to get discouraged, remember that people who have gone through much worse circumstances than you are watching to see how well you’re enduring.
When you feel like giving up, remember the people who have gone before you and are offering you encouragement through their life stories of faith.