“But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings; partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven.
Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.” -Hebrews 10:32-36
Often, when people try to lose weight or accomplish a certain goal, they’re encouraged to put up a photo or vision board where they’ll see it daily to remind them of their goal. The visual reminder helps serve as a reminder of your why and keeps you in check when you’re tempted to reach for yet another cookie.
In his letter to the Hebrews, Paul takes a similar approach. These people were being persecuted for their beliefs, their goods were being plundered, they were mocked and made a spectacle in front of their neighbors and friends, and sufferings tainted their lives. But they endured it joyfully because they were promised eternal life as their reward. So, Paul points to that vision of a heavenly home to motivate them to remain faithful.
Friend, we must be willing to give up this world, the lusts of the flesh and all that distracts us from our goal to live out the will of God, because He has promised us great and precious things: an eternal kingdom. As 2 Peter 1:4 says, we have been promised a heavenly city, a home land. And that is worth enduring suffering for, giving up this world and fighting the good fight. If you need a visual reminder of this promise, put up this verse (or another one that motivates you to stay the path) where you’ll see it every day. And then turn your gaze to that visual reminder and to Jesus to keep your focus on what truly matters.