Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…
consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself,
lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.
As I was having my devotional this morning, the Lord started speaking to me, not verbally of course, but in my spirit regarding the challenges I have been facing lately. I like to call them challenges, because that means they can be overcome with God’s help. For the Word tells us , “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
The Lord used the analogy of a rose. You know, you can’t pluck a rose and leave the thorns behind. The rose comes with the thorns…the beauty comes with the briar…the petals come with the prick. We can choose to focus on the thorns or the rose. Our attitude will be determined solely by the focus of our choosing. Wouldn’t it be ridiculous to stare at the barbs when you have unfolding before you lovely silken petals? Wouldn’t it be foolish to sacrifice the soothing aroma for the anxiety of the prick? So life is like a budding rose. Each day unfolds anew with awesome beauty and fragrance. But many times, along with the beauty comes a thorn or two. Sometimes it seems that there are more thorns than petals! Continue to focus on the flower. Continue to revel in its beauty and fragrance. When you do, God will make a way, not to avoid the thorns, but to overcome them.
Go back and read our scripture verse again…slowly to let each sentence sink in. It tells us that Jesus had thorns to overcome…literal thorns. Not only so, but He shed His own blood on a Roman cross as a sacrifice for our sins, past, present and future. He chose not to focus on the thorns, but on the throne! He was joyful about the final outcome…our salvation! Oh, how much He loves us! So consider Jesus when you feel the thorns of adversity. Consider Jesus so that you don’t become weary and discouraged in your soul. You haven’t striven so much that you shed your own blood the way He did. Be thankful for the Rose of Sharon who took a crown of thorns so that we might…“have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)