“Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” (Hebrews 12:12-15)
Here the writer summarizes the practical results of trials in our life: They make possible the demonstration of a new kind of living, which is what the world is looking for. The world is not at all impressed with Christians who stop doing something the world is doing. But they are tremendously impressed with Christians who have started living the kind of a life they cannot live. That stops them! That is the life he is setting before us here.
First it starts with correction. …strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet, That is, if you keep on going the way you are going it will only get worse — that which is lame will be put out of joint. But stop it and strengthen these things. Stop being so weak, stop being so anxious, so worried. How will the world get the impression that Christ is victor if they look at you and you are always in defeat? Strengthen these things and learn how to live in peace with your neighbor, to live in peace with everyone. And above all, seek to be holy because, without holiness no one will see the Lord.
What does this word mean? Holiness is the exact Greek word that is also translated in this letter sanctification. To sanctify means to put to its proper use. When a man or a woman is believing that Christ indwells him and gives him everything he needs for every minute, he is being put to the proper use, the use for which God intended man. This is holiness, this sense of dependence and availability to God. This is what makes the world sit up and take notice as they see Christians living the kind of life that is always adequate for every circumstance.
The second phrase has to do with our concern for others: See to it that no one fall short of the grace of God. We are not to live our lives to ourselves. Others are looking to us and we have a responsibility to them. He points out the something that will stop the grace of God in any person’s life — bitterness. Bitterness is always wrong. No matter how justified the cause of bitterness may be, to have a bitter attitude as a Christian is always wrong, for resentment and bitterness are always of the flesh. The trouble is, they are highly contagious diseases. If one person is bitter and continues in an unforgiving, bitter spirit, others are infected by this and it spreads and defiles many. This is the problem in many a church today. So, if you see someone around you that has this problem, help him to see that this is a terrible thing that will wreck his life, making it impossible to grow as a Christian.
Here, then, is the ministry we are to have: To have a life in ourselves that is characterized by a display of that holiness, that sanctification, that proper use of our humanity that makes God visible in us, and to manifest it in a deep concern for the welfare of others, that no one else miss the grace of God.
Father, by your Spirit teach me this new kind of living, which will result in me being set apart for exactly those purposes you have created me for.
Are we intentionally dependent and available to the power and Presence of the indwelling Lord Jesus Christ? Do we allow bitterness toward others to obstruct God’s grace in us, and through us to others?