Make Straight Paths
“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed” (Heb. 12:12–13).
All Christians learn quickly that living a life of faithfulness is not an easy task. Temptations come at us in order to hinder us from pressing forward towards the prize of heaven. Sometimes we grow weary as we run the race that Jesus Christ has set before us.
The people of God have always had to face these difficulties. Even the earliest generations of believers, like the original audience of the book of Hebrews, had to deal with such problems. However, instead of pressing on, this audience began to slow down in the race and considered leaving it entirely. They were considering a return to the old covenant. They wanted to run away from the goal.
Seeing this, the author of the letter to the Hebrews wrote to them to encourage them to continue pressing forward and not to turn away. In the first part of the epistle, he concentrates on the superiority of Christ over the angels and Moses in order to get his audience refocused on the goal of their race (1:1–3:6). Lest these emphases not convince the runners to run toward the finish line, the author also makes sure to remind his audience that Christ has brought about the new covenant through the superior sacrifice of Himself (6:13–10:18).
Because of these realities, the author calls them (and us as well) to move forward, cheered on by the faithfulness of those who have gone before us and have already crossed the finish line by dying in faith (10:19–12:2). He tells us to recognize the loving hand of the Lord’s discipline that, in the end, will make us runners who run with vigor and holiness (12:3–11).
In today’s passage, the author continues his exhortations by again using the metaphor of the Christian life as a race to be run. He calls us not to allow ourselves to be forever slowed down by trials but rather to “strengthen” our weak knees and “make straight paths” for our feet (vv. 12–13). When we grow weary from running the race, we must not stop and rest or allow ourselves to fall from the path. Rather, by God’s grace we must strengthen ourselves so that we may keep running. Ultimately, any strength we have comes from Jesus, and it is Him we must first seek if we want to finish the race.
As you press forward toward Christ, do you find yourself growing weary? Do you find that your knees are growing feeble and that you are swerving back and forth on the path toward the finish line? If so, spend some time in prayer asking God to strengthen you, and if you already feel strong, ask Him to sustain your strength by His grace.
Passages for Further Study
- Neh. 6:9b
- Isa. 35
- Phil. 4:13 1
- Peter 5:10
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