The arm of flesh will fail you,
Ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the gospel armor,
Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. (Heb. 12:1)
To run the race with endurance suggests the imagery of the public games—the severe discipline and intense struggle required of any who would compete. Both Tyng and Liddle laid aside the weight and sin that so easily seduces and traps individuals. Because of personal conviction, Tyng spoke boldly against slavery and Liddell refused to run on Sunday. They chose to proceed with endurance the race set before them—without yielding to the pressure of those around them. It cost Tyng his pastorate and Liddell disrespect among his countrymen. . . until God gave him a double victory at the 1924 Paris Olympics. Hebrews exhorts the believer to abandon and reject the pressures and burdens that so easily seduce and entangle him. Though conceding to the pressures of others is tempting, the believer will find himself trapped and caught up with difficulties and troubles when choosing to surrender a conviction that God has placed within his heart. The Christian’s race is one that must be run with patient endurance, looking to Jesus, Author and Finisher of one’s faith. These are the hallmarks of the one who finds victory in Jesus, the one who inherits His promises.
While we may think it right to heed the voices of others when faced with opposition, God would have us slow down, get hold of His quiet, gentle—and persistent—voice before taking action. His voice is found in His Word. It is echoed in our conscience—that internal self-knowledge or judgment of right and wrong. Understanding that is established through Bible study and other Christian disciplines. We must heed our conscience which decides the lawfulness or unlawfulness of our actions, instantly approving or condemning them. Pressure from others is a strong opposing force. Whether the squeezing comes from people we work with, fellowship with, or live with, if God is whispering otherwise within our conscience, we would be wise to put on the gospel armor and go forth in His strength.
What choices are laid before you this day? Will you choose to heed the voices of others, or the soft, gentle voice of the Lord found in His Word and echoed in your conscience? The Bible exhorts you to be strong and courageous, neither afraid nor dismayed. The world relies on the strong arm of flesh, but the Lord your God is with you, able to help you in every weakness. The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own. Put on the gospel armor.