We should “lay aside sin, which clings so closely, and ...run with perseverance” as indicated in Hebrews 12:1-2, 12-17. Being a true Christian involves dedication, hard work and being true to the Lord. We are to give up whatever endangers our relationship with God, to run the race of life with patience and dedication. We are to live our faith, so that people can tell we are Christians by our actions of love and kindness. When we are faced with hardships and disappointments, we can pray to God for guidance.

It is hard to keep the faith, but God holds the answers for us. Suffering is the training ground for Christian growth and maturity in the development of faith. It develops our patience and makes our final victory sweet. We need to fix our eyes on Jesus, who is our Christian model for everyone to follow. Jesus is the example of having the perfect faith, as he faced the cross bearing all the sins of the world. He was crucified on the cross. While on the cross, Jesus displayed the true faith. He forgave the people who crucified him, “saying they did not know what they have done.”

God requires Christians to strengthen their feeble arms and weak knees for their journey in life. He is calling all Christians to make the pathway for others to have a smooth path to follow. This requires us to level the paths for our feet so that others can follow without falling.

God is not only a loving God, he is also a demanding God who pushes us to our limits and requires our lives to be disciplined and us to do our best. He expects us to use the talents that he has given us to the best of our ability. If we do not use our talents, we will lose the talents that God wants us to share with others. We are given the ability to say “yes” or “no” to God’s calling. When we refuse to follow God, we must realize there will be a day of judgment and we will have to be accountable for our actions.

As we follow Christ, we can draw on his strength. We can use our growing strength to help the people around us who are weak and struggling. We can help the people to strengthen their faith. We should help the people to “treat people as they would like to be treated.” We should make every effort to live in peace with all people and to share our faith with others.

You will hear people say “keep the faith,” but I say “share the faith” is what God wants. Faith is like a small root that allows the tree to grow to become a great tree. Our faith can grow in sweetness and kindness following God’s will — or our faith can grow in bitterness and bring pain to others. Esau made the mistake of selling his birthrights to Jacob, his young brother. Esau’s right to inherit was rejected, so he became bitter toward his bother. Esau had to overcome his disappointment of selling his birthright and make peace with God. Esau was able to forgiven his brother.

How are you developing your faith?

J.B. Morris leads the Rock Hill United Methodist Church.