If we really give much thought to it, we’ve all had those defining moments in life.
I’m referring to those special times when we realize we are destined to follow a certain direction that will take us on a pivotal journey — an unanticipated adventure into experiences that will form our very being.
Some of those defining moments may be quite pleasant, while others may be quite unpleasant.
In reflecting, I can attest to both occurrences on numerous occasions in my own life. And, yes, the unpleasant ones have all had positive outcomes.
In fact, the unpleasant situations were the ones that have created the greatest impact on my life journey.
Rather than go on and on about my personal defining moments, let’s instead look at Scripture and some defining moments of a few of the saints mentioned in Hebrews 11.
Let’s start with the writer’s opening two verses: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.”
With that in mind, let’s examine some of these servants of God presented by the writer.
Let’s first look at Joshua and Caleb, the two of the 12 spies who came back from Canaan with a positive report to Moses. They stand out since the other 10 sent on the espionage mission came back with adversely different views of the Promised Land.
It took nearly 40 more years in the desert before these two faithful servants of the Lord would finally experience the fruit of their previously promised homeland while several million of their generation sadly perished in the desert.
Certainly David, the youngest of the seven sons of Jesse, stands out. After being anointed by Samuel as the next king of Israel (to one day take the throne from King Saul), David is best known for slaying the Philistine giant warrior Goliath with a single small smooth stone.
In God’s perfect time many years later, King David became the beloved leader of the nation of Israel and the beginning of the sovereign line of the tribe of Judah, which culminates in the eternal reign of Christ.
John the Baptist, the son of Zechariah and his barren wife, Elizabeth, who was miraculously born six months prior to the birth of our Savior deserves mention. He became the one calling out from the wilderness prophesying the coming of the Lord.
This unlikely character who lived in the desert region of Judea, was used by the Lord to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah. His reward: being beheaded by King Herod and an early entry into paradise.
And of course, we must mention Saul of Tarsus, who became the Apostle Paul after his conversion on the Road to Damascus. His encounter with Jesus turned him from a zealous persecutor of Christians into the most influential ambassador of Christ of all times.
Paul openly speaks of a “thorn in the flesh” received by a “messenger of Satan” to humble him after he apparently experienced Heaven in some manner.
To me, this speaks volumes of this man of God and one of his defining moments in ministry.
His missionary journeys brought thousands and thousands to Christ’s saving grace in the first century. Ultimately, his 13 letters (epistles) have been used by God through Holy Scripture to bring millions upon millions to faith in Christ.
In conclusion, I must disclose that defining moments can come from the Deceiver as well and the path, if followed, will certainly lead to destruction.
We would all be wise to follow the instruction found in Hebrews 10:23-25: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”