What Does It Mean That Jesus Is the Pioneer and Perfecter of Our Faith?

Susan Aken

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Published: Jun 05, 2023
What Does It Mean That Jesus Is the Pioneer and Perfecter of Our Faith?

Jesus calls us to run with perseverance, meaning we keep running no matter what is thrown in our path. Our goal is to press on regardless of how often we fall or take a wrong direction. We don’t quit. 

I desire to live a life that pleases God. My hope when I die is to hear, “Well done!” But how do I please Him? Perfection is an impossible goal. I’m messy, weak, easily distracted, and so often choose what is best for myself instead of the Lord. 

I recently began a day intending to seek God first, meditate on His Word throughout the day, and love those He would bring across my path. Instead, I ended up spending much of my free time reading novels on my iPad and paid little attention to the people around me. My intentions were good, but I faltered. Days like this happen too often in my life.

This Scripture encourages me:  “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1b-2a NIV). 

The Pioneer and Perfecter of Our Faith

What does it mean that Jesus is “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith?”

Jesus originated our faith by living a sinless life, dying on the cross to pay our sin debt, and then conquering death by rising again. Without wavering, He trusted completely in His Father. Anyone who believes in Him will receive the fruits of His perfection. Once we trust in Jesus, our souls are secured for eternity. He gives us the salvation He earned.

When we respond to His call, we receive the gift of His Holy Spirit. So, He is the Pioneer of our faith. We would never be able to begin that journey without His Spirit.

Jesus is also the Perfecter of our faith. The writer of Hebrews compares a believer’s journey to a race. Scripture teaches what that race looks like:

We follow Jesus, seeking Him with all our hearts. He commands us to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul and to love our family, friends, neighbors, and enemies as ourselves. Teaching the gospel and pointing others to Jesus should be a priority. We make prayer and reading the Bible a part of our daily lives. Above all, we trust and obey God. 

He wants us to follow Him with the gifts and personality we have. When we choose Jesus, we choose life and joy. 

The Path

How do we keep running? How do we know what direction to take?

The author of Hebrews challenges us to fix our eyes on Jesus. By focusing on Him, we can run effectively. Just as a runner has to look ahead in order to continue, we must give our attention to Jesus. He then shows us how to live by faith and honor God. If a runner were to spend time looking back or at those around her, she would veer off course. 

Too often, I focus on how far ahead others are: how much better they are than I am at following Jesus. Other believers appear to be more effective than I am, and it’s like I’m a turtle next to a racehorse. But this is not a competitive race. We’re a team. By comparing, I lose my effectiveness.

I must keep my eyes on Jesus because it’s all about Him. Jesus told His disciples, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NIV). Without Jesus and His call, we would continue heedlessly into eternity without hope, like sheep heading for the edge of a cliff with no thought of what’s to come. The Shepherd’s voice turns us from certain death. When we put our faith in Him, He rescues us and gives us life. As we continually look to Him, He perfects our faith by guiding us through this life and into eternity.

Jesus enables us to persevere and finish well. The Apostle Paul was confident, saying, “that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV). Jesus is not only the originator of our faith, but He perfects our faith.

When we put our eyes on self, trouble, comfort, addictions, pain, entertainment, or anything that entangles us, we are hindered, and we stumble. (Hebrews 12:1). 

Sometimes I feel like I stumble so much more than I run. I’m so easily ensnared by selfishness, pride, comfort, and ease. I get distracted and wander away from the course He has marked for me.

Jesus calls us to run with perseverance, meaning we keep running no matter what is thrown in our path. Our goal is to press on regardless of how often we fall or take a wrong direction. We don’t quit. 


Persevering in obedience is the goal. I seek Jesus, learn from Him, walk with Him, and in quietness listen to His Spirit. Then I obey the next thing He says. I meditate on His Word and live it as best I can. It’s taking the next step, obeying the Light I have, moving toward Jesus, yielding instead of resisting, doing the next thing even when it’s hard, and trusting Him no matter what. When I mess up, fall, or disobey, I’m called to confess, repent, and keep going.  

It’s a “long obedience in the right direction,” knowing that Jesus, who drew me to believe in Him, will also perfect my faith. Every person’s journey is unique, and we’re always covered by His grace. Scripture assures us that our souls are His forever, and nothing can take us from Him. 

God is looking at our hearts. The one who loves Him with all their heart and perseveres in following Jesus will hear, “Well done.” And all who belong to Him will be with Him for eternity. 


Jesus, I get so easily entangled. Sin trips me up: especially the sin of self-indulgence. Too often, I waste time and turn to so many mindless escapes that distract me and keep me from hearing You. I know these things aren’t bad in and of themselves, but when they keep me from hearing and following You, they become hindrances. Thank You for giving me the grace to believe in You, and thank You for keeping me firm to the end. 

I need Your help, Lord, to throw off everything that hinders me. I can’t do it in my strength. Please give me wisdom and power to live a balanced life that is yielded to You. Please give me ears to hear all You want to say. 

I look to You as the Pioneer of my faith and thank You for choosing me. I trust that You will also help me end with faith as You bring me into Your kingdom. Help me finish well, Lord. I trust You to complete the work You began in me.

“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV)

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/kieferpix

Susan Aken writes devotions and articles for Wholly Loved Ministries, is an Oklahoma native who’s lived in Nebraska since 1987 and has been in public education for over thirty years. She and her husband have one son and a wonderful daughter-in-law. Besides writing she has a passion for special needs and prayer ministries. She enjoys time with family, reading, photography, movies, walking in nature, and a nice cup of tea. She believes life is a journey and we’re all in different places. Jesus is everything to her and it’s all about grace. Visit her at susanaken53.wordpress.com or on Facebook.

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