Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Heb. 6:9 ¶ Even though we speak in this way, beloved, we are confident of better things in your case, things that belong to salvation.
Heb. 6:10 For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.
Heb. 6:11 And we want each one of you to show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end,
Heb. 6:12 so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Even in the early period of the Church there were those who were falling away from the faith. They had begun their walk with Jesus Christ but would not persevere. Here we find the encouragement to hang in there, and to be focused on the things that lead to salvation -- not the distractions that life can throw your way. There will be disappointments along the way in life; things will not always go the way you may have imagined, but in the end we must recognize that God us just and will recognize your faithful service. First of all we are to minister to those who are also of faith, but then also diligently work for Christ, day in and day out. There should be those whom we desire to imitate and realize their faith and patience that helped them endure to the very end for it is in that moment that we will "inherit the promises" of God.
Don't you hate the idea of perseverance? In my mind I envision someone who is pushing through life with all the strength they can muster. Some days it's an uphill battle, but at other times it's a fun glide down the backside of the hill. However, the importance of perseverance is the continuous forward motion. There is no stopping along the way - no saying this is good enough; I've made it this far and now I can stop. Instead there is continuous upward and forward motion in the life of an individual who is ever pressing on to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ.
Gregory of Nyssa long ago said that if you are not moving forward spiritually, then you are sinning. Wow -- what a concept. I'm afraid that too often we've thought that we have "arrived" at a particular point spiritually and we fail to understand that even when we have experienced particular crisis moments in our lives there is still more to come! Those experiences only take us to higher heights in our walk so that we can continue the climb to become more and more like Christ. In this we must persevere.
A final warning is not to become sluggish! I have to confess that there are times that I feel a bit sluggish in my faith and in my life. When I am tired and worn out, then I don't have the energy to persevere. It is in these times of human frailty that we can be caught in a trap of sluggishness. I think that might happen from time to time but the admonition here is not to "become sluggish." I think that is a persistent state -- one that becomes the norm for an individual. We may have a rough day here and again, but the idea of perseverance should be with us. I must push on, I must push through what is happening with me and then this will keep from a state of sluggishness.
I'm guessing that we can all bring to mind those who have been great examples of those who have persevered. When we need encouragement, allow our minds to focus on those who have gone before and have been an example to us. Be imitators of those who have gone before. In this way we will now have a path to follow -- the path already laid for us by those who have previously climbed the mountain of faith. Hang in there -- I know life is tough -- but we must persevere.
Lord, please help me today to continue the upward climb with you. Amen.