A Call to Persevere

On March 6, 1987, Eamon Coughlan, the Irish world record holder at 1500 meters, was running in a qualifying heat at the World Indoor Track Championships in Indianapolis. With two and a half laps left, he tripped and fell, but he got up and with great effort managed to catch the l … More

Perseverance

Hebrews encourages believers to persevere in their Christian faith and conduct when facing persecution and pressure. There had been a time when those to whom this letter was written had known persecution; and they had learned what it was to become involved with those under suspicion (vv. 32-34). They had met that situation with gallantry and with honor.

The Christians were encouraged to remember the sufferings they had endured right after they were saved. They had been willing to suffer reproach, even to the point of losing all their earthly possessions. They had cheerfully and compassionately accepted the persecution and hardships that came their way. People can only do this when they live by faith (v. 38). “Now the just shall live by faith” is taken from Habakuk 2:4 and also quoted in Romans 1:17 and Galatians 3:11. We don’t usually think of suffering as good for us, but it can build our character and our patience.

A believer who does not walk by faith often goes back into his old ways and wastes his life. A good way to fortify people against future trials is to remind them of the courage they displayed in the past. That seems to be what the author is doing in these verses. As long as they had their eyes fixed on the Lord who never changes, nothing could move them or divert them from following Him. They would be able to face all the pressures and all of the problems of life steadfastly and unmovable, just like they had in the past. The writer’s call to them was to continue with determination and perseverance.

Application

Christianity does not demand the impossible; but if I am always as honest, as kind, as courageous, as courteous as I can be, my life will be much more profitable.

Hebrews 10:32-39 (English Standard Version)

But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, "Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him." But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

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