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 was promised.
For yet in a very little while,
He who is coming 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 to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.
~ Hebrews 10.35-39, NASB
Welcome to mile-marker 11 of our 26-day #encourage marathon. (You can read yesterday’s post here.)
Someone out there is tempted to shrink back to the world. I hope that it isn’t you! If you are so tempted, I hope this short article will encourage you to keep moving in the right direction.
Today’s passage begins, “Therefore, do not cast away your confidence…” As you read through the Bible, take note of the word, “therefore.” Whenever you spot it, back up a few verses and figure out what it’s there for. In this particular passage, the preceding verses list some of the trauma those Christians had already endured because of their active faith in Christ. The Hebrew writer urges them not to cast aside their confidence/hope because they have already lost so much. He pleads with them to endure and not “shrink back.”
To shrink back is utter failure. To shrink back is forfeiture of the prize.
To “shrink” from something connotes fear coupled with backward motion. Visualize in your mind’s eye a person leaning away from a burning building or stepping slowly backwards from a deadly enemy.
Consider with me, for a moment, the account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego In Daniel 3. Nebuchadnezzar afforded them with two options—worship an idol with his favor or burn alive under his condemnation. These men had firmly followed God already, and the Lord had blessed them abundantly. Now, they were faced another, far greater challenge. They could have chosen to shrink from the fire and do the easy thing. They did not shrink back, but walked resolutely toward their fear—straight into the fire for the sake of the Lord.
Did God abandon them in the fire? Did he allow it to consume them?
The scripture tells us that an angel was with them in the furnace. When the three men emerged from the fire, their clothes were not singed, and the ropes that bound them had vanished. (There is another lesson in that as well—sometimes our times of trial and testing remove earthly bounds that keep us from the Lord!) They had faith in spite of their fear. Oh, that I and all believers would possess a faith such as theirs!
If there stands in our narrow path fire in front and mountains on either side, we have but two choices—turn back or walk through the fire. Do not shrink back, but look toward the reward that you see flickering beyond the flames. Keep running forward. You will not have to go through the inferno alone. Recall that great cloud of witnesses who have gone before you. They survived the blaze, and, through Christ, you can too.
Don’t shrink back. Press ahead toward the prize. It is a prize that demands everything, but is worth far more than anything.
I hope you’ll continue to join me on Facebook, Twitter and here at Elihu’s Corner for this marathon. Share the image or verse reference on your Twitter feed or Facebook page with the hash tag (#encourage). Take time today to copy down this verse for yourself. Send an email or text to someone you know who would benefit from this encouragement.
Make a little time each day to write down these verses. Studies have shown that the physical act of writing increases retention far more than typing or reading. When I was in college, I used to recopy my notes—cleaning them up, adding things I remembered, and placing emphasis on important facts. Because of this effort, I rarely had to cram for midterms or finals. I encourage you to make a practice of copying Bible verses, it really does help in the effort of committing the word to memory.
Here is my handwritten rendering of yesterday’s passage:
[If you click on the link in the passage at the top of the post, it will take you to BibleGateway.com. From here, you can click a link which allows you to share directly to Twitter, Facebook or send an email.]
Here is a list of the days we’ve covered so far: