…about perseverance and fortitude.
One day last week I woke up at my usual time, but Donna slept through her alarm. I guess she was especially tired, because that’s unusual for her. In any case, when she came out of the bedroom ready for her workout, she remarked about having slept late and I replied jokingly, “That’s because you’re a lazy slug.” We both laughed, because that’s about as far from the truth as one can get. But that very morning I was reading Hebrews 6 and was struck with verses 9 to 12:
“But beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
The author has just peeled the bark off of his readers regarding the danger of thinking they could wander away from the Lord and live however they pleased, then just “renew them[selves] again to repentance,” as if they were being saved all over again and everything was simply overlooked. Now he apologizes for his abrupt manner with them and reassures them that he has much higher expectations for them. What strikes me about this passage is the broad, non-negotiable superlatives he uses: “each one of you,” “the same diligence,” “full assurance of hope,” and “to the end.” He then urges them to keep going until they get to the trophy case in Chapter 11, where they will find many examples of “those who through faith and patience inherit the promise.”
The author’s words can be summarized perhaps with four concise exhortations: No EXCEPTIONS (“each one of you”), NO EXCUSES (“the same diligence”), NO SHORT CUTS (“to the full assurance of hope”) and NO QUITTING (“until the end”). As a middle-aged guy with some tread wear, this straightforward language comes like a swift kick in the blessed assurance and, like the obnoxious jangling of an alarm clock, should spur me on to serving Christ with energy and a spirit of godly adventure. (Originally appeared in Carta del norte on 29/06/2007)