Heroes of the faith did not shrink back and lose their faith when under trial, facing persecution, or even when they failed. They persevered by hanging onto God's promises.
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a word from Hebrews chapter 10.
And it’s got to be one of the most invigorating verses in the New Testament. Hebrews chapter 10, verse 39 says this: “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” Man, I love that verse. It’s so energizing; it’s so invigorating! And it has a special place in my heart. It became my motto when I was going through chemotherapy for stage III breast cancer some years ago. As awful as chemotherapy was, as terrifying as the diagnosis of the disease, as frightened as I was of the side effects, I was not about to be grouped among those who shrink back. No, I was determined to be of those who believe and are saved.
And I like that question: and Who are “those?” Hebrews chapter 10, verse 39 raises the question, “Who are those who believe and are saved?” The writer of Hebrews has some special people in mind. His answer follows in Hebrews chapter 11, that great honor roll of those who persevered like Moses, Noah, Sarah, Abraham, Rahab, Gideon, David and Samuel, just to mention a few. Now, I think it is wonderful that you are one of “those.” Friend, you're linked with Moses and Enoch! Yes, even though these men and women had problems, they demonstrated great faith. Moses, although he erupted in anger, repented; Noah had a problem with alcohol, yet his faith didn’t shrivel up; Sarah mocked God, yet survived and was saved; Rahab with her loose morals and questionable reputation, and Gideon with serious doubts, and David with his uncontrolled passions, and Samuel with the aches and pains of old age. Ultimately, these people did not collapse; they did not shrink back and ship-wreck their faith. Ultimately, they persevered; they believed and were saved. They were counted as righteous because they hung on to God's promises. And so must you and I.
Hebrews chapter 12 has great advice for us. In light of all these remarkable saints, that I’ve just mentioned – saints with clay feet yet courageous hearts – in light of their examples, it says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” Does that sound hard? Well, it’s the question I had to ask myself back in chemotherapy. Was I going to let the side effects and the fearful prognosis hinder me? Was I going to let it trip up my faith, destroy it? No way, I decided I did not want to be one of those who would shrivel up and be destroyed. I decided I wanted to be among those who believe and are saved. And Hebrews chapter 12, verses 2-3 tells us how to do just that, how to persevere, how to hang on. It says fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of your faith. Consider Him who endured opposition so that you do not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 11 may be the honor roll of heroes of the faith from the past, but I encourage you to be a hero of the faith today, because your friends and neighbors are watching. Young believers and new Christians are watching the way you handle your pain and problems. Will you be an example to them, as the people in Hebrews chapter 11 are examples to us? Because your trials are not just about yourself. They are about building up all those around you in the faith. So today, remember the big picture. Don't shrink back. Others far weaker and far more fragile than you have hung in there by the grace of God and friend, today so can you. And by the way if you have a prayer request, let me know on our radio page and our Joni and Friends staff will lift up your need before the Lord. God bless you today and thanks for listening to Joni and Friends.
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