Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Marathon, Not a Sprint

"And we desire that each one of you
show the same diligence--->
to the full assurance of hope-->
until the end." Hebrews 6:11
Some twenty years ago, I was studying about the resurrection from the classic passage in I Corinthians 15. Although the doctrine of the resurrection had been deeply ingrained in my theology since childhood, it suddenly--whoosh!!--became a hope so sure, so solid that I was literally engulfed in the sweetness of it. The ancient fear of death vacated my heart and the full assurance of hope took up residency in its stead.

What if I had not exerted the effort to study that passage of scripture? The diligence of study was an invitation for the Holy Spirit to breath life into the truth, transferring it out of the mind's data bank and into the treasure vault of my heart.

Full assurance isn't obtained by minimal exposure to truth, but by diving into the depths. There is a labor involved in mining, a diligence required of the "workman who needs not to be ashamed, handling accurately the Word of truth." That diligence must extend PAST the assurance of hope. Once that assurance has been obtained, the directive in Hebrews 6:12 further warns us:

"do not become sluggish"

Human nature pulls me back, tempts me to be sluggish. The Apostle Paul is an example here: at the latter end of his years he continued in fruitful service even when confined to a Roman prison. He said, "I press on..."

"imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." Hebrews 6:12b

That is why I like to read biographies. They are the ongoing chapters of the book of the Acts of the Apostles, the flesh and blood examples of saints who have inherited the promises via their persevering faith.

Some scriptural promises are not realized at all apart from persevering faith. My own perseverance is stimulated by the examples of those who have walked the road ahead of me. I take courage from their possession of the goods.

Christianity is a marathon, not a sprint.

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