Day 11: Against the wind
A LoveSingapore 40.Day prayer and fast devotional, following 2020's theme of In the Long Run – A Journey Through the Book of Hebrews.
LoveSingapore // July 11, 2020, 12:01 am
Bible reading for 40.DAY 2020 | July 11: Hebrews 10:32-39
Faith is a long run. The Hebrews made a perfect start in a perfect storm. They were put on display like stooges on a stage. Some lost property. Others went to jail. But they stood together and endured it all, not as helpless victims, but as athletes in a contest. That is how they began their race – in the former days.
Now their adrenaline has worn off. Opposition continues, but with less heat. Like a low-grade fever, it is wearing them down by degrees. They need a second wind (Hebrews 5:11; 10:25).
Press on despite the pain, follow Jesus through suffering into glory. You will soon receive the promised rest.
With a potent cocktail of theology, encouragement, and warning, the Preacher offers them just that: You have need of endurance (Hebrews 10:36). Victory is not to the hasty but to the patient and persistent. Recall the early days. The joy of sharing your faith when others called you names. Rejection is not the last word. Rewards await at the end of the race.
Endurance is not passively putting up with the pain, but pressing on despite the pain. Just keep on following Jesus through suffering into glory. You will soon receive the promised rest in the City of God – provided you live by faith and never shrink back.
Faith is not naming and claiming, but living faithfully and doing God’s will, like the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. Those who live faithfully please God. Those who shrink back have only themselves to blame for their own destruction (Hebrews 10:39).
The author of Hebrews is not hasty to blame Satan for the backslidings in the church. There is only one reference to Satan in the entire sermon (Hebrews 2:14). This Preacher lays the blame where it belongs – at our door.
Sometimes we are our own worst enemy.
The most noble and perfect victory is the triumph over oneself (Thomas Á Kempis). This includes the unbelief that turns our hearts away from the living God (Hebrews 3:12).
Hebrews gives us two choices: Press on to salvation. Or shrink back into perdition. Hold your position. Against the wind.
- The Hebrews are first generation Christians with second generation issues. Given their loss of nerve and lack of stamina, what will the next generation be like? We often blame our children for their lack of commitment. But what kind of example are we setting for them? If we don’t bleed in our zeal for God, how can we expect them to even break a sweat? May God help us!
As a spiritual exercise, let us recall the former days (Hebrews 10:32). Remember the zeal of early discipleship: Our first love for Jesus. Our ravenous appetite for his Word. Our excitement about prayer, personal and corporate. Our unashamed confession of faith. Our go-for-broke commitment to seek the kingdom and the lost. Our unwavering passion to follow Jesus to the ends of the earth.
Are we as gungho now as we were back then? Or have we lost the fire that once defined us? What have we thrown away? Where are we heading? Wise up. Face the real you. Take time to search your soul. Do a thorough job of repenting. Hasty repentance means a shallow spiritual experience. Let godly sorrow do her healing work. It is our wretched habit of tolerating sin that keeps us in our half-dead condition (AW Tozer).
- Singapore is in a generational transition. The Church has come of age. The Methodists celebrate their 135th anniversary this year. In the last 18 months, several churches have celebrated their anniversaries, 40th, 50th, 60th, and 70th. These milestones stand in tribute to the pioneers who endured a hard struggle against the odds. Will successive generations press on with greater zeal for the Lord, come what may? Much depends on us, and how this generation weathers the present storms. The 2020 pandemic is not the worst of our woes. Beware the rising tide of militant secularism that rejects God and seeks to banish all religious influence on society. The spirit of this age is fast blazing a trail in the West, revising laws and policies. Will this Little Red Dot be spared? What must we do today to fortify Singapore from this fast and furious whirlwind? In this pivotal moment, turn to God.
- May the Church close ranks, make a stand, and press on.
Pray for: Greater unity. Greater boldness. Greater faith. Greater endurance. Greater desperation to seek God, depend on God, and act on his guidance.
- May we maintain, not only our private devotion to God, but also a high-profile witness in society. May we never waver under pressure, never shrink back in fear or indifference.
- May we pay closer attention to leadership succession. May our successors surpass us in every way: Well-versed in the Word. Well-disciplined in the spiritual life. Well-honed in thought leadership that disarms opponents and reshapes culture in redeeming ways, with all wit and wisdom.