“But we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved.” (Heb. 10:39)
In this passage, the writer to the Hebrews paints a picture that is black and white. Those who shrink back into a life of sin will be lost and must face God’s judgment. Those, however, who persevere in faith will be saved. But the faith that will lead us to salvation must be a strong faith, and we must be confident in that faith, for only that type of faith will help us endure and persevere in the face of adversity and temptation.
Today, the culture in which we live is vastly different from that of the Hebrews to whom this letter was written. Most Americas live safe, secure, insulated lives. Primary needs for food, clothing, and shelter are easily met. In such situations, the need for faith is not so evident. The need for faith becomes further obscured with the increasing importance and indulgence of our wants for the latest, the fastest, and the best that today’s society promotes.
Our excessive, permissive society is powerful, offering us false peace in the form of pills and contentment in the form of material possessions. It can quietly, skillfully chip away at the foundation of weak, superficial faith. So, it is imperative that we strive to strengthen our faith, and that we do this every single day. I can’t tell you specifically how to strengthen your personal faith in God, but I do believe it will begin with daily prayer.
We need to strengthen our faith daily so that we may survive real adversity and strong temptation. Will we persevere in our faith and trust God’s wisdom and timing in the face of dramatic misfortune? Or will we throw in the towel in frustration, anger, and despair? Will we stand firm in our faith, or will we shrink back and be lost?
Dear God, everyday we are faced with subtle temptations and challenges to our faith. We pray for Your grace to build up, to fortify our foundation of faith in You, so that we may live as true Christians in this world of permissive plenty. Amen. Martha Olson