Self-control isn’t that difficult, we think. How hard can it be to discipline yourself to withstand trials and difficulties here and there? And yet, hardships that happen infrequently are altogether different than chronic difficulties sustained over a long period of time. Most of us can withstand unbelievable challenges when there is a finish line in sight up ahead. We “dig deep” and summon whatever it is we need to meet the moment and endure.
The writer of Hebrews is addressing a weary audience facing severe persecution for their commitment to live for Christ, and they are in danger of losing heart. The author’s choice of words like endure and trials suggests that these believers need a deeper type of perseverance than what they could summon up on their own. They must draw on God’s help to sustain them over time. Hebrews is meant for those with drooping hands and weak knees. They are continuing the line of God’s faithful, catalogued in chapter 11, who persevered and now surround the challenged church as a great cloud of witnesses.
Remember those who have gone before, the writer says. Remember that our faith is worked out over years and—what grace!—in familial relationship with God. After all, God alone is able to sustain us and help us develop stamina. The One who sacrificed his life to give us ours infuses us with energy along the way. God is present, guiding us away from sin and into life, giving us the strength we need for the long haul. Let us not lose heart but follow God who calls us beloved children throughout our lives.
In what ways is God developing stamina within me, along with self-control?
God, when it comes to living a life of faith, we do not persevere in our own strength. Please help us develop the stamina and strength we need for the strenuous road ahead. Amen.