“And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end—that you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

Hebrews 6:11-12

Although Christ is our primary focus, it’s still good to learn from other saints who’ve trod the Pilgrim Pathway before us.

How wonderful it is to know we’re not alone in the Battle that’s raged ever since Adam and Eve sank their teeth into that forbidden fruit.  In reading God’s Word we gain great insight (and encouragement) from Noah’s fruitless preaching and faithful building (II Pet. 2:5) to Abraham’s “going without knowing where he was going” (Heb. 11:8) to Hosea’s painful personal life that embodied his prophetic message to the 12 Apostles who ended up “turning the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).

That’s why the anonymous author of today’s Manna reminded his readers (and us) to “show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end” that previous pilgrims have shown.  And, in the process to “be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

Now, it’s important for us to remember this “diligence” (Grk. “spoude”) also means “speed, earnestness, eagerness, to show dispatch, etc.”  Thus, it’s more than a slow plodding along like an old mule plowing new ground; instead, it’s like a frothing, foot-stamping stallion that’s biting at the bit to gallop off across the plain.  Too often our faith-perseverance more resembles a prisoner serving time than it does a pilgrim “who’s more than a conqueror” (Rom. 8:37).

But, such should not be, Pilgrim.

Not when there’s so much at stake and the Holy Spirit desires to “quicken us” (Eph. 2:4-7) with the same Power that raised Jesus from the dead!

Truly, we can ill-afford to be “slothful” (Grk. “nothros”—“lazy, sluggish, dull, stupid, etc.”) in our efforts for Christ.  Instead, we should continually strive to be “followers (Grk. ‘mimetes’–‘imitators, one who mimics, etc.’) those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”  And, it’s important for those two—“faith and patience,” coupled with Hope— to always travel together; otherwise, we’ll soon “grow weary in well-doing and faint (Grk. ‘ekluo’–‘to relax, fail in mind, to loosen one’s grip, break up, dissolve, etc.’)” (Gal. 6:9).

That’s why, later on in his Epistle, our author writes about “The Heroes’ Hall of Faith” (Heb. 11) and calls them “so great a cloud of witnesses who encompass us” (12:1).  We definitely can learn from their examples, although we are never to pray for them—for there’s only “one Mediator between God and man and that’s the Lord Jesus Christ” (I Tim. 2:5).

So, how goes it, Pilgrim?  Does your work environment resemble a den of lions?  Remember Daniel.  Is God wanting you to “step out of the boat”?  Follow Peter’s example.  Are others hurting you with their words and deeds?  Remember the prophets—and especially keep “looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith” (Heb. 12:2a).  You’re not alone in the Battle; so, keep fighting and moving on.  Victory is assured.  Amen and amen.

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated February 6, 2011

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