If verse eleven of Hebrews chapter six is an encouragement, then verse twelve is a warning to us as believers. We are again reminded as these verses stand side by side and hinged together that our spiritual life is never stationary. We are either moving forward in God as verse eleven suggests, or we are moving backwards as verse twelve suggests. Each day we are either becoming more eager and therefore spiritually stronger or we are becoming more sluggish and therefore spiritually weaker.
The call to our eagerness is so that we may not fall into the trap of sloppy spirituality. This state of spiritual complacency is something we must fight against at all times, but it is especially imperative during times of adversity. Just as friction stops a train that lacks a consistent source of power so will each of us wind down or burn out without God’s ever-present power and help.
The word “sluggish” literally means no push. In secular Greek this word was used to describe the sensation of numbness. This is such a dangerous condition for any of us. It is a lack of awareness of how spiritually weak and sick we really are. This is why times of crisis really manifest our true spiritual state because we can basically limp along when circumstances are favorable. However, when the winds of adversity blow into our lives our lack of spiritual fitness shows up dramatically and quickly. It would be like an untrained person was suddenly dropped into the middle of a marathon. It wouldn’t take long into the race for their lack of conditioning to show up.
The author does want to end this section with encouragement when he refers to imitating those who did persevere and endure terribly difficult ordeals in the past. In other words, we’re not the first nor will we be the last called upon to navigate hardship and adversity. If there have been those who have gone before us who have made it through, then we can be encouraged to make it through as well. Think of all those who followed God in the Bible who endured and persevered. Consider friends of yours or family members who have gone through tough times and have come out the other side. The author is saying to all of us to mark those people and be mindful of them. Imitate their faith in God. Through trusting the promise-keeping God and clinging fast to His promises we become heirs of those same promises. “For every one of God’s promises are ‘Yes’ in Him; therefore, also through Him the ‘Amen’ is spoken, to the glory we give to God” (2 Corinthians 1:20).
Receive God’s promises into your heart today! God’s promises are treasure waiting to be discovered.