As our author reminds these first century Jewish Christians that the reward is so close, there is emphasis upon the positive results of resting their confidence in God as opposed to the negative results of shrinking back from their commitment to Jesus on account of societal pressures. “For you need endurance in order to do God’s will and so receive what is promised” (Hebrews 10:36).
First, we are reminded here that as Christians we never outgrow our need for endurance in the Christian life. Each day for us on planet earth battling the world, the flesh, and the devil requires endurance. We certainly need endurance when going through seasons of great adversity. For in these times, everything seems to go so slow and the fulfillment of God’s promises seem so far away. It is like we’re stuck in mud or quicksand and we can barely move.
Secondly, James teaches us that our endurance is actually built up and strengthened as we go through trials. “My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:2-3). It is through our own firsthand experience of navigating trials in partnership with God that we increase our conviction and confidence that He can be fully trusted and that His promises are true. Trials are really testing. This word “trials” was used in Bible times to describe the process of refining or purifying metals. It not only would determine the genuineness of the metal; it would also serve to remove the impurities found in the metal. So, when God allows us to go into the furnace of affliction, it is never with the intent of harming us or hurting us. His aim is to not only strengthen our faith for the long journey of life but to build up our spiritual fitness and stamina so that we are able through Him to take on victoriously whatever life throws our way. Genuine faith in God is destructible. Job declared, “But He knows the pathway that I take; if He tested me, I would come forth life gold” (Job 23:10). Gold does not fear the fire. It only makes it purer and brighter. If gold is tested by fire, then we are tested by adversity.
This quality of endurance portrays a picture of steadfastly and unflinchingly bearing up under a heavy load and describes that aspect of our character which does not allow us to surrender to our circumstances or succumb under trial. It is a portrait of consistency and faithfulness with a forward look and the ability to focus on what is beyond the present circumstances and current pressures. This is not some grin and bear it attitude or grim resignation. No, this is the ability through God to face difficult circumstances triumphantly knowing that even out of bad things God can produce something good (Romans 8:28). Let’s be strong and courageous in this season! Let’s take up the full armor of God! Let’s fight the good fight! For we need endurance in order to do God’s will (Hebrews 10:36). Then let the Lord bring on the trials so that we can endure! We want to do your will, God!