My righteous one will live by faith.
~ Hebrews 10:38
In the Word:
The quote is from Habakkuk 2. Paul used it in Romans 1 to indicate how sinners are justified. Here, the writer of Hebrews uses it to launch into his famous passage on faith. For centuries, Christians have treasured Hebrews 11 because of its implications for our trust and hopefulness. In isolation, it can be rightfully applied to all sorts of situations. But it wasn't written in isolation; it was written in the context of Christians under fire.
It sounds harsh, doesn't it? Here these Jewish Christians are being beaten and bullied for trusting in the Messiah, and the writer urges them not to shrink back because God "will not be pleased." That in itself could come across as intimidation, except for one wonderful fact: this passage isn't just about God being displeased with shrinking faith; it's also about God being very delighted with persevering faith. Behind the prohibition is an amazing blessing. Those who believe until the end will enjoy all the treasures of God.
In the World:
What kind of faith do you have in a hardship? The issue really isn't how disappointed God will be if you fail. The issue is how much you'll miss if you don't persevere. God wants us to remain steady because He knows what joys He will trust us with when we do. He wants us to persevere, not for our pain, but for our ultimate pleasure.
The kind of faith that is birthed in us is an enduring faith. It has to be - it comes from God. It doesn't fade away easily, even when people or circumstances rail against it. It enjoys the highs of discipleship, and it plows through the lows. It is focused on two things: the Rewarder and the reward.