“let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clearn from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to encourage one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:22-25
Have you played tug-of-war? I’m sure you have. Each team picks up the rough, rugged rope in hand, as tightly gripped as possible. It is a struggle even before the game begins as each team tightens their grip, adreneline shoots through your veins, your muscles tighten, and you grit your teeth awaiting the game to begin. “Go!” Your team pulls with all their might, the ground breaking and slipping beneath your feet, your hands feeling the pain of your grip, cheers roaring from the sidelines encouraging you to maintain your grip and your pull. You pull and pull with all you have. You get pulled forward. You pull backwards. You lose ground. You gain ground. You feel like giving up because you can feel the pain beneath your fingers and your legs are cramping, but you keep going until finally you reach the target. You’ve won, thanks to the help of your entire team, and your strong anchor, but as you release the rope, your hands are cherry red, sores well up from rope burn, and your fingers radiate pain as you attempt to straighten them. You are victorious, but not without some battle wounds. You held on. You didn’t give up. You never let go of your grip.
The Christian life can be like a game of tug-of-war. You are ready to begin your walk with the Lord and your adrenaline is flowing. You are energized and excited to serve the Lord in any way He wishes. Your grip on the Lord is solid, strong, and unwaivering. As time goes on, you are gaining some ground, but you are losing some as well. You are getting tired. Your muscles are aching. It doesn’t seem like you are going anywhere and where is your anchor, God? Is He even there? Is He even helping you pull? You are getting battle wounds and it hurts… badly. Where is your help? Can you go on? Do you want to quit? This Christian life may not be what you had originally thought it should be.
Do you know someone in this situation? Is it you?
God gives us some advice from Hebrews of staying strong, keeping our grip on the Lord.
- Draw near to God with a sincere heart – Seek Him. Ask Him. Cry out to Him. (Heb 10:22)
- Realize that you have been completely cleansed by the blood of Christ and made pure no matter how you feel. (10:22)
- Don’t stop and never give up. (10:23)
- Realize that what God promises, He always follows through and God cannot lie. (10:23)
- Build each other up by helping to encourage others to love and do good. (10:24)
- Meet together regularly in church and in a trusted small group. You cannot be an island. (10:25)
- Realize that the day of Jesus return is drawing near, so don’t give up. (10:25)
Don’t drop the rope. Don’t give up. The battle wounds are worth the reward. God will never give up on you, so never give up on Him. He is there and He loves you dearly, even when it seems He is silent. Press on.
“[You] can do all this through him who gives [you] strength.” Philippians 4:13 – Without Christ you can do nothing, but with Him, you can do all things. Christ has made no provision for you to make it on your own, so depend on Him.
The Tug-of-War Prize of receiving all of God and all of His promises is worth everything that we have, including our battle wounds. Thanks be to Jesus Christ who has provided a way for us to be able to receive this prize.
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14