Don’t throw it away

Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. Hebrews 10:35–36

Have you ever thrown away something that you later regret throwing away? I have … multiple times! I’ve even been found rummaging around in the bin looking for the thing I just threw away!

Here the writer of Hebrews makes a remarkable statement …. “do not throw away your confidence”. It’s remarkable because it seems that what is being suggested is that we can actively disregard confidence. Notice that the text doesn’t doesn’t say “be careful you don’t lose your confidence”, or “misplace your confidence” or even “have your confidence stolen”. The Greek word is apoballō which means to “throw off”. Be careful you don’t throw it away.

Throwing away our confidence is our confidence in God – our trust in God. This comes very subtly. Sometimes it’s a whisper in my hear that says “You can’t do that. You’re not good enough.” Many times I’ll go along with it and begin to lose confidence in God without even thinking about it!

Look at these other passages in Hebrews that talk about our role in having confidence in God:

But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ. Hebrews 3:6 (NLT)

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Look at this last one, in which the writer lists all of the true reasons why we should have confidence, then exhorts us to act on these truths …… “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence” – this is a different Greek word that we’ve seen before. This word is parrēsia and it literally means the “freedom of speech”. In this context it simply means that we have boldness to say what we like in the presence of God – it’s a boldness, an openness to walk straight into his study and chat. So … since we have this right given to us “to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and (second reason to have keep our confidence) since we have a great priest over the house of God,” .. so we have someone who goes before God with us. This is Jesus, walking into the house of God with us – and we are accepted by God completely on only because Jesus is with us …. therefore, here’s the exhortation … “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:19–22

In many ways this sounds like the message to the seven churches of Revelation 2–3 where Jesus is exhorting his church to hold on, keep the faith and pursue godliness.

It’s easy to doubt. We’re called to live by faith and not by sight because the things that are a visible scream at us that God doesn’t care. So we have to practice faith. How do we do this?

Well, I think the first step to holding on to our confidence is to recognise that our confidence comes from God as we seek Him. We are not confident in our own abilities but in Gods. Not our power but Gods. That’s the first thing.

The second thing comes in our seeking God for it. I lost count of how many times in Hebrews the writer exhorts us by saying “Let us”. There is work to be done in apprehending what has already been apprehended for us. This is a looking to God for the answers – it’s looking to God for power and strength. It’s the humble submission to His sovereignty.

One of the most powerful songs that have really spoken to me in recent years is called “God I look to You.” Now I know that it’s not from a church that we’d agree on many points but the lyrics are God-glorifying and honouring … here are some of the words:

God, I look to You, I won’t be overwhelmed
Give me vision to see things like You do
God I look to You, You’re where my help comes from
Give me wisdom, You know just what to do

And I will love You, Lord, my strength (sing that out)
I will love You, Lord, my shield
I will love You, Lord, my rock forever
All my days I will love You, God

I love the defiance of this song “I won’t be overwhelmed”. It reminds me of so many of the Psalms where the Psalmist recalls the trouble he is in and then is reminded of blessings of God, ending the Psalm with words like “I will be be shaken”. Micah wrote: … when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD will be a light to me. Micah 7:8

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