“Driven and courageous” describes a Christian living in hope:
So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. Hebrews 6:18 (NLT)
“Great confidence” is knowing that I stand right here, held by the “unchangeable” oath of God, knowing “it is impossible for God to lie!” With “great confidence” Martin Luther stood alone against the Holy Roman Empire and stood before a throng of menacing Cardinals at Worms to declare, “Here I stand. I will not recant, so help me, God.” His hope was tied to God’s character, not the powerful armies of the Holy See.
With “great confidence” we too can stand face-to-face with whoever may persecute us for sharing the love of Christ. This includes old relationships with long histories of defeat and intimidation:
For He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6 (NASB)
This courage is the outcome of biblical faith, and the proof of faith, as I wrote earlier. Cowardly Christians are still babes floundering with the elementary issues of faith and have not yet settled the issue of who to trust.
Motivation is intertwined with courage, and it is difficult to imagine courage without forward movement. Isn’t the stationary person called a coward?
Hope produces forward momentum: “we hold to the hope that lies before us,” it says. Hope means forward movement, not retreat.
It requires great motivation to go where Jesus will lead us. Consider this strange description:
Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest… Hebrews 4:11 (NASB)
It seems nonsensical to be diligent to rest. “Diligent” in the Greek is a word with great urgency: “spoudadzo!” It means “Hurry! Quick! Don’t delay!” Forward movement requires urgent motivation. Our forward movement cannot be casual nor taken for granted.
In other places God prods us to put more effort into this forward movement:
…I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12 (NASB)
With diligence we “press on.” This Hope-Driven Movement characterizes faith in Jesus. It looks like this:
One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14 (NASB)
We need great motivation, diligence and courage because the destination of our hope can be tremendously frightening.
The destination? “Enter God’s rest!”
“Life is so strange when you don’t know your destination,” the song says, and it is well-said.
“We hold to the hope that lies before us” (Heb. 6:18). Hope leads us into uncharted territory, and hope supplies the courage needed to go there. It is an unfamiliar place:
This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.
This “inner sanctuary” was a forbidden zone, always inaccessible and very dangerous. Unwelcome guests who stumbled in were fried. It looked like this:
“They heard an awesome trumpet blast and a voice so terrible that they begged God to stop speaking. They staggered back under God’s command: ‘If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.’ Moses himself was so frightened at the sight that he said, ‘I am terrified and trembling.’ Hebrews 12:18-23 (NLT)
The “inner sanctuary” is the throne room of Almighty God.
Imagine entering a long, vast hall where The King is enthroned, surrounded by “myriads and myriads of angels” dazzling with glory. “Awe” describes it:
“You have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. You have come to the assembly of God’s firstborn children, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God himself, who is the judge over all things. Hebrews 12:18-23 (NLT)
In such a great presence we are completely at the mercy of The King’s will. What a relief to discover it is not a hostile place! It is safe because:
Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:19-20 (NLT)
“It leads us through the curtain” (Heb. 6:18). Jesus leads our hope and he says, “Come this way!” If we trust him, we follow with courage and determination “through the curtain” into the vault of “God’s inner sanctuary.” Inside lies this great reward:
For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Hebrews 4:10 (NASB)
Yes, entering The King’s inner sanctuary means relinquishing authority, which is frightening. But it also means great gain: “all who have entered…have rested from their labors.”
We enter not as groveling subjects, but as sons and daughters dressed in royal splendor and prepared to receive an inheritance of power, glory and a kingdom. The throne room is a fitting place for royalty to “rest from their labors”. For the royal household, The King’s throne room means sanctuary.
We enter not as strangers stumbling into a dangerous place, but where “Jesus has already gone in there for us.” He announces our entrance before the throne. With great fanfare, red carpets rolled-out, and everyone waiting in attendance:
For in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. 2 Peter 1:11 (NASB)
The courage, motivation and the destination of hope are not imaginations. Our royal sanctuary is not imaginary. It all seems unreal when we think it’s too wonderful to be true, and then we lose courage and motivation.
This occurs in warfare. In a great roar, men surge forward with great bravado — until comrades fall. Inexperienced soldiers start jump in the nearest mud-hole for protection, and the charge disintegrates. They lost hope. The officers yell, but frightened survivors huddle in their filthy trenches. The enemy then carefully cannonades each trench to blast out the survivors.
They were so close, but they lost hope.
Thus many Christians sadly end up entrenched and isolated in mud-holes, waiting timorously for the shell with their name on it. They got lost. No longer among those “who have taken refuge in him” (Heb. 6:18), they often seek refuge in the power of money, which is the antithesis of real hope:
Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” Hebrews 13:5 (NASB)
Christians enter vertigo when they lose sight of their new identity. It all seems too wonderful to be true, says past experience. Considering the vast landscape of mud and corpses littering the battlefield, “God’s inner sanctuary” seems imaginary. Because they can’t trust Jesus, their leader, they lose hope, entrench, and it’s over.
But there are those who trust Jesus and follow his urgent leadership across the battlefield, and they begin living in victory. These people learn about a new identity waiting for us “behind the curtain,” and they press forward, “diligent to enter God’s rest.”
Winners are diligent and “press on” because it is such a terrible battlefield here on earth. Those who stroll across it make easy targets and soon their hope degrades, motivation sags, and courage gives way to a resigned way of life. Such is the stream of time here.
Victorious Christians increasingly trust the leadership of Jesus as they become increasingly transformed into their identity as “heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him.” Romans 8:17 (NASB)
Increasing trust in Jesus yields increasing hope because “God’s inner sanctuary” grows increasingly close and very real. The inheritance is not far off, and already we see a marvelous transformation underway:
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Galatians 3:26-27 (NASB)
With such a “great hope as the anchor of your souls,” the din of the battlefield grows increasingly impotent:
Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:2-3 (NASB)
This Identity of Hope reaches deep inside the soul:
- I grow more resigned about life when I stop responding to His urgency to quicken the pace, and hope fades with more battlefield wounds.
- When I snuggle into a safe niche in this world it is merely a matter of time before I’m shocked by the discovery of how very unsafe it is here.
- Pinning my security on financial breakthrough is like Sam Pickens riding the H-Bomb in Dr. Strangelove.
- Forward movement means increasing hope and spiritual momentum when I follow the leadership of Jesus.
- My reluctance to follow Jesus “behind the curtain” can only stem from an unfounded fear of God’s throne of authority.
- I am full of courage if I “have fled to him for refuge” so I “can have great confidence” Hebrews 6:18 (NLT).
- If I am fearful, I need to “hold to the hope that lies before us” and clothe myself in my new identity as royalty.
- I am never drifting or without direction with “this hope we have as an anchor of the soul.”
- No human can intimidate me if I have “a hope both sure and steadfast.”
The big Q: Can anyone offer additional ways that our new identity offers hope?
- The Bridge of Hope
- Hope in Hebrews