My book’s title is inspired by Hebrews 10:39: “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”
I wanted to dive into this passage in Hebrews to see more of what it means to not shrink back. My book is a memoir, and I quote Bible verses that are important to me in it, but I never got the chance to teach something in-depth on Hebrews 10:39. So I had the idea to make a devotional on this passage. I actually started writing this 7-day devotional last year, and now as we prepare for my book’s release, I finally want to share it with you!
For the next 7 days, I’ll post on my blog a verse-by-verse devotional on Hebrews 10:32-11:6 (which are the paragraphs that surround Hebrews 10:39). I’m praying this will help us know more of what the Bible says about not shrinking back! I hope you’ll invite a friend to go through this devotional with you. ;)
Today we start with the beginning of this passage: Hebrews 10:32-35.
Scripture: Hebrews 10:32-35
Today’s #WeWontShrinkBack Tool: Recognize what you’re discouraged about or scared of.
I’m writing this during a week in which I really do feel like shrinking back. I’m carrying a burden for my friend right now—the kind of burden that makes you lose your appetite, the kind of burden that makes you feel deflated and defeated…like how am I even supposed to function in my daily tasks when I feel powerless to help my friend?
On Sunday night, I was excited to write this bible study. I was brainstorming and making notes; I was feeling strong and empowered. But then Monday, this burden hit me anew. It wasn’t new information, but just a new angle of seeing it and now a new wave of grief. I had to walk away from my desk to find a quiet place to pray, to mostly cry and try to sing a few lines of some worship songs.
I drove home, but I couldn’t turn on the radio because it all made me feel sick to my stomach. I walked into my house. It would have been a good evening to be productive (shouldn’t I work out, clean out my closet, or make more edits on my book?), but instead I turned on a movie and lied down on the couch, sick and weak by discouragement.
I’m sure you’ve felt like that before—or maybe you feel that way today. If so, then you’re not alone. The original audience of the book of Hebrews—the community of people who were first intended to read this letter—they were also feeling discouraged. Read this paragraph about what they had been experiencing.
“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.” (Hebrews 10:32-34)
I imagine those dear people and the suffering they faced. I imagine how they felt when people publicly insulted them—shouting vulgar threats at them in the streets. I wonder if they covered their children’s ears in time to shield them from the curses. And even under that mistreatment, they stood side by side with each other and didn’t fall away from their faith.
They were faithful to help those who had been imprisoned for their faith in Jesus. Perhaps their younger brother had been put in prison. Perhaps they had to take him food each day, but had to leave him there in his chains, not sure of how he would be through the night. But even with the threat and the reality of imprisonment, they held onto their hope.
Then the rulers started confiscating their property—their donkey, their tools, the blanket their grandmother made them before she died. Maybe even their land was confiscated. Yet they still believed and even rejoiced with the confiscation of their property because they knew they had “better and lasting possessions”—an inheritance for their faith in heaven.
But as time went on, they did become discouraged and weary. With no land, no donkey, no tools, how could they make a living? How could they go on? With the threat of prison and death, why should they even try anymore?
Today’s #WeWontShrinkBack tool is Recognize what you’re discouraged about or scared of. Our first step is to be honest with God and invite Him to work in our difficult situation. Is there anything that you are discouraged about today? Anything you fear? If so, what?
Is the situation you’re facing causing you to doubt God in any way? Have you been tempted to believe any of these lies?
Today I encourage you to spend a few minutes praying that God would show you over the next few days that He sees what you’re going through. In Genesis 16:13, it says, “You are the God who sees me.” Know that God sees you today, and ask Him to show you the truth of how He is working in this situation.
Come back tomorrow for Day 2!
P.S. You can also download Chapter 1 of She Won't Shrink Back: A Story of Building & Believing.
 Hebrews 10:34
Mary works at Brookville Road Community Church, where she leads children's ministry and women's ministry. She is the author of She Won't Shrink Back: A Story of Building & Believing.