This sponsored post was prepared by Aimee Byrd.
Bruce Lee isn’t exactly someone we would think of as a Christian role model. He was an atheist. But he said something about the martial arts that reminds me so much of the exhortation to persevere in Hebrews 10:23. Behold Bruce Lee’s wisdom:
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
Think about that for a second. Who cares if you’ve practiced 10,000 kicks one time? You’re still an amateur. It is far better to master one thing than to be slipshod at 10,000. To master something you must exercise it over, and over, and over again. Muscle memory develops so that the movement becomes instinctive. Your body just knows it. In the realm of martial arts, an opponent who has practiced one kick 10,000 times really is someone to be feared. He or she has reached a level of fitness and stamina to exercise a particular skill with great strength and perfection.
So, what is the connection with Hebrews’ message of perseverance? I believe the preacher to the Hebrews is saying the same thing as Lee. His sermon-letter was written to exhort the intended first audience of Jewish believers to persevere in the Christian faith and not to turn back to their old-covenant sacrificial system and ceremonies. And yet this message was not only written for a congregation over 2,000 years ago. It is God’s Word to us now.
After studying all the sermon says about who God is and what he has done in Christ, I was captivated by a particular command that the preacher lays out to press the reader to persevere:
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” (Heb. 10:23)
To persevere, we are told to hold fast to the confession of hope that this preacher has already faithfully delivered.
Christian, what do you believe? This is a very important question, because your answer, and your ability to hold tightly to a proper confession, is directly connected to your perseverance in the Christian life. All Christians need to know what they are persevering for, whether they are suffering through great adversity or just trying to make it through ordinary everyday life. We need to rehearse the truths of our faith like a fighter who practices a kick 10,000 times.
Perseverance involves theological fitness—that persistent fight to exercise faith by actively engaging in the gospel truth revealed in God’s Word. We’re motivated in holy living not just by remembering some Bible verses about God but by trusting in his person, work, and promises. This is what we are exhorted to exercise in Hebrews 10:23. (I break it down further in my book Theological Fitness.)
Faith is a gift from God, but faith is a fighting grace. We may never be as tough as Bruce Lee, but Christians are fighters too. Every day we fight to persevere.
We want a healthy spiritual life just as we want physical health. But we have a problem: the flesh is always working against us in our fight to be healthy, whether we are pursuing physical fitness or making a vigorous effort to know God. John Owen explains that the command in Hebrews to hold fast insinuates an opposing force, a “great danger” even. “To ‘hold fast’ implies the putting forth our utmost strength and endeavors in the defense of our profession, and a constant perseverance in so doing.”1
One thing is for sure—you cannot hold fast to a confession of hope that you know little about. To see how your knowledge of the person and work of Christ helps you to fight to endure, try partaking in a little theological fitness training with me. I hope to both motivate and equip you to practice your kick another 9,999 times. And some more times after that.
Aimee Byrd is just an ordinary mom of three who has also been a martial arts student, coffee shop owner, and Bible study teacher. Author of Housewife Theologian and Theological Fitness, she now blogs about theology and the Christian life and cohosts The Mortification of Spin podcast.
1John Owen, Epistle to the Hebrews (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1968), 200.