“…who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle…” (Heb. 11:33-34, NIV, emphasis mine)
These two verses come to us from Hebrews 11, the well-known chapter praising the heroes of the Bible for their lifestyles of trust in God. This list of triumphant servants and their deeds has often been called the “Hall of Faith.”
Conquering kingdoms, bringing justice, shutting lions’ mouths, escaping fire and sword… all of this sounds mind-boggling, does it not? Look closely, though. There is one little word buried in this Scripture that is the key to understanding the entire chapter: “became.”
No matter what name you pick from the Hall of Faith, not one of them listed here was “powerful in battle” when they started out their journey. Every one of them went through an arduous, rigorous, demanding training program in God’s Academy of Faith. The curriculum included classes like Enduring the Desert 101, Pushing Past the Impossibilities 201, and Walking through the Flames 301.
These individuals started out weak. God turned their weaknesses into strength. They started out vulnerable. God turned their vulnerabilities into victories.
They became valiant warriors. They became overcomers. They became flame quenchers, lion subjugators, justice enforcers. They became kingdom conquerors. They became promise gainers.
So, today, if you don’t quite feel like a valiant warrior yet, be encouraged! God is not done with you. Whether you realize it or not, He has enrolled you, too, in His Academy of Faith. His degree program often stretches over more years than we would personally prefer. However, every single minute in His classroom is enriching way beyond what we could ever ask or imagine.
Dear one, you are becoming. Relax. Enjoy your coursework. You are steadily moving from one level of glory to the next. Even if graduation feels impossibly far away, it is real. It will happen.
The One who began the good work… will be relentlessly faithful to bring to a glorious finish that which He started in you!
When you look back to the version of yourself a year ago (or two, or five), can you notice specific changes, as you are in the process of becoming?