CONTRIBUTED BY EMMA BAX
Fitness. It’s not really my thing. I’ve certainly dabbled – gym memberships, running, team sports. A certain persistence or perseverance is required to achieve any great fitness goal. In my experience, life is busy and there always seems to be something (or someone) that needs to be attended to as a priority over any regular fitness endeavour.
But what about theological fitness? In her book Theological Fitness: why we need a fighting faith (Theological Fitness), Aimee Byrd defines theological fitness as the “persistent fight to exercise our faith by actively engaging in the gospel truth revealed in God’s Word.” This is a fitness goal that cannot be ignored, that must be a priority. Byrd emphasises the need for perseverance in the Christian life, focusing in on the book of Hebrews and more specifically chapter 10 verse 23 – “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
I recently had the privilege of studying this book with a bunch of ladies from church, and found both the book itself and the discussion that it generated to be very encouraging. As a brief summary, the book breaks down Hebrews 10:23 into five parts, as follows:
- “Let us” – emphasising the need to ‘hold fast to our confession’ in the covenant community of the church.
- “Hold fast” – which focuses on how we must persevere and be engaged in the ‘confession of our hope’.
- “The confession of our hope” – where Byrd presents the ‘confession of our hope’ (the Gospel) using the book of Hebrews and Psalm 110 (“David’s Creed”).
- “Without wavering” – discussing the danger of persistent sins, the need to submit to discipline and the need to continually grow in our Christian life.
- “For he who promised is faithful” – focusing on how God has done what he has promised, the requirement to live out of thankfulness and the importance of ‘active rest’ through Sunday worship.
This is by no means intended to be a comprehensive review of the book – there is much more to be gained through reading it yourself!
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
The most striking aspect of the book for me was the strong Scriptural grounding, with countless Old Testament and New Testament references throughout. The book truly “practices what it preaches” – actively engaging in the Word. It once again reminded me of the importance of meditating on God’s Word, furthering my knowledge of God and His will, improving my theological fitness. I pray that God will continue to work in me and my brothers and sisters in Christ to persevere in exercising our faith through active engagement in the gospel as revealed in God’s Word.