“And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:11–12)
Sluggishness in a runner signals danger to a coach. Something isn’t right. Something is causing ambivalence, draining confidence. The runner is losing heart. Half-hearted running is a forerunner to quitting.
That’s when a caring coach intervenes. Every athlete, even a premier one, loses focus or desire and at times wants to give up in the stress and strain of training and competition. I have never heard of a successful athlete who didn’t have a coach who pushed him (or her) when he got discouraged, lost confidence, wanted to quit — pushed him beyond what he thought possible.
The best coaches don’t just encourage; they also exhort. They come on strong. They get angry if they must. They warn against the dangers of foolishness, indolence, or losing resolve. And that’s because they know that humans are not only motivated by reward, we are also motivated by fear. It’s how we are designed. God is the ultimate reward (Hebrews 11:26) and the ultimate terror (Luke 12:4–5) and we are equipped to understand, be awed by, and be motivated by both aspects of him.
[Read the rest of the article at Desiring God.]