But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions.
— Hebrews 10:32
What should you do when you’re feeling discouraged and dangerously close to doubting God’s integrity — when you start thinking He just might not come through for you? Hebrews 10:32 tells us what we are to do when we find ourselves in this situation. It says, “But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated.…”
This verse was written to believers who were so discouraged that they were tempted to give up and throw away their strong position of faith. They had been waiting a long time to see God’s promises come to pass, and they had begun to feel like their answer would never come. But just when they were about to give up, they read this verse that reminded them of when they were first “illuminated.”
The word “illuminated” comes from the Greek word photidzo, which means to lighten up, to shine, to illuminate, to make visible, or to radiate. It gives the impression of a brilliant flash of light that leaves a permanent and lasting impression. We get “photography” from this word, which calls to mind the blinding flash on a camera. This word is used here in order to help these struggling believers put their present hardships “on pause” for a few minutes so they can remember what they experienced when they heard the Word of God for the first time and were “illuminated.”
Maybe you can remember a time in your own life when it was as if someone suddenly flipped the light switch and turned on the light, removing the darkness from your eyes so you could see things clearly? That’s exactly how I felt when the Spirit of God finally revealed the truth of the baptism in the Holy Spirit to me. I saw it! I understood it! I was illuminated by that truth. The Spirit’s brilliant flash of light upon my mind was so strong that it made a permanent and lasting impression on my life. In fact, I’ve never been the same since!
Can you think of a time in your life when the Holy Spirit “illuminated” you regarding some truth? Perhaps He illuminated you regarding healing. Did it feel like your eyes were finally opened and you understood the work of the Cross in a new and different light? Or perhaps you were illuminated about the power of giving. After struggling with giving for all those years, it was like someone pulled back the veil that blinded your understanding — and boom! You saw it! You were illuminated about giving, and the light of that truth made a permanent and lasting impression on your life!
Do you remember the first time the Word of God shot through your being like a bolt of lightning? You saw the truth, and it brought perfect order out of the chaos in your life! How about the first time God spoke to your heart about His dream of greatness for your life? Do you remember the joy you felt?
When you get discouraged and are tempted to give up — when times are tough and your faith isn’t finding its fulfillment as quickly as you desire — you must decide to put everything on hold. Tell your mind to be silent; command your emotions to be stilled; and remember when you were first illuminated to the truths of God’s Word.
That is precisely why Hebrews 10:32 urges us, “But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated.…” The words “former days” is from the Greek word proteron. This word points the readers back to earlier times when they first met the Lord and when they were filled to overflowing with joy, hope, and faith. But now, years have passed. These believers have gone through a lot of struggles, and weariness has set in. Many of their prayers remain unanswered; the devil is telling them that none of the answers they are waiting to see manifested will ever come to pass; and they are tempted to quit.
Sometimes when you are discouraged, it’s good to hit the rewind button in your mind and drift backward to earlier experiences with the Lord when faith was simple and life was uncomplicated. Do you remember how precious those days were? Do you recall how changed you were by the power of God? Do you remember the laughter and joy you experienced? It’s good for you to rehearse those experiences because they stir you up, encourage you, and summon strength for the battle you are facing right now.
In light of these Greek words, Hebrews 10:32 conveys this idea:
“You need to remember and never forget what it was like back in the early days — how your eyes were opened and you really saw the truth for the first time.…”
Your divine calling, your God-given dream, must be an illumination in your heart that you can call to remembrance over and over again. Call to remembrance how God first spoke to you, and meditate on the promise He made to you. This will help you get past the weariness that’s trying to pull you down. Keep your dream shining brilliantly in your heart and mind — a powerful illumination and revelation that lights your way through any darkness the enemy might bring against you!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, help me to never forget those early experiences I had with You after I first got saved. I’m so sorry I’ve allowed the complexities of life to steal my joy, and today I ask You to help me return to the simplicity of faith I once enjoyed. I admit I’ve been discouraged, but today I am deciding to get encouraged! Thank You for helping me to refocus and to remember that Your Word is unchanging and Your promises are true!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I boldly confess that discouragement has no place in me! God’s Word is true; the devil is a liar; and my circumstances are not permanent. And with God’s power, I will rise above the situations I face today! I decide it; I declare it; and I pronounce it to be true!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. What thoughts stir in your heart when you stop and remember the early days after you first came to the Lord? Can you remember how precious and exciting it was back in those days?
2. What one word would you use to describe what your Christian life was like in those early days after you were first illuminated?
3. Can you recall a time when you were specially “illuminated” by the Spirit of God regarding some Bible truth? What was that truth, and how did this “illumination” affect your life?