Summary: Have you noticed that Christians seem like some of the saddest people on earth? Why is that? Is it because they don’t have as much ‘fun’ as the world? Is it because they are under the guilt of not living up to the perfection of Jesus? I don’t think so…
Have you noticed that Christians seem like some of the saddest people on earth? Why is that? Is it because they don’t have as much ‘fun’ as the world? Is it because they are under the guilt of not living up to the perfection of Jesus? I don’t think so… When a person gets saved, he finds new joy and hope – but at the same time loses a lot of things he once found pleasure in. Christians must learn to find hope in the right things…
1. Hope Received
2 Thessalonians 3:16 sets out a beautiful outline of hope: God’s Peace, His Presence, & His Purpose. God delivered hope to the earth through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the cross and rose again so that we all might have eternal peace with God. If we accept and appropriate Christ’s death for sin as payment for our sins, we will be saved from the penalty of our sin and no longer be under the condemnation and wrath of God. “The Lord of peace himself give you peace always…” His gift of peace doesn’t end there – He offers peace in dealing with life’s circumstances: the peace of God. This temporary peace only comes from God’s presence with us. Although God is always present, He must be evidently near in your situation for you to truly trust Him. “The Lord be with you all.” We must choose to live in nearness to God (James 4:8). Living in God’s presence will likely open your eyes to God’s eternal purposes – how He is working in your life. “…by all means.” God uses any and all means necessary to mold us and make us into who we should be for His glory. Each situation and circumstance, every trial and tribulation, every victory and success … from glory to glory – changed into His glorious image (2 Cor. 3:18).
2. Hope Renewed
As we travel this journey, so many seem to be wandering – lost in a wilderness of life, but God has not left us without a guide (Jn. 15:16, 16:13). His name is the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 3:16 encourages us that He will help us: “be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.” (Don’t neglect to connect this power with v20: “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.”) Every Christian is possessed by a Spirit that indwells his spirit – one of tremendous power! When is the last time you tapped into that source of inner strength?
Just this week, I was going through a spiritually dry time – when it seemed as if the ceiling itself could hold my prayers back. I was tempted to avoid the numbness by working harder at ministry, but self-effort and religious works are never a good enough substitute for a missing fire. It was time to find the romance – to renew the intimacy – to find spiritual hope… but how? It came while singing the Scriptures (Ps. 25) on my knees at an altar, but it did not come because I was doing this. The renewing came from His Spirit, into my spirit, for His glory! Thank you, Lord.
3. Hope Related
Briefly, let me add that hope isn’t realized until it is related. 1 John 3:16 reminds us of the great John 3:16. “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” We think we understand God’s love when we receive it, but it’s not until we share it does it really come into focus. The word ‘perceive‘ in combination with the tiny little colon make it increasingly clear: the only real way to understand God’s love is to experience the sacrifice yourself. Hope must be passed on. If we do not share this hope, not only are we not following Christ’s example, but we are proving that we do not yet understand the full extent of the hope for ourselves.