Real Hope

after thousands of years humans still worship themselvesAs her husband packs his bags, the FLOTUS declared yesterday that: “America is now a country without hope.”

What an incredible life lesson about placing our hope in a person, any person. Political campaigns are designed to do just that. To rally the atheists to fill the Jesus-shaped hole in their hearts with some candidate charlatan. Are we just going to do that again? Does a new president just mean a new golden calf? I hope not.

If you’ve been hoping in the wrong things, consider for a minute some important points. Firstly, every human’s very breath is in God’s hands. With so much talk about the health of different candidates it’s readily apparent that human frailty plays a big role in building confidence and ultimately hope. Yet, even the young and fit aren’t guaranteed another day. So if God permits these people to persist then we can rest assured that ultimately He’s still in charge.

Secondly, even if their lives were not in God’s hands, their circumstances are. Their emails, their intrigues, their corruption. It’s all laid bare before God and their secrets only persist for a season. It’s telling when an atheist decries the revelation of truth as “illegally obtained” or maliciously motivated. It’s telling in that it highlights their atheism. For the non-believer morality isn’t a matter of reality but rather a matter of perception. So from their view, this argument is persuasive. That we should somehow ignore their corruption because we “shouldn’t” know about it anyway. Those that believe God know that truth, even inconvenient truth, can have light shined on it at any time. Believers don’t hate the light, even when it’s painful.

When light shines on a believer it can be painful, but we know and accept that we’re sinners and significantly flawed. The longer we avoid the light the more painful it can be, but a believer knows that the light ultimately brings healing and health. We learn to embrace light and consider darkness our enemy. Especially when darkness is comfortable or even preferred. Christians reject that innate preference as we reject our sinful nature. We do not allow our instincts to dictate our course. We seek God for that.

When light shines on a non-believer they experience varied emotions. They will identify themselves as a victim, going on a defensive campaign to destroy the source of the light. Non-believers hate the light and will retreat to the darkness asap. In fact, they trust the darkness so much that they will attempt to invoke darkness almost immediately, often in entirely unbelievable and irrational ways. Deny, deny, deny… is the motto of those that love darkness.

If life were only so simple as a few lines of narrative in a blog. Unfortunately, believers can be tempted by darkness, and sometimes crave it. Even then, the one that is in God’s hands can rest assured that He won’t allow it to last for long. Part of our salvation is the fact that we’ve given ourselves to God. We’ve invited Him to interrupt our schemes, especially when they displease Him.

The light is in God’s hands and it is an incredibly powerful tool. When truth is revealed about someone else we should always first thank God, but also be honest with ourselves. What if that truth is that they told a convenient lie? Can we really say we haven’t? Even if we can say that, does the truth merit the degree of outrage? The devil can use truth too, truth mixed with lies are still lies. A lifetime of corruption, theft, and immorality is big and bad. A “naughty word” or lie is far too common to be considered “outrageous.” In God’s eyes sin is sin, but not all sin is “unforgivable.” A lifestyle of sin is a sign of non-existent integrity.

Satan will be quick to attempt to equate an offhanded and foolish comment by a person of integrity to an entirely corrupt non-believer. If you’ve battled him for long you’ll know he even pulls this stuff on you. Not because he really believes the lie, but because he wants you to give up hope. Yet therein is the lie. Not only is the folly of a believer not the same thing as the thorough corruption of the non-believer – lie #1, but hope placed in our own righteousness is misplaced hope too. Hoping in yourself, your own self-discipline, your own “goodness” is entirely incorrect. It’s false, it’s a lie. It’s the bigger of the lies that the devil mixes with the truth of your folly. Again, our Hope is Christ alone.

“Atheism doesn’t take away the pain of living in a fallen world, it only takes away the hope.”
– Rice Broocks (from the book, ‘God’s Not Dead’)

That is a popular quote today because it is so right on, albeit perhaps too concise. The reality is that while it’s true that by-definition atheism takes away hope, what’s missing is the fact that the deceived cannot see it because of all of the different things they can refer to as their hope. Much like love has been redefined as sexuality and selfishness, hope has been redefined to an illusory feeling that ones selfishness may be pleased if even for a moment.

The hope we refer to as Christians is not for lower taxes, or better tasting fruit hybrids. It’s not for sexual indulgences, or unchallenged laziness. Our hope is not “free energy” or that someone will finally mix a cat and dog and concoct the “perfect pet.” It’s not even that we will live to see our own self-righteousness perfected. Our hope is eternal hope. Hope for an unending existence with our Father in heaven. Every human requires this hope to live in this fallen world. Without it, we have no choice but to become part of the problem. Without that hope we are only left with selfishness.

So keep your hope focused where it belongs. In Christ alone and our part in His kingdom. It is a necessary defense against the deception that leads us to a selfish existence that necessarily results in discontentment. Even otherwise “nice people” can be trapped into the deception that they are “good enough” or “nice enough” but underneath any house not built on Christ only stands until the next storm.

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