Having an Unshakable Hope
I have personally had a number of occasions when a friend or coworker has asked me how I can be so calm in the midst of turmoil. This has, of course, not always been the case. But the point here is that it IS possible to be unshaken by the insanity going on around us. How? It’s all about where our hope lies. When someone would ask me that question, it was a prime opportunity to share my faith and hope, and explain exactly how I can remain unworried by the dire circumstances that may exist.
I recently learned that the company I began working for in January of this year is now, in mid-September, about to be forced to close down due to the economic constraints of the whole covid crisis. Now, whether or not you believe the hype of the virus being an actual crisis, the effect of the economic shutdown and the hype has certainly created a significant crisis for many businesses. The company I work for is just another casualty in that ongoing crisis. However, I am not fearful about losing my job. I’m not consumed with dread at the wonder of what’s next. Why not? Because my hope doesn’t lie in the material. My God has never ever failed to bring me through the trials that come my way, so my hope is in Him.
Where does your hope lie? If your hope is in the material, in the carnal things of this life, then that’s some pretty shaky ground. Like the fool who built his house on the sand, there’s no real foundation to help that type of “faith” to weather any kind of storms. But if your hope is in Jesus, based on things eternal, then you are like the wise man who built his house on a rock. A firm foundation is essential for the structural integrity of a building, and it’s the same with our hope. My hope in Christ is unshakable, therefore, circumstances are irrelevant.
Knowing and Fortifying Your Stance
Once you have a firm foundation, you don’t stop there. You build. The way we, as Christians, build up our hope in Jesus is by studying His teachings and following His commands. This involves something I have mentioned the importance of in many of my videos and previous blogs: staying ROOTED in the Word of God. We need to keep our hearts guarded and our minds sharp by continually reading and meditating on the scriptures. Without the proper framework solidly attached to that firm foundation, the walls of our hope will tumble down around us. The crafty enemy we face will find our weakest spot and attack us there. Only by staying rooted in biblical principles can we be prepared to defeat him.
Now that our stance is established on the foundation of Jesus, and is built up with a daily renewal of our minds by studying the Word, how do we fortify ourselves from every attack and every scheme of the enemy? This is where prayer comes in, as well as the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. We need to have daily conversations with God, not just to ask for strength, but also to listen and be open to His guidance. Make the time to just BE in His presence and let Him equip you with what you need to face each day. If you haven’t yet experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit, you should actively seek it. When you pray, ask God to not only fill you with His spirit but also to immerse you in it. The difference is life-changing. (more about that in a future blog)
The Christian’s Worldview
As you can see, we haven’t even dealt with the original question at the top of this blog yet. We first had to tackle the process of establishing our worldview based on a Godly foundation, rooted in His Word, and fortified through prayer and the enabling of the Holy Spirit. If you don’t take care of these things beforehand, you’ll likely fall flat on your face when you try to deal with the tricky arguments and con-games of the enemy. Our current societal worldview is so corrupted and skewed, that any attempt to argue with someone about why the violence is happening or how groups like Antifa are only making things worse would be counterproductive at best. Consider this…
8 Scoffers set a city aflame,
but the wise turn away wrath.
9 If a wise man has an argument with a fool,
the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.Proverbs 29 [ESV]
These verses jumped out at me recently because they sound as if they were written directly toward the current situation we’re seeing today. How many cities have been set aflame during the riots lately? There’s chaos in our own streets here in the USA like we’ve never seen before. Oh, we saw it happen in other countries, but not here. I would throw in here that, what we are witnessing right now in our country is a direct result of the moral decay which began many years ago. We removed God from so many aspects of our lives, while embracing or condoning so many evil practices, that it’s no wonder anymore how far we have fallen. Our society makes excuses for everything from the wanton destruction we see in our streets to the child-pornography found on major streaming services. Why be surprised by the sheer evil that is currently running rampant right here in our own nation?
But that 9th verse is crucial. Arguing with fools – those who are perfectly happy wallowing in their wickedness – does no good. They just scoff and laugh at us, and continue with their riots, their destruction, their violence, etc. So if we can’t accomplish anything by arguing with fools, what should we do? Should we remain silent and allow it to continue? Should we just sit back and hope somebody comes along and puts a stop to it? Some would say we should just pray and leave it in God’s hands. Okay, but how does God work here on Earth? While He could exact judgement by His own hands, we don’t see a lot of precedence for that in scripture beyond a few major events and of course at the 2nd coming of Christ. But for the most part, God works through mankind. So perhaps we ought to be ready to step up if He wants to work through us.
One of my favorite passages of scripture is found in 2nd Timothy…
20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.2 Timothy 2
This is referring to us, as followers of Jesus and as men and women of God, who willingly desire to be used by Him to effect change in this world. It tells us that, if we really want to be used for honorable purposes – for God’s purposes – then we must first be cleansed from what is dishonorable. Then, we can become useful to our master – our God – set apart as holy and ready (or prepared) for any and every good work He might have us do.
If we purpose ourselves to be willing vessels, then God will do a work through us. Stop asking, “Well, what exactly should we do?” Instead focus on being willing and ready to do whatever God chooses to do through us. Remember, a vessel is just a vessel. It’s an empty thing to be filled and used. We can’t fill ourselves. Oh, we can prepare ourselves to BE filled. We can and should empty out anything that would make us unclean. And Jesus does help us with this through His teachings. The Holy Spirit helps as well, by convicting us of wrongs so that we can turn away from them. But it is God – the master – who fills us and uses us. The onus is on God then, once we have done all we must do to present ourselves to Him as willing vessels. We just have to learn to give up the control and let Him do what He wants to do.
Still some might say that Christians should avoid political issues altogether. Really? Why? Are we not to stand up and be counted? Do our opinions and beliefs not matter? There are so many moral issues facing us today, and just because those topics have been politicized we are to keep quiet about them? Abortion, racism, rioting and murder – these are moral issues, and we’d better not be guilty of sitting by and letting these things continue unchecked. We are morally obligated to speak out for those who can’t, defend the innocent, and beat back wickedness with righteousness.
The main idea here is for us not to simply accept the chaos. This is not “the new norm.” Never let that be your attitude. We have to guard against the tendency to just go with the flow of things in this world. Remember the familiar passage:
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.Romans 12 [ESV]
If we refuse to conform to the patterns of the world around us, and instead actively allow the renewal of our minds to take place through studying and meditating on God’s Word, then a transformation happens. We become vessels that God can use for His purposes, and we receive spiritual discernment regarding what God’s will actually is. When this occurs, we go from being mere believers of the Word to being DOERS of the Word.
Through willing obedience to God, we can become more than the average ordinary run-of-the-mill “Christian in name only.” Through sanctification, or being set apart as holy, we distinguish ourselves even in the eyes of those following a more carnal worldview. We stand out. We’re a peculiar people. We don’t just say we believe, but we live in that belief. Our hope in Christ is firmly founded, and God can use us to turn the tide against the evil schemes of satan. The world will hate us, sure. Jesus told us that would happen. But being in the righteous will of God the Father is way better than being in the favor of this sinful and wicked world.
The Christian Response
In the midst of chaos and darkness, we are to be the light of a city on a hill. Our light – which is Jesus – should stand out and overwhelm that darkness. But we must be firmly founded, rooted in the Word, built up and fortified by prayer and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, and be ready and willing to let God work through us.
Most of all, don’t get bogged down in futile arguments with those who don’t wish to understand. Our response to others should not come from a place of judgement or condemnation because that’s not our job, but instead from a position of love – the amazing love of God. Seek first His will, and do only as He directs. And they will know that we are Christians by our love, for one another and for them.