What Are You Hoping For? 1John 3:2-4
About 27 yrs ago I remember being startled that some Christian sisters talking about how they bought a lottery ticket and won. Growing up in Oregon and Nebraska I did not know that such things existed. In the Evangelical circles that Marianne and I fellowshipped in, this was equivalent to drinking alcohol or smoking. How many today are playing the state lottery and hoping to win? Recently I've seen many folks getting tickets or turning a few winners in. Many are hoping for a way out of their dilemma's financially. Others are dreaming and talking of what they would do, "if I win the big one." Some of it is justified as entertainment, and for a good cause, like a fun way of paying voluntary taxes. Many fall into depression, by not seeing their expectations met. This is an illness that the scriptures talk about.
A hope that is not fulfilled can make the heart sick. But a longing that is fulfilled is the tree of life. This is a truth that we can live by from from Proverbs 13:12
Have I been fulfilling my longings and finding life, but only in the temporal things that will perish?
Having a vision and goals in this life are not wrong. Its the priority that we hold those things that we need to consider. At what cost will I obtain this thing? If it will mean loosing my soul, and life eternal in Gods presence, I need the grace to say,"no, this is ungodly, and against God."
God promises a hope of being raised from the dead, and He promises us a life after this one that will last forever in His presence. Here is a couple references of this hope:
" By his power God raised the Lord from the dead and he will raise us also." 1 Cor 6:14
"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears,we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure." 1 John 3:2-4
How much do I hope for the day when I shall see Jesus face to face? Is my hope for the life after this one keeping me on the straight and narrow?
I read this week about temptation and how God is Faithful to provide a way to escape offending him, or a way to resist the temptation to rebel against him. I fail so often to look for the escape when the temptations come, and I just let my flesh and the sin rule. The foundational verse to memorize is 1 Corinthians 10:13 This is a weapon for us to wield when temptation comes. Gods promise is there for us to claim. Verse 14 spoke to me also, flee idolatry. We in America have no idea how idolatrous we are. I am asking the Holy Spirit to convict me where I am grieving him, and practicing any kind of idolatry. My compromise has been with watching movies. I love to sit and watch a movie with the family, or with Marianne alone. Many of the "PG" and "R" ones compromise the morals that we would never practice in our home. I have let Hollywood tell their stories in our living room with swear words, or demonstrating other immoralities that we never dare to do, or have not wanted to see our children ever do.
We have been bought with a price. We are not our own. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, we dare not defile Gods Temple. We are called to honor God with our body and do not commit sexual immorality with it. Are we able to name sin as sin and call it what it is? Fornication = pre martial sex. Adultery = sleeping with some one elses wife or husband. Homosexuality = sex with some of our own gender. Any of these activities entertained in our minds is sin, not just the action.
Marianne and I suffer depression at times. We have had our hopes deferred. Lately we have had goals and not been able to meet them. When we have reached high points in life, valleys have followed soon after, why? Were we hoping to find life in the accomplishments we made, or expectations we had of others? One friend of mine said his life goal was, "to be a humble servant and finish well." I have not forgotten his testimony and his steady attitudes and actions which are still on track today. Paul stated his life goal, or hope in Philippians 3:10-12 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. May each of us have this hope, and not be distracted from obtaining it. God will raise us from the dead just as he raised up Jesus. G.W.