Titus 2:11-14 “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
My former pastor once said:
“Be nice to everyone because everyone is having a hard time.”
The generic truth of that statement implies that everyone will be in one of three states. Either in a trial, coming out of a trial, or going into one. In light of today’s text, it begs the question:
“What gets you through your hard day?”
Hope that because there were better times already had, they will come again. Hope that no matter what we may have to endure here on this earth, Heaven awaits. Hope that though the night may seem long, joy will come in the morning.
Psalm 30:5 “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
We cling to the fact that inevitably, things will change. Then comes the most dangerous two words ever put together; “What if?”
What if it doesn’t end?
What if it gets worse?
What if this is what God ordained for me to go through?
What if I deserve this?
…and so many more.
Our enemy bets that we do not know the Word of God as we ought and fires his flaming darts of doubt repeatedly, and relentlessly.
It is in this bondage of fear that hope is squeezed out of a man. When we worry about that which has yet to come and play out scenarios in our minds as if they had already happened; that is when the door is opened for hope to exit.
Often, it is in the inability to control or change our situation or circumstances that we begin to entertain such dark thoughts. “What ifs” start to creep in and lodge in our mind. If not dealt with properly, they will gain a foothold. They only become a stronghold when we begin to believe that the “What if” of our mind is valid and will come to pass.
Jesus Christ admonishes us:
Matthew 6:34 “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
Living in the present. Dealing with what we know to be true. Rebuking that which is the enemy of truth with the Word of God. Three simple steps to take, but difficult when in the bondage of fear and lies.
As children of the King of Kings, we must surround our hearts with what truth we do know to dispel that which comes to question that which we do not. We are charged to be a student of the Word of God.
2 Timothy 2:15-16 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”
Remaining ignorant, or neglecting to grow as a child of God will only open the door to the bondage of our enemy.
Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”
The hope of every born-again, Bible-believer, is found in the Word of God.
Every child of God can look back to the attacks of the enemy in their life.
When did they come? When we were at our weakest. It was when we neglected our Bible reading, meditation, memorization, and prayer. It was when we thought that staying home and indulging in the pleasures of laziness was better counsel than the Word of God.
Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
When the foothold of faith is shaken in us, we lose our grip of the hope we once knew because the lies, the “What ifs”, begin to wear us down. Unless we attack them with the truth, we slip into its bondage ever so slowly.
This is where anxiety, stress, fear, doubt, worry, and depression live. They thrive on darkness and dark thoughts. They seemingly suck the life right out of hope. It is only when we step into the light; the light of the Word of God that we begin to see those thoughts; those strongholds for what they are.
God gives us a battle plan.
2 Corinthians 10:5-6 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”
When we give the “What ifs” of our life more credence than the truth of the Word of God, hope will be lost, and our enemy is only waiting for the prime moment for the killing blow. This is the place where those contemplating suicide come.
They have reasoned in their mind that that to die is the only alternative to solve the seemingly impossible situation or circumstances in which they find themselves. This, my friends, is far more real today than we are ever made aware.
Every 180 seconds, someone dies from an overdose or a successful suicide attempt. It is a sobering fact in this world in which we live, that there are those whose hope has been so battered, and beaten that they would take their own life.
Would, to God, they would know the Savior more intimately; to have more hope than fear; more hope than doubt; more light than darkness.
The blessed hope that only God can bring must be given, must be shared early and often with all that will listen.
Jesus not only saves our soul from a fiery, and very real Hell; He will also deliver us from the darkest part of ourselves. When the darkness around us seems to permeate our soul, we need to come quickly to the light – the Light of the world.
John 8:12 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
Sometimes, others are so drained of strength that they cannot bring themselves to the Light. This is the very reason why we are called to be witnesses. We are to bring the Light to them.
Matthew 5:14-16 “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
I have come to full confidence that there is nothing that can take that hope from me – not even death itself. For in death, I shall then see the One who died for me, face to face.
2 Corinthians 5:8 “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”
For those struggling, or in the midst of a trial; know this:
1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
This verse has been a comfort many a time through some of the hardest trials I have had to face. Knowing the faithfulness of my God has brought hope to my troubled soul and Light into my darkness.
Heaven awaits every child of God. It is His promise to us.
John 14:2-3 “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
We, who are saved, are referred to as sheep in the Bible. The enemy of the sheep doesn’t attack the herd; they attack those on the fringe; those who have wandered from the security of the shepherd.
Our enemy, Satan, will get us to drift from the fold of the church. He affects our minds to take up the stronghold instead of truth – (def: stronghold – a belief system based upon a lie). When we see the danger, we must dispel the darkness with Light, and strongholds with Truth. Jesus is all of those things and more.
John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
The only hope a true Christian can have is rooted and grounded in Biblical truth. If you are not saved, you need to get saved (click here to know more.) If you are saved and far from God, know that He will receive you as the father received the prodigal – with open arms.
Hope is for all. Hope breeds life. My prayer is that you may have found even just a glimmer of it today.