Never Let Go of Hope – 2

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Scripture References: Colossians 1:21-29

The more we can open ourselves to the will of God, the greater chance there will be that the world will begin improving around us. If that could spread and multiply, think about the world impact!

In spite of these principles which we may very well believe in theory, mustering hope in this world and from where many of us sit today is an overpowering challenge. We may feel like the character, David in the movie, Every Time We Say Goodbye. He was a young American soldier serving in the British armed forces in Jerusalem during the early 1940’s, when threats of invasion by Hitler’s troops hung heavy there. Sarah, the young Jewish woman with whom he was falling in love, asked David to tell her more about his father who was a Presbyterian minister in the United States. David began by describing his father as a good man whom he was bound to disappoint; Sarah wonders why.

David explains: “Because my father believes that God is just and merciful and that the world can be remade in His image.”

Sarah asked, “And you don’t?”

After a pause, David confesses, “I think God has a lot to answer for. And I don’t think He can change the world—not much anyway.”

David may have been onto something. There are always new stories which seem to contradict hope for a better world. Still, as hard as hope may be for us, hope in the Christian heart is treated in much of the New Testament as a foregone conclusion. That is true of our New Testament lesson today.

There are two related and important phrases in what Paul wrote to the Colossian Christians: “. . . if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard” (Colossians 1:23), and “. . . Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). These are not synonymous by any means, but they do support one another.

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The first phrase is directly related to reconciliation in relationship to God which the Colossians had experienced, what we all experience when we come into a right relationship with God. Paul reminds them of the “before” and “after.” He called to their attention that there was a time before their reconciliation with God when they were busily involved in doing evil deeds; it was a time when they were “alienated and enemies in [their] mind” (Colossians 1:21). They were estranged from God and many of the people around them. They undoubtedly felt isolated, alone, and as if they didn’t belong.

We all know these kinds of feelings, and we know them too well; the isolation, loneliness, and no sense of belonging. Even on “this side” of reconciliation with God, these feelings still creep into our lives from time to time, but before meaningful relationship with God, they were surely heightened, leaving us with an overpowering sense of hopelessness about life and the world. Of course, living at odds with God, the center and the foundation of our being, creates a sense of alienation rather that belonging; we feel rejected rather than loved. This surely has something to do with being “enemies” to which Paul also refers. Because of our separation from God, perhaps we see God as the enemy; thus there is a “deep distrust of others, and a desire to hurt or destroy them.”

Paul asks the Colossians, and he asks us to remember what that was like, especially in contrast with the recollection of what having been reconciled with God has meant. Now Jesus Christ “in the body of His flesh through death, present[s] you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight” (Colossians 1:22). Paul challenges the feeling of being unloved. Jesus Christ has brought about the opportunity of being made right with God, by His living out in the flesh the love of God though it meant His own suffering and death on our behalf. When we are confronted with these realities, it’s much more difficult for us to pout and nurse our anger, off by ourselves in some lonely corner of life. That’s the basis of being made right with God because it begins at once to dissolve both our sense of hopelessness and the emptiness of alienation that drives us and keeps us in the foreign land of hatred. When we can affirm, in the midst of our troubles and despair, that as long as we have God (and God has us), we have Somebody. That changes everything, doesn’t it? When we know we have “Someone who never leaves us,” Somebody who listens and cares with us for the long haul, our outlook is unavoidably changed.

To Be Continued

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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, NKJV © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

About Roland Ledoux

Pastor of Oasis Bible Ministry, an outreach ministry of teaching, encouragement and intercessory prayer from the Holy Bible, the written Word of God and author of the ministry website, For The Love of God. He lives in Delta, Colorado with his beautiful wife of 50+ years and a beautiful yellow lab whom they affectionately call Bella.
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