With the upcoming elections we are all getting inundated with political ads, promises of a better future if we vote for a particular candidate, and the promise of hope restored for living in this world. When things have gone so bad for so long the promise of hope and better days resonates above everything else. The rise of Donald Trump into prominence has been an interesting thing to deal with this year for other traditional candidates who are promising things will get better, but those promises are coupled with a very “business as usual” feel to them. Donald Trump’s message is one that says, “America will be better if you elect me!” The Donald Trump message has given him a considerable lead in many states and is upsetting those who want to flounder along, lazily holding on to past methods and hoping for different results. In fact the trendy definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. For churches and individually that has been the standard held on to and the result has been disastrous. So if we want to see different results we need to do things different? Exactly!! That kind of attitude lines up with the freshness of faith God gives to each believer. It is intricately tied to the word hope! As believers we should never rest on our laurels and expect God to do some fresh new thing when we are just being lazy and uncommitted. Hope is an active thing that compels new and exciting ways of ministering to people. The Apostle Paul was a great example of doing something new as he preached Jesus to Jews and Gentiles alike and saw God do an extraordinary thing as he preached. At Pisidian Antioch he challenged the status quo and got chastised as being too radical for God to use him. So he set off on his missionary journeys with a burning desire to just see the lost saved. The “business as usual” was not going to be the norm for Paul and his great zeal was channelled through a heart that had been changed. So, why don’t we change? It could be that the original change in our hearts has not been developed into a more intimate relationship with Jesus and our source of understanding is unwilling to see life in a new way. If that is the case, then we are in bad trouble. There is another way to think and live though. It is a way that is very much inspired by a sold out faith attitude. It is a way that is foundational in one word….hope
In Romans 5 Paul shares some of his zeal for living with the church at Rome, and also with us. Verse 2-5 says it like this: “And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know the suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Believe it or not, we are suffering. Suffering in our lack of faith. Suffering in our lack of knowing God’s Word. Suffering in our apathy. Suffering in our traditional lifestyles. We are suffering, but we don’t know what it is all about. According to Paul’s words that suffering should produce something more than just giving us a reason to hang the whole thing up, or just live nominal lives. It should produce perseverance and character and hope.
Think about it this way. Imagine you want to get somewhere and you go to the train station to get your ticket. Your ticket is bought for you by Jesus and then you get ready to get on the train, but they want you to walk through an area of the train station you don’t know so well. At that point you have to decide “Am I going to let this new way of getting on the train keep me from getting on this train and then getting to my destination? If you buck the new way to get on the train, then you will miss the train and wander around in the train station until you change and agree to get on the train through the new door they have in the train station. The train is the “hope train” and Jesus is the conductor. He is wanting to take the hope He gives us to the world and that hope will fuel the train to get to the new location, which is God’s glory in our lives. You have to decide “Will I go through that new door and get on the hope train or not?” If you won’t use the new door, you will not get on that train and you will miss all God is wanting to do through your life. In Lamentations 3:22,23 scripture says it well, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” In verse 25 it goes on to say, “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.” We need to stop the insanity and start trusting the God of the Bible who gives us a living hope that never disappoints. Pray and ask God to give you a fresh new outlook on living your life and then hold on, because He will do it. He will probably offer a new way to get out of the train station and get on The Hope Train. My only advise is “walk through that door” without questioning. Get on The Hope Train. Cause it is leaving the station and you don’t want to miss it. Readjust your thinking and get up to speed on The New Thing God is doing in our midst to win the lost and advance the saved. It is exciting and full of hope.
The Pilgrimage continues….