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3:58 AM   [21 Aug 2016 | Sunday]

Hope and Intimacy

 Overwhelming evidence not only shows the existence of God, but His great love toward mankind.  Nonetheless, a large number of people are willingly ignorant, which is beyond mere ignorance of the truth.  It’s one thing to be naïve and lack understanding.  It is quite another when one makes the decision to never acquire knowledge and understanding.  Obviously, a good many do not want to be held accountable for their lifestyle choices, so they choose to disbelieve in God.  Unfortunately for them, they’ve also chosen to live a life without hope.  A worldview that excludes God is void of hope.  Why do you think the devil fights so hard against the truth?  He doesn’t even care if people don’t believe he exists; in fact, it gives him an advantage.  If he can keep people in a state of unbelief, he already has stolen their hope.  Not only that, but their purpose for living.

Any purpose a person may have apart from God is artificial. 

He or she will never be satisfied with achievements and accolades.  Without a relationship with God, it’s impossible to be truly content.  Some might scoff at that statement, but without Jesus Christ there is no peace; therefore, experiencing contentment to the fullest extent will not happen without Him.  How can someone be satisfied with a void that only He can fill in their life?  This for the believer and nonbeliever alike: try sitting still for an hour with no outside stimuli.  No electronics, books, people or anything that can occupy your mind.  See if you will be able maintain peace or if you will become anxious or antsy.  This is going somewhere, so hang with me a moment.

Do you find a lack of peace when you’re not doing something, or least entertaining your mind?  Do you find yourself feeling worthless when you’re not doing something “productive?”  Do you find your worth attached to doing?  Can you sit quietly for extended periods of time without feeling guilty?  Do you find hope eluding you if you’re not doing “Kingdom business?”  If you find yourself saying yes to these questions, you may be experiencing an identity crisis.

Let’s be clear, it’s normal to feel unsettled when you’re sitting around doing nothing when you actually should be doing something.  Not to be confused with fear and anxiety which counterfeit the Lord’s prompting in such cases.  The point is to focus on your relationship with God.

Even believers can struggle with hope sometimes.  Those times of struggle may be an indicator of their intimacy level. 

Simply put: the more distant from Him you are, the more likely hope will become somewhat elusive.  Your confidence is not near as strong as when you’re in intimate place with Him.  Everything flows out of the relationship when things are in order; not by our striving.  Even our earthly relationships with each other reveal this simple truth.  The more intimate the relationship, the more boldness people have with each other.  It’s a place of trust that you cannot find on an acquaintance level.  If you are only an acquaintance of God, you will lack boldness with Him.  If you feel like a mere acquaintance, remember you are far more than that if you have received Jesus Christ.  Romans 8:14-17 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.  15.  For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"  16.  The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17.  and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.  Don’t base your hope and intimacy on feelings, but on His sure Word.  If you find yourself distant, remember this simple truth as well: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you . . .” (James 4:8).

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