At men’s group last night we talked about hope. Pastor Brandon challenged us to put this Scripture in action:
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. (1 Peter 3:15b)
Yes, he challenged us to take our hope to a world that needs to hear about our hope and see it in action. But he asked us each to give a reason for the hope we have – in three minutes or less – right there in our group.
A couple of guys spoke up and spoke of eternal life and knowing that they will be with Jesus in heaven. When my turn came, I thought of the blessed hope, the hope of heaven, but instead, I just had to talk about freedom.
First, knowing who you are IN CHRIST is key for me. As I’ve repeated so many times, I am a child of God with Christ dwelling in me, and I live in the unshakeable Kingdom of God. As a child of God, God has adopted me into His family, He has chosen me (and you), and He loves me with an unchanging, unrelenting love. He is forever thinking of me, and, unbelievably, sings over me. There is nothing I can do to make God turn away from me or to love me any less, and thankfully, there is nothing I have to do to make God love me, or to love me more.
Secondly, Jesus lives in me. I don’t have to ask Him to come to me. He’s in me! Little by little, as I allow, He is taking over my life. And because I can rely on Him always working for my good, I can relax and let Him take charge. I can’t tell you the freedom that brings!
It’s my identity in Christ that allows me to fully trust Him moment by moment, no matter what comes my way. I realize that God’s intentions toward me are nothing but good. He wants to grow me and He knows what’s best for me. I know that in the end, God wins. He gets the final word. Justice will prevail, although probably not here on earth. But in the end, justice will prevail.
In the end, I win. I may suffer. My world may fall apart. I may get sick. I will die. But in the end, because of all that Jesus has done, I win. That makes me IN CHRIST (and ONLY in Christ) unshakeable.
Plain and simple, that gives me hope.
Are my three minutes up?