Wednesday, January 14, 2015

In Christ Alone

Where is your hope today, friend? Most of us know the right answer to that question. Our hope is in Christ. But what does that look like, in a practical sense? As you wake up each morning, how does that hope encourage you?

When I ask the question, “Where is your hope?” in a counseling session, most of my counselees are quick to affirm that their hope is in Christ. But when I ask them how they are practically putting their hope in Christ, they often say that they are hoping in Christ that their situation will improve. That the Lord will bring their husband back home, heal their child’s illness, or bring their rebellious loved one back into the fold. There is nothing wrong with believing that Christ can do all these things. He most certainly can. But this is not what we should mean when we say our hope is in Christ.

Let me explain. These things we hope for may not happen. If divorce papers are filed, we may decide that our hope was misplaced. We might become disappointed in God, and grow cold toward Him. If our child is not healed, we may begin to doubt God’s power. If that estranged relative dies in his sin, we may become angry at God because He did not fulfill our hope. Many people have their hope in Christ tied to a circumstance they are begging Him to change. When he doesn’t change it, their faith unravels.

So, what does it mean to place your hope in Christ? There is a hymn called “In Christ Alone” That makes my point beautifully. Listen to it here before you continue reading.

With these words in mind, consider these thoughts:

1-Our hope is in Christ because He has established us in Him. He is our cornerstone, our solid ground, who tethers us to Himself through every storm of life.  Nothing can ever shake us as long as we depend on Him. We don’t have to fear any circumstance, because we know that everything that happens is under His divine control (Psalm 135:6; Job 42:2; Ephesians 3:20; Isaiah 43:13), and that He will use it for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28). We have hope because the Sovereign Creator of the Universe has given us life and will use that life for the purposes He chooses, based on His love.

2-Our hope is in Christ because He has given us true freedom. We may think we are in bondage to our circumstances, but that is a lie from the pit of hell! No matter what earthly thing is happening in your life right now, you are free: Free from the power of sin; free from the bondage of Satan and even your own flesh. Free from the fear of man, and what people can do to you. In Christ, we can see our circumstances as a gift (James 1:17) from Him. In His hands, even the worst of our troubles can glorify Him when we respond in faith, trusting in Him to comfort and sustain us.

3-Our hope is in Christ because He has made our future secure. This life is a vapor (James 4:14)! When you come to the moment of your death, this trial you are facing right now will seem tiny compared to the vastness of eternity. The only thing that will matter in that moment is that you are about to meet the One who was with you from your first cry to your final breath (Psalm 139). You will understand that He has commanded every moment, including your eternal destiny. Dear friend, please don’t wait till that moment to fall into the arms of Christ! Surrender now! Give Him all your fear, all your chains, and all your heart. He is faithful, trustworthy, and very real.

Where is your hope today? Is your hope in Christ? If you answer yes, examine yourself to see if that hope is also tied to the outcome of your current problem. If it is, ask the Lord to untie it. He will gently and lovingly pull just the right strings to separate your hope from this world, and tie it eternally, only to Him. Hallelujah! What a hope! What a Savior!