Real Hope

martinique-206916_640Hi everyone, Rob here.

On Sunday our family received a lovely gift of tickets to Disney on Ice. It was a great show! My nearly 6 year old daughter and nearly 8 year old son were both enthralled and enchanted by the stories, the skating, the costumes and the daring of what was presented. At times though, my daughter was scared by wicked witches and evil lions and needed the reassurance that the baddies won’t win. Sound familiar? As we watched Snow White, the Lion King, Peter Pan and so on, I was struck afresh by the truth that those fairy tales and stories represented: We have an enemy, he’s trying to destroy us and he will not win!

Another way to put this is that we need to get real and have hope. We need to get real because we can be incredibly naïve, especially in our comfortable western world. The enemy, Satan, is after our hearts; our hope, our joy, our capacity to love, our hunger for God. He much prefers fear, confusion, bitterness, self-sufficiency and despair. The battle seems to rage primarily over our relationships. In New Zealand we live in a beautiful country, the economy is going well, crime is relatively low and yet our suicide rate is alarmingly high, drug and alcohol abuse are high, our mental health statistics aren’t good, domestic violence is high and there’s very little thought given towards God. Why? It’s because our relationships are a mess and they’re a mess for two reasons. One is because too many of us are emotionally immature and broken people. This makes us vulnerable to the enemy when he says ‘one more drink’, ‘a little porn won’t do any harm’, ‘it will be easier if you leave’, ‘suck it up, don’t be a weakling’ and on and on the messages go. The other reason is because the enemy seeks to “steal, kill and destroy” our relationships and we’ve been too naïve to recognise his presence. These two reasons mean that we need healing and we need to learn how to fight.

This is where having hope kicks in and the hope lies in Jesus Christ. Just as the fairy tales tell us that the hero always comes, Jesus Christ came from heaven to earth for us. He is the hero of our story. He is our rescuer from the evil one – our Saviour, the one who saves and the one who heals our wounded hearts. He has defeated Satan and we can share in his victory and one day soon that victory will be for the whole cosmos. Each day we need to take our place in Christ – his life, his death, his resurrection and his reign. This isn’t because we lose our place in him overnight! It’s because we forget and we need to remind ourselves often that we are his and he is ours. We share in his death and suffering and we share in his life and victory. We die to sin and come alive to God in the name of Jesus Christ. We resist temptations and Satan’s lies in the name of Jesus Christ. We learn to see life through his eyes, live life in his strength and love others with a divine love.

We now belong to another kingdom and that kingdom, through Christ, has struck a fatal blow to our enemy and his dominion. God’s kingdom – where God reigns – is, for now, partial on this earth. But our job, as Christ’s ambassadors, is to extend it’s influence. That’s why we pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We are praying the future into the present; the eternal into the temporal; what is light into the darkness; love into hatred; joy into despair and hope into hopelessness.

Let’s get real. It gets scary sometimes but the baddies won’t win because the hero has come and will come again. Let’s have hope in Jesus: “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14).”

Blessings.

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