Hope in One Hand and a Pile of Crap in the Other

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, December 12, 2015 0 comments

by Nathan Buck

So this blog post title may be an expression you have heard before. It finishes by saying, “...see which one piles up faster.”

It's a graphic description normally used by people trying to motivate others to take action, instead of wishing things would change. Recently, the New York Daily News (NYDN) posted it's own version of this, when it put ink to paper in a GOP and God bashing campaign. In response to the shootings of 14 people by Muslim terrorists in California, the NYDN decided to seize the opportunity to attack those who offered prayers, as weak willed cowards unwilling to do something. And the NYDN's solution? Round up all the guns. Oy!

Beyond the absolutely idiotic, anti-God, and anti-Constitutional nature of the attack-ad, why am I bothering to mention it? Read Romans 15:1-13.

When you read this passage, it completely dismantles the argument of the NYDN. These verses show what really does pile up, and what we are motivated to do, when we hold on to hope in Christ.

Using Jesus as the example, and Psalm 69 as the explanation, Paul explains in the first several verses that we who have strength in our faith and hope should bear with those who do not. This is more than just “putting up with” and treating others as if they are lower than us. It is more than just gratifying ourselves in our “right-ness” by showing others up. Paul says we should do what Jesus did, and build our neighbors up.

Jesus took the insults, the physical beatings, the torture, and the death that each person has earned in their selfishness and rebellion against God. He didn't come to show off how spiritual and perfect He was, but rather used that perfection to show us how to be like Him. He had nothing to prove, because He was already whole and complete in Himself, and it didn't matter what others thought or did to Him. NOTHING could diminish who He was and is. Even taking ALL the wrath of God that we created for ourselves in rebellion, ALL the jeers and slander, and ALL the accusations and violence could not diminish Jesus. Even His body being broken, torn apart, and nailed to a tree could not diminish Jesus.

He who was strong dealt graciously with we who are weaker than Him. He took every obstacle and created a level path for us to walk with Him and in His power. Jesus gave us what we did not have on our own. And we should do the same for those who do not believe, or whose faith is based on rules and regulations that we feel free from. The goal is freedom and fullness of life for others, even if it costs us ours. If we are in Christ, we have the fullness of His life “piling up” inside of us. We do not need to keep trying to make our own life seem better, or to convince ourselves and others that we are worth something.

Hope gives us more than any circumstance can throw at us. Maturity in being hope-FULL piles up life and joy and power for overcoming all the excrement this world could throw at us.

Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Notice what this verse teaches us: HOPE is from GOD, and when we have the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, we can be overflowing with HOPE. The Greek word translated as hope means “looking forward with confident expectation.” When we have hope, we live and take action based on what we expect GOD can, or is going to, do. God's promises in His Word and the example of Jesus (the Word of God in flesh) give us great confidence in His plans for us and His love for us. We do not have to fear, we do not have to wish, we do not have to cower, we do not have to ridicule or put down others, we do not have to run from the face of death, or be anxious over the other church attendees who struggle with the music or what's permitted or not permitted.

Because of God's hope within us, we can take action to humbly serve the weak, the legalistic, the flighty, the unrestrained, the God fearers, and the God deniers. And by His power at work in us, we can live our lives, or die our deaths, in a way that they will see God and draw near to Him. Make no mistake, this is not a passive way of living. It will daily require you to die to your own desires and fears, be gracious toward the ungodly and the ungrateful, build up the people we meet or share life with, seek ways to uproot oppression and bondage in our culture, and daily pray and rely on God for His power to do so.

So the real question is, are you focused on shoveling what the world keeps dishing out, or are you helping people climb out of the cesspool?

Pray. Let God purify you from insecurity and fear and fill you with joy and peace. Let His hope overflow in you, and spill out in life changing ways to the people around you, even the isolated, fearful, and brainwashed "sleepers" in our midst. May the terrorists among us see Jesus in our love and hope toward them, so the idolatry of hatred and domination taught to them will be undone - that they may be saved in Jesus’ name.

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