Posted on October 26, 2018
by Brian Smith
“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
One of my many faults is how I ignore much of what occurs in this world. Rarely, if ever, do I watch the news or read the newspaper. It seems like each time I see the news, it’s one tale after another of the moral and ethical decline of our world. So, I ignore it. That’s a poor response, I know, but that’s what I do. What I need to understand is that the bad news of this world should not be something I ignore, but something that moves me to action.
For many of us, it can be hard to face life each day. Living in this world can be hard – disappointment, illness, depression, death, evil all around us; it can be discouraging. But as believers, we live in the confidence of a risen Lord – “You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” John 16:33 He encourages us through prayer, Scripture, and the work of the Spirit in us to recognize that despite living in a sinful world, we have hope in Christ. Look at the apostles – despite living with Jesus and seeing his works and his miracles, they abandoned him at his time of greatest need. However, Jesus returned to equip them, to encourage them, and to send them out. Although they failed in the past, they didn’t allow that to stop them from being used in the future – they allowed the Spirit to strengthen them in spreading the good news of the gospel. We have the same opportunity to allow the Spirit to work within us to do great things for him, but we can’t allow ourselves to feel like we’re defeated – by the world, by our past – before we begin.
Our attitude should be just like this young man: On my way home one day, I stopped to watch a baseball game that was being played at a park near home. As I sat down behind the home bench, I asked one of the boys in the dugout what the score was. “We’re behind 14 to nothing,” he answered, with a huge smile. “Really, 14 to nothing,” I said. “You don’t seem to be too upset.” With a puzzled look, he said, “Upset? Why should we be upset? We haven’t been up to bat yet.”
That’s our attitude! No matter how bleak our circumstances may seem, we have hope. Don’t allow the discouraging news of this world to hold you back. Don’t allow past mistakes and decisions to hold you back. When things seem discouraging is exactly when the good news of Christ can shine through our lives the brightest. Live a life that makes people want to find out where you find your happiness, where you find your peace, where you find your hope. And you can tell them – ‘I serve a risen Lord!’
“…and always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” I Peter 3:15