“But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ” Philippians 3:7 (NIV).
“I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”
When I read the above quote in “Guideposts” magazine, I was more than surprised at the source. Why? Because I am seeing a trend as more celebrities figure out that fame and fortune is not the answer to a joy-filled life. Actor Jim Carrey, famously known for some distasteful movie roles, is the man behind the quotation. I admit Carrey’s a brilliant actor. His statement gave me hope.
Hope is what we need in a fallen world. The standard dictionary definition of hope is “to feel that something desired may happen.” Those two words, “feel” and “may” are vague. For example, we might say, “I hope it will not rain on Saturday because we have a baseball game,” or “I hope my car will start today because it’s been giving me trouble.” We might also say, “I hope I get that job because it means a bigger paycheck.”
However, in Scripture, the word, “hope,” has a precise meaning for believers. According to the Hebrew and Greek translation of the word, hope is an indication of certainty. “Hope,” according to the scriptural use means “a strong and confident expectation.”
A synonym for expectation is anticipation. Romans 8:24-25 states, “For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”
What do you await eagerly? Is it the next sporting event? Maybe it’s the release of a highly-publicized movie everyone’s talking about or the next big thing in technology, soon to be replaced with an updated version, leaving that one obsolete?
Many believe that Christianity is on its way to becoming obsolete. A 2012 Pew Report revealed that one in five adults in this country have no religious affiliation. Theories abound with the rise of those claiming “none,” when asked about their association with a religious institution.
Can the church, made up of imperfect people, be one reason for this decline? Many rebel against an institution that does not practice what it preaches. Without attacking any church or group of individuals, I would like to challenge devout churchgoers to examine their lives in light of Christ’s command to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19).
The philosopher Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Lent is a time for self-reflection, a time to examine your life, and ask questions like, “Where is God on my priority list?” “Am I willing to make sacrifices in order to grow in my relationship with Him?” “Do I attend church out of social duty or do I really want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, losing everything for His sake?”
Will you say, “Yes?” The answer will determine your future.