Deferring Hope and Faith

Even though a person may preach spiritual truths to a crowd, the message is usually for the person preaching it. If you feel like God has put a message in your heart to share, you are the primary intended recipient of that message. If it’s really burning in your heart, that may be a sign that you need to hear it even more than your audience does. It’s in this spirit I share the following, recognizing that this is my battle, and also recognizing that we all struggling with similar things. Someone is going to hear this.

I read John chapters 10-12 the other day. A theme presented itself: now.

In chapter 11 Lazarus dies. Jesus arrives after the fact.

“21) Then Martha said, ‘Lord, if you had been here my brother wouldn’t have died. 22) Yet even know I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give You.’

23) ‘Your brother will rise again,’ Jesus told her.

24) Martha said, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’

25) Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life…”

There is more to verse 25, but I must stop there for the effect. What I want to emphasize is Martha’s response to Jesus’ promise: yeah, I know, he’ll rise again in in the last day. Yeah, I know, heaven. Yeah I know, it will be fulfilled in the last days. It is easy to defer the hope. Our theology, like Martha’s, becomes an excuse for unfulfilled hope. Our theology becomes an excuse for unfulfilled promises. Jesus says, ‘No! I am the [ whatever it is ] you’re waiting for’. I am the [whatever it is] you feel like you need to be hopeful or joyful or fulfilled or effective, and because you don’t feel you have it yet you’re not stepping into that hope or that joy, or that fulfillment, or that effectiveness.

Now.  Because He is timeless, your procrastination is denial. There comes a point when YOU are the one deferring your own hope. By the way, this ‘hope’ language I’m using comes from Proverbs 13:12.

Here’s another story. John 12:1-8

“Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where Lazarus was, the one Jesus had raised from the dead. 2) So they gave a dinner for Him there; Martha was serving them, and Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. 3) Then Mary took a pound of fragrant oil – pure and expensive nard – anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped His feet with her hair. So the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

4) Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot (who was about to betray Him), said, 5) “Why wasn’t this fragrant oil sold for 300 denarii and given to the poor?” 6) He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of the money bag and would steal part of what was put in it.

7) Jesus answered, ‘Leave her alone; she has kept it for the day of my burial. 8) For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.”

That last verse is my emphasis here. I also want to note that, instead of lambasting Judas for his hypocrisy, Jesus spoke as though Judas’ words were an accurate reflection of his motives: Judas’ suggestion was moral but not optimal. The impulse to follow a standard rendered him blind to a precious opportunity. It’s like the rebuke Jesus once gave the Pharisees, “You strain out gnats and swallow a camel.” Again, it’s the theme of ‘now’. The opportunity is now, and you have a story that is keeping you from seizing it, maybe even keeping you from seeing it. Put your story in perspective, put your standards in perspective; what opportunity is immediately in front of you, and critically fleeting?

See also:

Pilgrimage and Horizons of Self

Yes

Manifest Forgiveness

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