As a believer in Jesus, have you ever just taken some time to think about what you believe and why you believe it? It's not something we think about too often, because we know the path we've chosen, and now we walk it, getting on with things. It must be said though, that if you spare a thought for what it is that you have chosen to believe and what it means to you, now and into eternity, it's a pretty incredible thing! And to think that other say 'NO!' to an opportunity to be born again, and to have Christ guide their lives! Why would they say 'no' to that? There are a bucket load of bad excuses that get thought up when that question is posed, but I'd hazard a guess that one of them is because people want to live life on their own terms. 'God has all these rules and I want to be free. Now I can just do whatever I want, when I want, and I don't have to feel guilty about it!' Ever heard that before? There is a whole number of ways to respond to this sort of statement, but the one I have been thinking about most of late is this: When someone chooses this so-called 'freedom', there is now nothing with which to gauge any behaviour. Without a true measuring device, no one can tell you you're good or bad, and this helps with guilt feeling in the short term, but in more difficult moments, when it's less about behaviour and more about circumstance, you're still without a rudder. How can someone have hope when times are tough; because when you look to yourself, you're just finding hurt, or that guilt again that's come around to bite you on the ankle.
If your hope is in you, and you're already feeling desperate and broken, then you're trying to draw water from a stone. There's only emptiness to call on, and positive self-talk feels like it's been written on a wet dish cloth. Now you're left staring at a brick wall, next to a sign that says: DEAD END. Freedom, hey?
As someone who has surrendered their life to Christ, a tough situation looks completely different. People have been known to call Christianity a 'crutch', and I agree because without Jesus I am broken, so a crutch is exactly what I need! Now, when I'm feeling like the world is falling apart, and that I'm alone, and unloved, or the future seems hopeless, I don't hear my voice echoing out in the empty hall of desperation, because I now have Truth, and with that a weapon to render those negative feelings worthless. Even if I'm feeling low and I can't see the light, the Truth reminds me that there is a light. How can I feel unloved if I read John 3:16 or 1John 4:10 or Romans 8:37 or Psalm 86:15? The Truth doesn't change, but our feelings are like a teeny tiny boat on a raging ocean. The Truth calms the waters and stills our fears. Sounds like a familiar Bible story, doesn't it?
Let me finish with the moral of that story out of Mark chapter 4: Despite the very presence of Jesus in our lives, we can still be very afraid of what life throws at us, the problem doesn't lie there. The problem is when the very presence of a loving and mighty God still doesn't calm our fears, when we follow our feelings and say He doesn't care, just like the disciples did. It's time to see our God as the One who is everything we need, because faith in Him can never me misplaced. It's time to be bolstered by the Truth of who God is and how He sees us, by spending time in His Word. Now you're armed and ready to bomb those negative feelings all the way to next Tuesday because the Truth really will set you free.