21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,
22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. - Colossians 1:21-23
In this section of Colossians, Paul encourages us to continue steadfast in the hope of Christ. Steadfast is unwavering, ever pursuing or pushing forward toward a goal. Paul is suggesting that we are unwavering in our hope. The problem is that’s not what we are doing. So many of us struggle with hope. Depression and anxiety are the opposite of hope, but they are on the rise - not Hope. The increase in diagnosed cases of anxiety and depression in adults and children is so significant that they are calling it a pandemic. The statistics are staggering. And this pandemic seems to be affecting both believers and unbelievers fairly equally.
I've been studying what keeps us from continuing steadfast in hope. What derails us from the hope found in Christ? What makes the loudest noise in our souls? Why do we struggle to find peace at times? As believers, Paul reminds us here that our hope is found in the fact that we have been reconciled to Christ, and we are presented as holy and blameless to our God and Father. And still, we are not steadfast in our hope. Why is that?
It all comes down to one simple thing: unconfessed sin. But we don’t like that truth. We are so prone to blame shifting, denying, hiding, or excusing away our own sin that it’s become a natural part of our existence. We want it to be someone else’s fault. We want to be able to blame our situation on someone else’s choices, someone else’s treatment of us, someone else’s sin. Why is that? Denial is rooted in fear. And that fear - which can manifest itself as guilt, shame, or pride - lives in all of us. We deny our sin in such a way that we can’t even see we are denying it because we fear acknowledging it. We fear being vulnerable, we fear people’s judgment, we fear failure, we fear the pain, we fear the ownership. We fear so deeply that we rise up above the issue in defense of our innocence, then bury it so deep that we struggle to even find it.
Confession, on the other hand, is rooted in hope. Confession comes from a place of deep humility that I have failed the people in my life and I have failed God. I am a broken person. I am not good enough, I am not better, I am not righteous. Confession is owning my part in this conflict, my part in this situation, my part in this trial. When I humble myself to those depths, and confess my sins to God with a truly repentant heart, it is there that I find Hope because it is there that I find Jesus waiting for me.
Here's the truth that we have to work to accept: you simply cannot embrace the radical hope of Jesus Christ and present yourself as anything less than a needy sinner. Why would we work so hard to present ourselves as anything more than a lowly sinner when the very message of the Gospel is that Jesus loves and accepts sinners? Forget excusing, denying, or anything else that minimizes your sin and embrace the hope of Jesus Christ.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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