MONDAY COLUMN: “NEAL AT THE CROSS”
It’s the time of year when so many are buying or receiving calendars and planners or using an electronic version of the same. These can be key to organizing our lives, maximizing our time management, and strategizing ways to grow and improve in the future. Good stewardship really demands that you are “making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16).
In this task of planning life each day, please consider planning to do the following each and every day of 2020:
- Tell someone about what Jesus has done for you every day.
- Tell God how great He is and grateful you are for Him as you pray every day.
- Let God speak to You through His Word every day.
- Tell your spouse, children, and family you love them every day.
- Show someone the servant heart of Jesus in your deeds every day.
- Do something that will help you look more like Jesus every day.
- Help people see the joy and satisfaction of living the Christian life every day.
- Encourage someone (via card, social media, phone, etc.) every day.
- Compliment someone every day.
- Examine yourself every day.
- Provide an example of leadership to someone every day.
- Invest in someone every day.
- Count your blessings every day.
That’s enough to keep idleness from plaguing us, isn’t it? Consider how helpful this will be, not just on January 1, but also March 19, June 6, September 25, and December 30. This life is about overcoming (1 John 5:4), but perseverance is as much about the daily grind as it is the dramatic and grand. Zig Ziglar wrote that “people often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” How profound! Plan on being a better you and on doing what that requires, day by day.
- We sing a new song (Ps. 40:3; Isa. 42:10; Rev. 5:9).
- We gain new strength (Isa. 40:31).
- We have a new name (Isa. 62:2; Rev. 2:17).
- We have a new covenant (Jer. 31:31; Heb. 8-9).
- We have God’s compassions which are new every morning (Lam. 3:23).
- We have a new heart and a new spirit (Ezek. 36:26).
- We observe a new commandment with each other (John 13:34).
- We walk a new life (Rom. 6:4).
- We are new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17).
- We are part of that new man, united with all children of God (Eph. 2:15).
- We have put on the new self (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10).
- We have been given a new and living way (Heb. 10:20).
- We are looking for new heavens and a new earth (2 Pet. 3:13).
- We anticipate the day when Christ makes all things new (Rev. 21:5).
Even though these promises were made thousands of years ago, they are as fresh and bright today as they have ever been. Some help us overcome the guilt of our past. Others give us strength for the present. All of them give us hope for the future. We don’t need “new truth,” but so many of the truths of Scripture deserve our renewed dedication and attention. As a New Year descends, try and put your arms around all the daily renewal our great God makes available to us on January 1st and every other day of the year!
” Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16).
An epistle centering around the superiority of Christi as our all-sufficient One would certainly be expected to contain a message of hope. While some had apparently given up Jesus as their hope (6:4-6), the writer of Hebrews had a higher estimation of those to whom he writes. for one thing, they had a legacy of good works and brotherly love and benevolence (6:10). His desire was that they would continue to stay strong. In expressing this, the writer suggests hope as an integral tool to keep them hanging onto their faith in Christ. In these final ten verses of Hebrews six, he mentions three qualities of hope that would help them–and will help us–hang onto our hope in Christ no matter what.
This hope is durable (11). Look at the language he uses. This hope was tied to an assurance that would endure “until the end.” It was a hope that would lead them to “inherit the promises” (12), just as Abraham’s hope in God led him to his inheritance (13-17). God desires to show us, as heirs of the promise through Christ, His unchanging purpose (17), so He guarantees that promise through an oath build upon the foundation of Himself. Hope which is guaranteed by the very nature and character of God is hope that will outlast anything! Nations rise and fall. Presidents serve only one or two terms. Supreme court justices, at most, can serve only a lifetime. Our hope transcends time.
This hope is tangible (18). These Christians needed to count on a refuge in difficult times (see 12:4), and we desire the same thing in our lives! Knowing that God is so trustworthy, we are encouraged to “take hold of hope” that is found only in Christ. To say that we can take hold of hope and that it is set before us means that it has substance. In a world where nothing seems certain, evidence from scripture, nature, order and design of the universe, and so much more allows us, by faith, to grab this hope. He had already told them to hold onto that hope in Christ earlier in the letter (3:6) and to encourage this response he points them to scripture (cf. 3:7-11; Psa. 95:7-11). Scripture helps us see the solid hope we have in Jesus.
This hope is stable (19). It is an anchor. Anchors keep a vessel from drifting, an appropriate illustration since the Christians were tempted to drift from Christ (2:1). By maintaining their hope, they could anticipate three blessings: (1) sureness, (2) steadfastness, and (3) the service of the sacrificial Savior (19-20). All three of these descriptions of this Almighty anchor underline the security found in keeping ourselves anchored in Christ. Those who keep Jesus as their hope are able to weather the most horrific storms of life!
As Christians, we may find ourselves ready to abandon Jesus as our hope. So many things attempt to pull us from Him. Let us draw encouragement from this inspired writer, as surely these first Christians did, and rejoice in these changeless characteristics of hope!