Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. Hebrews 4, verse 14.
Here’s where things get tough. As John Wayne might have said, ‘this is where we get down to the rat killin.’ Ok, maybe not so much, but, man, this is where things get really, really tough.
Hold. On. Wilson Phillips sang that in a really corny song; “hold on for one more day.” ELO sang it too: “hold on tight to your dream.” Corny but it’s true. And it’s critical. Just hold on when things get tough. If your dream is heaven, hold on tight because this is a rough old world that is going to try to pry your dream out of your fingers. If you have faith in Jesus, hold on tight to it because everything else in the world is going to work to unravel your faith and make you believe life is hopeless. If you love someone, set them free? Maybe, but hold on tight to that love because love is antithetical to this place we call the Third Rock, where death awaits every life and every day in-between day one and last day can be a struggle.
Pretty bleak, eh? It can be, if you let it happen. Yesterday in church, a guest speaker from Jeremy Camp’s organization talked about the joy of God, how it is theological, positional and situational to us. God’s joy is 24/7; along with His love, grace, mercy, and peace, His joy is available to us whether we accept it or not. God’s joy doesn’t depend on us doing anything to make it more or make it less: it simply is because He’s God and He’s eternal and joy is one of His eternal qualities. Yet that joy is pretty tough to see sometimes. In my part-time job, I hear many responses on the phone that say “I’d love to buy it but money is really tight right now.” Not much joy in chronically tight finances during a near-depression. Death isn’t joyful; grieving is real and a necessary part of the human condition, necessary, that is, to emotionally come to terms with the cruel finality of death. Divorce, marital heartbreak, loneliness, hurt, resentment: no joy in those.
If you let it, the world will break you. It tries. Don’t let it happen. Resolve to not let it happen. Hold on tight.
Faith is an act of willpower. It is impossible to believe in Jesus without Jesus’ Spirit first reaching out to us to plant the seed of belief. Yet holding on to that growing seed of believing faith takes willpower. It can take effort, work, and determination. God chooses us before we choose to believe in Him, yet holding on to that choice takes resolute effort because the fallen world will keep working to pry us away from that faith. We can do it because He in whom we put that faith has overcome the fallen world. He allowed it to fall, came here to reconcile it to His perfection, did all that was necessary to make that happen, and returned into eternity where He supernaturally encourages us today.
The world thinks that’s all BS. Resolve to think differently. He did. He held tight to faith in His Father even when things got tough.
Jesus was part of the struggle and because He lives in you He is part of your struggle today. When you hurt, He feels it. When you’re anxious, Jesus feels it with you. He came to proclaim God’s Kingdom here and now, to make us part of it here and now so that, one day, we can physically join Him as part of His eternity. Fine talk for Sunday morning, right; lot of good all that heaven talk does me when I’m in the middle of my troubles now. Brother, it does you more good than you’ll imagine if you simply hold on tight to the truth of it. In the middle of a world where living minute to minute can be really tough, God’s joy is still present, still real, still tangible to the heart. It’s available for you this very minute, but first you have to want to believe in it. Hold on tight to that faith, to the dream of hope for a better now and a beautiful forever. Hold on tight and never let go.
For more reading: Hebrews 2:17, Matthew 4:2, Hebrews 3:1, Hebrews 6:20, Hebrews 8:1.
Lord Jesus, I believe in You. Sometimes it’s tough, though, and sometimes I fail and I hurt. Comfort me through this and let me experience Your wonderful joy again.