By Katie Pearson
“O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” – Book of Common Prayer, Collect for Year B, Proper 27
What drains your energy? What makes you feel so exhausted you would rather skip the activities that normally feed your soul? Most of the time, this level of depletion isn’t physical—it’s spiritual. We aren’t drained from too much exercise or socialization. Rather, we have lost an eternal perspective. We have placed our hope in things that are passing away instead of the promises of God. We have forgotten that Christ is returning to make all things new.
As believers, we need to wake up every morning reminding ourselves of “this hope.” But we also need to remember “this hope” throughout the day and reflect it in our actions. Then when a dark story is reported on the news, we can respond with hope and gratitude instead of bitterness and despair. Or when a friend is struggling, we can encourage them with joy and faith rather than dullness and apathy. (God help us from ever reaching this state.
Fortunately, when Jesus left earth the second time, he didn’t abandon us. He experienced humanity firsthand, and he understands our tendency to lose hope when our circumstances deteriorate or our emotions escalate. For that reason, he sent the Spirit to comfort, counsel, and lead us into all truth. The Holy Spirit can provide us with a heavenly vantage point when we are low. He can purify us from unrighteous thoughts and even protect us from enemy attacks in our thought life. As 1 John reminds us, “everyone who thus hopes in God purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:3).
How do we stay connected to the purifying power of Christ in us? It’s simple but not always easy. We have to make the effort to soak our minds in Scripture, turn our hearts to prayer, and train our souls in patient hope. We also need to seek a Christian community to uphold our hearts in faith when doubt, fear, and anxiety slip in. Finally, we must cling to our purpose to encourage others, for 1 John also reminds us to “believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us” (1 John 3:23). Godly purpose gives life to our souls. We are called to love God and spread his light to others, that we all may be made more like Jesus as we await his “eternal and glorious kingdom” together with patient hope.
Martin Luther once said that there were but two days on his calendar, “today and that day.” He recognized that every day of this life is preparation for the day when we will stand before God in eternity. Let’s take a stand today for what lies before us!
Let's face it, the Christian life is hard. Relationships take work. Christians forget. Sometimes it is tempting to go back to the days when God was not the center of our lives - to backslide. We are all faced with tremendous pressures to drift away from intimacy with Jesus and the community of the Church. However, the Lord invites us to pay attention, to move forward, to draw near, and to live lives of worship. Draw Near: Hebrews on Christian Worship is a small group Bible study on the Book of Hebrews intended to lead participants into a deeper intimacy with the living God in the context of New Testament worship. Draw nearer to God in authentic worship today!
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