“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”
I Corinthians 15:19
Those who live in hopeless despair or wishful thinking are living in “Life’s Worst Nightmare.”
Dear Pilgrim, what is it that separates a believer from a non-believer? Is it theological doctrines or Biblical orthodoxy? Is it one’s morality and his/her refraining from worldly attitudes and vices? Is it one’s good works/benevolent deeds or number of sacrificial acts?
If so, there really is no difference with regards to inner peace and assurance—even though the non-believer may, in reality, be less burdened than the “professor,” who’s constantly trying to tow-the-mark or make it up to God. Who of us at times has not almost secretly envied the carefree demeanor of the “happy pagan,” who shows no remorse over doing wrong (Ps. 73:1-15)?
No wonder such a person is “of all men most miserable” or, lit., “of all men to be pitied.”
Why is that?
Simply because such a one lives as “if Christ be not risen” (vv.12-18). And, even a cursory reading of those verses shows that such a one’s “faith is vain. . .he constantly feels like a false witness and his testimony is powerless. . .guilt, not Grace, more times than not reminds him of his failures and shortcomings. . .everything seems to end at one spot: Death and perishing.”
Oh, they may get riled up with such an indictment of them. But, the fact remains their rejoicing is short-lived and contrived. Instead of getting up in the morning, singing “Good morning, Lord,” they wake up in a foul mood, muttering “Good, Lord—another morning.”
Is it any wonder the world wants nothing of what that professor has?
No, it’s no wonder—for religion always makes one sick and miserable!
But, praise God’s Holy Name, when we live in Resurrection Reality. . .remembering the Risen Lord is the One Who indwells us after the new birth. . .then we have reason to rejoice and “give thanks in all things” (I Thess. 5:18).
Think of it, Pilgrim:
Those who live without Christ “live without God and hope in this world” (Eph. 2:12). Optimism and positive thinking are good, but rooted in the flesh and pride. There’ll come the time when they’ve lost everything and they’ll realize their hope and trust were in themselves, not the One Who raised Jesus from the dead.
Only those whose lives have been redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb and daily transformed by His Presence can vigorously sing “Because He live I can face tomorrow.” Hallelujah!! Therefore, do not spend so much time looking at things as they are—for that’ll only lead to cynicism and/or despair. Instead, “capture your thoughts” (II Cor. 10:3-5) and stay focused on Jesus, “the Author and Finisher of your faith” (Heb. 12:2). Only then will you feel the tugging of the two unbreakable Chains of the “sure and steadfast Anchor of the soul” (Heb. 6:17-20), lifting you up, when everything around you is falling apart.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated August 7, 2009