This week our study of “The Gospel According to Satan” by Jared C. Wilson takes us to Lie #4 – Your feelings are reality. Strong emotions can overwhelm us to the point of blinding us to reality. Whether you are sobbing and shaking from rage or a broken heart, the temptation is real to feel like there is no hope for the end of this struggle. But this is a lie straight from the devil. There is always hope.
In the book of Job, we meet a man who “was blameless – a man of complete integrity” (Job 1:1) and who also happened to be very prosperous. After a terrifying discussion in the Heavenly Throne room Job loses everything, even his health. His friends and his wife question what he did to deserve such suffering but Job remains faithful and does not curse God. He takes us on a journey to find meaning for his suffering but he (and we) are bitterly disappointed. All we learn at the end of Job is that God is almighty and his ways are perfect.
Throughout his painful battle with loss Job never loses hope. But this hope is not a wish that things will eventually look up and get better. The hope burning in his heart is in a promise unseen. Hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus, Job places his hope in two promises of God: that God would forget his sins and that he will live with God forever. We can learn much from Job, but this is probably the most important lesson we need to carry with us during our battles: We hope in the unseen, perfect promises of Jesus and don’t rely on the fickle promises of this broken world and all its feelings.
“And hope, properly placed, is the one thing the devil can’t take.”Page 84, The Gospel According to Satan, Jared C. Wilson
Hope in God is a calling to hold fast to what lies beyond this life and forces us to look beyond what we see here. Jared Wilson paraphrases Job 14:13-14 beautifully as “My hope is that I know this will be worth it.”
Wilson challenges us to ask ourselves what would make this struggle worth it? We believe God is sovereign and therefore he has allowed this trial. Do we believe he means it for good? We also read a paraphrase of Job 14:14 “If I could know I’m going to come back to life – that this isn’t all there is – I will endure this struggle till that day comes. If that’s what it takes, Lord I will do it.” (p.86)
“Hope defies what is seen, and hope demands what is unseen”Page 86, The Gospel According to Satan, Jared C. Wilson
Jesus Christ loves us so much that he died for us so that all hope will not be lost. His love ensures that his death is our death and his resurrection ensures our resurrection.
Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.Colossians 3:2-4
If we turn our back on this hope and focus on what is seen, we essentially turn our back on Jesus Christ and we make the decision not to see him later.
This hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with love.Romans 5:5
To be a Christian is to understand that we are sinful creatures and that Jesus died to take on the punishment for our sins. Most importantly following Christ means having the assurance that the most important thing about our eternal destiny is already settled. The price has been paid and if we believe this with our whole being and grasp the importance of this sacrifice there will be a change in us through the working of the Holy Spirit and we will see Jesus when he returns to fetch his bride.
Jared Wilson gives us another precious paraphrase of Job 19:25-27: “Lord, I don’t know what you’re doing, and I don’t know the ins and outs of your providentially orchestrating this smoking crater that is my life, but I do know this: when it’s all said and done, I will look you in the face and see into your eyes and, whether I understand or not, I will see you, and you will see me, and all will be well.” What faith to exclaim this to God. Can we say the same? To know God through his word is to believe he is who he says he is. To know his character is to trust in the promises he made. We know Jesus Christ will return to spend eternity with us in a new creation. He promised.
We know this will all be worth it.
But hope that defies what is seen, hope that demands what is unseen will deliver on what has been promised.Page 94, The Gospel According to Satan, Jared C. Wilson
What you feel is not reality. What is real is the One we hope for.
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to any of the books studied by Nettie’s Book Club. I am not profiting from the sale of these books. I will carefully select books that have had a significant impact on my faith. My goal is simply to share the wisdom in these books with others so we can assess and apply the wisdom of these authors to grow in understanding of our faith together.