At times of discouragement in my life, I felt it harder and harder just to keep going. One awful day I remember so well, all I could do was put one foot ahead of another while I put the garbage out. At its worst, discouragement will lead you into paralysis. You can’t even make a decision or do the most basic things. Why? Because you have lost hope. There just doesn’t seem to be any point to doing anything. Hope is so incredibly important. Hope alone breaks the power of discouragement and the paralysis that comes with it, revives your strength and makes you bold instead of powerless.
On one level, hope is a gift that a friend can give us. “Come on Dave, you can do that!” Maybe, just because somebody cheered you on, you actually went on that perpendicular rollercoaster at the theme park (though that’s definitely out of my league). Or maybe one chilly night last autumn you jumped into the freezing North Sea just because a crazy friend said you could do it (that one I actually did).
But on a far more profound level, hope is something that we desperately need in order to live. Hope is the dividing line between surviving and living. Hope is not a luxury, it is a necessity. The good news is this: hope is available to us. Listen to what Paul says: “Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face” (2 Corinthians 3:12). The hope he talks about here is not something that has to be or can be created in our mind or emotions. No, this hope is totally supernatural and it comes as a gift. It is based entirely on the power of the Holy Spirit: “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is destroyed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:16-17).
The veil is what came between the glory of the Lord and the people of Israel. That veil is still over the face of people who are so full of religion they cannot see who Jesus is. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, Jew or Gentile, male or female, young or old, the veil is not only removed, it is destroyed! God wants to destroy everything that comes between you and his glory. What is his glory? It is his manifest presence in your life. It is his Spirit coming to you and breathing supernatural life into your weary spirit. The old hymn puts it in the form of a prayer: “Breathe on me, breath of God, fill me with life anew.”
Religion brings slavery, but the Holy Spirit brings freedom. This is freedom to enter into the very presence of God. It is freedom from the need to earn our salvation. It is freedom from the penalty of the law that brings death. It is freedom from the stranglehold of sin. It is freedom to behold the glory of God without interruption, without the veil of religion in between. What amazing kind of freedom is that? But how often do we take advantage of it?
The breath of God rushing on you will break your paralysis. It will give you power to live and not just survive, to do things you never believed you could do. The power of the Spirit is designed to transform us into a bold people, ready to go out to war in the confidence that God is with us!
There are no extraordinary people in the kingdom of God, only ordinary people touched by hope through the power of God’s Spirit.
“Since we have such a hope, we are very bold.”
May this boldness and this hope come to you today.