Have you ever wished it was easier to share your faith? Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to muster the courage to approach someone? Wouldn’t it be great if people just walked up to you to ask about what makes you different or what happened that changed your life so much?
Actually, the Bible says that’s exactly what we should expect. People should be asking us to explain why we have so much hope. But no one is asking. Perhaps it’s because we are living hopeless lives. John Eldredge, in his book, The Journey of Desire: Searching for the Life We Always Dreamed of, explains why.
A curious warning is given to us in Peter’s first epistle. There he tells us to be ready to give the reason for the hope that lies within us to everyone who asks (3:15). Now, what’s strange about that passage is this: no one ever asks. When was the last time someone stopped you to inquire about the reason for the hope that lies within you? You’re at the market, say, in the frozen food section. A friend you haven’t seen for some times comes up to you, grasps you by both shoulders, and pleads, “Please, you’ve got to tell me. Be honest now. How can you live with such hope? Where does it come from? I must know the reason.” In talking with hundreds of Christians, I’ve met only one or two who have experienced something like this.
Yet God tells us to be ready, so what’s wrong? To be blunt, nothing about our lives is worth asking about. There’s nothing intriguing about our hopes, nothing to make anyone curious. Not that we don’t have hopes; we do. We hope we’ll have enough after taxes this year to take a summer vacation. We hope our kids don’t wreck the car. We hope our favorite team goes to the World Series. We hope our health doesn’t give out, and so on. Nothing wrong with any of these hopes; nothing unusual, either. Everyone has hopes like that, so why bother asking us? It’s life as usual. Sanctified resignation has become the new abiding place of contemporary Christians. No wonder nobody asks. Do you want the life of any Christians you know?
Having abandoned desire, we have lost hope. C.S. Lewis summed it up: “We can only hope for what we desire.” No desire, no hope. Now, desire doesn’t always translate into hope. There are many things I desire that I have little hope for. I desire to have lots more money than I do, but I see little reason to think it will come. But there isn’t one thing I hope for that I don’t also desire. This is Lewis’s point. Bland assurances of the sweet by-and-by don’t inflame the soul. Our hopes are deeply tied to our real desires, and so killing desire has meant a hopeless life for too many. It’s as if we’ve already entered Dante’s Inferno, where the sign over hell reads, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.”
The effect has been disastrous, not only for individual Christians, but also for the message of the gospel as a whole. People aren’t exactly ripping the roofs off churches to get inside. We see the enemy’s ploy: drain all the life and beauty and adventure away from the gospel, bury Christians in duty and nobody will want to take a closer look. It’s so very unappealing.
–John Eldredge, The Journey of Desire, page 64.
What we really need is to surrender fully to Christ until our lives are absolutely transformed. There should be a visible, incredible difference between those who belong to Christ and those who don’t. When your face glows with the glory of God, when your life is characterized by inconceivably loving actions, then people will take notice. Then we might experience what it is like to have others inquire about our faith.
Close your eyes. Imagine what your life could look like if you lived in the hope of Christ and people wanted to know what you have that they don’t have. Now pray that God would show you how to surrender your life so He can live His life through you.
Have you seen someone who practically glowed of Christ? Describe what that person was like.
The Journey of Desire is available from Amazon for Kindle or from Christianbook.com in ePub.
|The Journey of Desire: Searching for the Life We Always Dreamed of – eBookBy John Eldredge / Thomas NelsonIn The Journey of Desire, John Eldridge writes, “We all share the same dilemma – we long for life and we’re not sure where to find it. Our days come to us as a riddle, and the answers aren’t handed out with our birth certificates. We must journey to find the life we prize. In this follow-up book to The Sacred Romance, Eldridge invites you to rediscover your God-given desire and to search again for the life you once dreamed of.|
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