Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Faith and Misery

“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”

1 Corinthians 15:19
 

What does the word “misery” actually mean? In German, the noun “Elend” (“misery” in English), initially referred to a country besides one's own home, a place of banishment, later described as the condition of those who lived there. Hence the meaning today, namely a state of poverty, helplessness and lawlessness. That was the exact condition of the Israelites who lived in slavery in Egypt. God saw their misery (Exodus 3:7). The “sighing” of God's entire nation, which can be described as being totally unhappy and extremely depressed – inwardly and outwardly filled with misery. Accordingly, they also uttered a “great cry” (chapter 2:23) which ultimately triggered God's action. If one is very disappointed, one can also speak of being miserable, as was King David when his own son sought his life (2 Samuel 16:11-12). Misery is sheer despondency and despair. Only Christians who reduce their entire hope and confidence on this earthly life, experience an intensification of misery! This is a very hard and clear statement, which “leaves nothing to be desired” in relation to its consequential, bitter irony. Obviously it was extremely important to Paul to earnestly speak of this. There was a group of believers, called the Sadducees, who neither believed in angels, nor spirits, nor the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:8). It was quasi a belief, which ended at the deathbed.

To believe in Jesus, yet simultaneously dismiss His and our resurrection, is a rather simple-minded and senseless deadwood belief. Utterly worthless. Then all hope, preaching, writing, reading, praying and faith would be in vain (1 Corinthians 15:14). Without the resurrection, our sins would not be forgiven and would continue to burden us. As a Christian, the world is not a place which one should love. Because it will perish, together with its unrighteousness and evil (1 John 2:15-17). Whoever believes that with death, everything comes to an end, inevitably befriends the world, otherwise life is totally void of meaning. But, even that does not always work for everyone, because life on earth is mostly unfair, cold, complicated, self-centred, greedy, evil and godless. That there are even believers who perceive their salvation as something to be found in the world, is really pathetic and miserable. Friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4). We are living as Christians in the world and should arrange our lives around the circumstances, however, in our hearts heaven should be our home. Our goal is to go there after our resurrection. That is our hope and joy. Eternity has been placed within our hearts. Anyone who, as a person who believes in God, ignores or denies this, is in a more adverse situation than unbelievers. Because that which applies to them is: Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die (Isaiah 22:13)! How do we live? As if there is no eternity and our success on earth is the ultimate? That is not God's will. Thus, we should not forget to also lay up treasures for heaven (Matthew 6:20-21) and to “see outside the box” in our every lives. It is worth it!

(Translated by Linda Gates)

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Zur deutschen Originalversion: Glaube und Elend


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