If?

This week’s devotions focus on releasing our misplaced sources of hope.

Don’t you just hate it when someone does something really bad and then with the pretense of remorse says, “IF I did anything to offend anybody, I’m really sorry”? You want to scream back, “What do you mean IF? You know exactly what you did!” An IF apology is no apology at all. 

As we seek to release those things that have distracted us and become our misplaced hope, there are some things to think about.

First of all, ask God for the “want to” or the desire to get your hope firmly planted in Christ. You may have had that misplaced hope for so long that you’re almost comfortable with it – you can’t even imagine releasing that person or thing that has a strong hold on you – you never even thought of it that way. Be still with God until He gives you the desire to release it.

Next, confess to your Heavenly Father specifically what lesser things have been keeping you from the perfect hope that is yours in Christ. And don’t be like our opening example: “Father, IF I have allowed anything to be my source of hope besides you, help me let it go.” NO!! (That’s me using my outside voice.) Be specific; name the person (spouse, child, parent, friend, enemy) or the circumstance (finances, stock market, health, appearance, intelligence, home, car, success, approval, fame, talent, social media presence). If you’re not ready to be specific with God, you’re not ready to be specific in releasing the person or circumstance that you have leaned into to be the focus of your hope.

As you confess, don’t blame anyone else for your misguided hope – your upbringing, your circumstances, someone who was unkind to you. Take responsibility for what has happened. This misplaced hope is sin – and we need to confess it the same way we do any other sin. Admit to God that you have sinned in this area – and maybe didn’t even realize that it was sin.
Think about how you’ve been distracted – think about it long enough that you really are sorry that you’ve wasted your hope on the wrong things.

And now remember the wonderful promise from God’s word:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Judy Shrout

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