Devotional

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:13

Have you ever been cynical at one time or another to one degree or another? We can go seasons of life being happy and grateful and then find ourselves bitter and crotchety.  Cynicism results from circumstances in our life that explode and make us jaded. Sometimes things don’t turn out how we wanted them to or how we expected them to and suddenly cynicism has a foothold. As we work to be a new and better person in the the next decade we will most likely have to face cynicism or despair in our life. 

The cynics thought they were winning on the last Thursday of Jesus’s life. They were certain they had the final word on Friday. They were in control. They had won. Cynicism had won. The disciples seemed to think so because they went home. But nobody saw Sunday coming. Nobody saw resurrection to life. Jesus stared hate in the face and met it with love. He confronted cynicism and despair and made it abundantly clear it wouldn’t win. Of all people on earth, Christians should be the least cynical. After all, the gospel gives us the greatest reasons to hope. Our hope isn’t based on an emotion or a feeling. It lives in a living Savior who beat death itself to rescue us. 

We have hope for the future, that we will be redeemed. Hope for the present, that we are not alone, but are loved and have purpose. Hope even over the past, that our failures are not greater than God’s power to transform. When we as believers speak of hope, we don’t mean a desire that may or may not be fulfilled. No, our hope is certain. Our hope rests on the finished work of Jesus. That hope is s stronger than illness, or an unethical boss, or financial hardships. If cynicism is knocking on your door, trust God. That’s the hope found in Jesus Christ. And that, in the end, is what defeats cynicism.

Amazing things happen when the full power of the gospel gets a firm foothold in your life. That is when transformation happens. You’ll realize that tomorrow can be different from today, and you’ll affirm the promise that anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. Imagine yourself in 2029. What’s happened to you in the years between today and then? Has your heart grown? Has it hardened? Are you alive and filled with wonder? Or have you become a little more cynical?  

It’s easy to be cynical. 2019 was a tough one for many people. It’s also easy to despair. But the new year and the new decade are full of opportunities and possibilities with the possible outcome being a new you for a new decade.   

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you think makes people grow cynical?
  2. It can be so hard to trust again, to hope again and to believe again after you’ve stopped hoping, trusting and believing. How does Ephesians 1:15-20 show you that God will help you do that?