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By BARBARA LAMAN
“Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.” (Zechariah 9:12)
A prisoner of hope sounds like an oxymoron, but when I think of this verse it gives me a beautiful visual of a prison that has no walls, no ceiling or bars. It’s a prison where you can feel the heat of the sun on your face and a warm summer breeze with a promising horizon. That’s the hope we have in Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:27).
As believers, we have the one true living God, Jesus Christ, living in us which gives us eternal hope (Titus 1:2). Yes, life can get extremely difficult, complicated that leaves us feeling hopeless. I’ve been there a time or two just like you have.
The beginning of Zechariah 9:12 we see an instruction, “return to the stronghold.” The stronghold is a place of safety also referred to in scripture has a strong tower, fortress which is our Lord Jesus. The word “return” implies there was a time that people had left their stronghold which is something we can do when we allow fear, worry and doubt take over our thinking. That’s when we can be a prisoner of fear which is not a pleasant place to be.
Our thoughts are powerful. There’s a verse in Proverbs that pinpoints the importance of our thoughts: “As he thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). Many books and sermons are taught about the battlefield that occurs in our minds.
Second Corinthians 10:4-5 gives us coaching what to do with these battles: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
I’m not saying that it’s easy or that there is not a time when we need professional counseling to support us because we most certainly do and there is nothing wrong with that. When anxiety or depression exalts itself against the knowledge of God which interferes with our peace of mind and state of hope, we need to remind ourselves that we have a more powerful force living in us, Jesus Christ, who is our victory.
If you find yourself loosing hope this Christmas season or anytime for that matter, I encourage you to focus on who made all things new, Jesus! He loves you more than words can say and more than any person on earth. His love never fails. His love covers a multitude of sins, and most importantly, his love endures forever. Amen!
Barbara Laman is a children’s ministries & Celebrate Recovery leader who formerly attended Lighthouse Church of God and currently attends Glacier Valley Church of God.
Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.