Devotions this week based on the Message: “Hope Comes with Victory!”.
The statistics aren’t great. The numbers say we’re losing.
So is it true?
Pew Research reports in 2019, 65% of American adults describe themselves as Christians when asked about their religion, down 12 percentage points over the past decade. Meanwhile, the religiously unaffiliated share of the population, consisting of people who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26%, up from 17% in 2009.
Both Protestantism and Catholicism are experiencing losses of population share. Currently, 43% of U.S. adults identify with Protestantism, down from 51% in 2009. And one-in-five adults (20%) are Catholic, down from 23% in 2009. Meanwhile, all subsets of the religiously unaffiliated population – a group also known as religious “nones” – have seen their numbers swell. Self-described atheists now account for 4% of U.S. adults, up modestly but significantly from 2% in 2009; agnostics make up 5% of U.S. adults, up from 3% a decade ago; and 17% of Americans now describe their religion as “nothing in particular,” up from 12% in 2009. Members of non-Christian religions also have grown modestly as a share of the adult population.
Unless you’re lowering your golf score or competing on the “The Biggest Loser”, numbers like this don’t say “YOU’RE WINNING”!
It can feel personally or collectively as Christians that we are on a losing team…if we focus purely on numbers. Don’t get me wrong, the numbers are concerning…not because it doesn’t look good for Christianity, but because it doesn’t bode well for a person’s soul.
Satan is deceiving people to think that “winning at life” is done better apart from Christ than with him. Satan has infiltrated churches to move the message off of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus to being cultural saviors and social justice warriors.
The numbers don’t indicate that those connected to Christ are losing. They indicate more people are losing out on a connection to Christ and the grace of salvation he gives.
This is what concerns me.
I am convinced Jesus provides the ultimate victory. If he was still in the grave…I wouldn’t be convinced. If he were still on this earth…I wouldn’t be convinced. But the fact remains he ROSE from the dead and ASCENDED into heaven. NO ONE has ever won the battle over death on their own…Jesus did. NO ONE has ever ascended into heaven on their own…Jesus did. Why? Because the mission he came to do was complete. He won the battle over sin, death and the devil. He ascended to heaven and sits in the position of power, the right hand of God, above ALL other powers in heaven and on earth.
Satan loves to discount, discredit, and deceive hearts away from Christ. But hope is found where there is victory. And true and eternal victory is ONLY found with Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
This week we’ll expand on some of the seven aspects of a winning team (LISTEN to this week’s sermon for the full list).
Apply: God has placed me on his winning team. Who in my circle of interaction is missing out on the hope this victory gives? Ask the Lord for an opportunity to discuss and share the hope and victory Jesus gives…then be ready when he provides that opportunity!
Prayer: Lord Jesus thank you for winning the ultimate victory over sin, death and the devil. Use me Lord to bring this message of hope and victory to someone else this week! AMEN.