Feeling defeated? Don't lose hope!

Have you been wrestling long and hard over some obstinate character trait? Maybe a quick temper, or sensuality, or unnatural compulsive behavior? Or perhaps the trouble is overeating, or alcohol, or drug addiction. When you've constantly stumbled and fallen, despite your best intentions - even your prayers - the struggle can seem futile.

But don't lose hope! The good in you and me that is resisting evil can't be forever denied or crushed out. However much evil thoughts and feelings would seem to overwhelm the good in us, this good is finally going to win out, whatever it takes. In fact, this is inevitable.

Why? Because good, not evil, is everlasting. Good is from God, and God is eternal. Hence the good in our hearts is forever and is simply going to outlive - yes, and actually destroy - the evil that now may assail us.

We have to trust this, especially when discouragement over repeated failures weighs heavily on our hearts. The fact that we feel bad when we do wrong is proof that something utterly good in us is condemning the sin. This something is the Christ, the spirit of God that ''taketh away the sin of the world'' n1 and that will assuredly take away our own sins.

n1 John 1:29.

As we begin to understand and identify this good in us as the eternal Christ, the power of God expressed so fully by Jesus, we gain fresh courage and spiritual energy to overcome evil. We see that the power to resist evil and do good does not come from us but from God. And nothing can withstand His power. What comfort and inspiration to know that even before we may have realized there is a God, He has already claimed our lives with His love and Christ.

This ''Christ in you,'' to use the Apostle Paul's term, is ''the hope of glory.'' n2 It's our sure hope of salvation from the very sin - and every sin - that we may now seem so enslaved to.

n2 Colossians 1:27.

This was proved in the life of a man who had wandered far from the religious training of his youth. Deep-rooted sensuality had repeatedly thrown him into the pit of carnal living, with all its attendant heartache and suffering. But through God's grace, he unexpectedly discovered ''the hope of glory,'' though humanly still lost in the deep byways of sin.

Somehow, a part of him had never stopped wanting to be good, had never stopped praying, had never stopped condemning the sin he willfully indulged. Though he did not know it then, this was evidence of the Christ in him. A turning point came when, in the depths of despair and suffering, he read this passage in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy: ''Evil which obtains in the bodily senses, but which the heart condemns, has no foundation; but if evil is uncondemned, it is undenied and nurtured.'' n3

n3 Science and Health, p. 448.

What hope these words by the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science gave this man! The very evil that seemed so real and powerful, but which his deepest being condemned, had no foundation. He began to learn, through study of the Bible and Science and Health, that the reason evil has no foundation in man's being is that man's real selfhood is not sinful and material at all. It's pure and spiritual, the image of divine Spirit itself. And best of all, he could prove it to be spiritual.

This unquenchable hope in him was the very power of God, leading him back home to the Father. The transformation did not take place overnight - it took many years of struggle and heartfelt prayer - but this man's whole life was turned around. And today he finds ''the substance of things hoped for'' n4 quietly appearing in his life in proportion to his fidelity to the ''hope of glory'' in him.

n4 Hebrews 11:1.

If you're honestly struggling with sin and self, take heart! Your hope of deliverance is at hand. God's grace has already touched you. His goodness within you cannot be denied. The good in you - in fact, in everyone - must and will win out. This is God's message of hope, our hope of glory. DAILY BIBLE VERSE It is good that man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:26

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