Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Believer's Hope

We are living in a time when the hope of many a soul is perceptibly dwindling with each passing day. Those things in which they placed their hopes are failing the masses, and what was once an optimistic outlook on the future, becomes a seething desperation as they see the foreboding clouds gathering on the horizon. Their circumstances dictate the level of their joy or sorrow, and when things begin to turn sour, their hope begins to evaporate like a foggy mist in the midmorning sun.
I’ve known people who seemed the happiest and most well adjusted souls on the planet, walking about as though they were floating on air one day, and because their investment did not pan out, or they lost some money in the stock market immediately deflated, not coming back to center, but going to the extreme of hopelessness.
I believe the key lies in the consistency and the character of our hope, what our hope is placed upon, and what fuels it.
The Word tells us with great regularity that we are not to act as the world, and even more important react as the world does. When we see hard times, when we see trials and tribulations beginning to unfold, the Bible tells us we are not to be troubled, but remain steadfast in the hope we have in Jesus.
So what are the attributes of the believer’s hope that sets it apart from the general hope of the world? What are those things that make are hope unique, lasting, and constant?
First, the believer’s hope is steadfast. Being steadfast is defined as being fixed in direction, firm in purpose, resolute, firmly established, and unwavering. The believer has an unshakeable faith, a faith that cannot be affected by circumstance.
2 Corinthians 1:7 “And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.”
Our hope is not tethered to some earthly thing, to some possession, or even some person, which are all passing and temporal. Our hope is tethered and anchored in the eternal Creator, and His Son Jesus who showed His love toward mankind when He hung upon a cross.
Hebrews 6:19-20, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
The second attribute of the believer’s hope that sets it apart, and that makes it unique, is that our hope is full. We do not possess a partial hope, but have a full assurance of our hope in Christ. When our hope is anchored in Christ, we never have to ask ‘what if’ as so many are doing today. They wonder, and are overcome with worry thinking what if they lose their job, what if they lose their health, what if they lose their retirement account. Our hope in Christ is full and certain; it is assured, and as such we do not question or doubt it.
Hebrews 6:11-12, “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promise.”
Besides being steadfast and full, the believer’s hope is also a living hope. We do not possess a dead hope, nor do we place our hope in dead things, but we have a living hope in a living Savior. The resurrection of Christ from the dead, makes our hope a living hope, which is looking ever forward toward the prize of the incorruptible inheritance, that does not fade away, which is reserved in heaven for us.
Those who possess a hope that is only in this life, a hope that is anchored in the now, contingent on what the eyes can see, and what the hands can touch, possess a dead hope, a hope that cannot carry them through the dark days or the difficult times.
1 Peter 1:3-5, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
It was because they possessed a living hope that the martyrs of old were able to stand and proclaim Christ in the face of death. Consider, that it was not a threat to take away their possessions, or fine them, or even throw them in prison; these saints were brought into the coliseums, shown the wild animals that would tear at their flesh, and then told they would be released if only they denied Christ. Only a living hope can keep you in the face of such a death, only a living hope can sustain you.
A believer’s hope is the only hope that will not disappoint. No matter the trial, no matter the hardship, no matter the circumstance, our hope in Christ will never disappoint.
Romans 5:5, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
If we understand the context in which this verse was penned, we begin to discover the wondrous works of our God, and how a believer’s hope is produced. It begins with tribulation, in which the Word tells us we are to glory, because tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance character. Once we have attained character, a not just any character, but approved character, or godly character, hope is made alive in us. The beauty of hope is that it is the end result of a process wherein God continually proves Himself, and His faithfulness. We have a steadfast hope, because we have seen the hand of God in our lives. We have fullness of hope because although men have regularly disappointed us, fallen short of our expectations, or otherwise turned out to be less than we envisioned, God has always exceeded our expectations, and His faithfulness is an enduring one. We have a living hope, because the object of our hope lives. Jesus is alive, and as we focus on Him, our hope will only grow. Lastly, we have a hope that does not disappoint, because even in our darkest hour, we realize God is doing a good work in us, and producing in us those necessary virtues that will serve to grow our spiritual man.
Yes, the believer’s hope is a unique hope, an authentic hope, and a lasting hope, built upon the foundation of God’s Holy Word, and His beloved Son Jesus.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea Jr.

1 comment:

Mary Lamoray said...

Wonderful and encouraging post brother... thank you so much!