Faith would have no confidence or assurance… without hope.
Patience would have no purpose…without hope.
Love would be conditional, controlled and measured…without hope.
Let’s face it.
Life would be utterly miserable…without hope.
When hope is lost or abandoned, our heart and soul are imprisoned and shackled inside a dark, despairing, and indescribably wretched existence.
Hope is a tremendous gift – and especially meaningful to the Christ follower who embraces it.
In fact, hope is one of the most significant gifts of mercy that our God offers us in life. Hope is a past, present, and future heart and mind expression. It is more than a mere wish or fancy. For in hope, we have counted upon and received the grace and the goodness of God in our lives. For in hope, we are trusting and receiving great measures of His care and attention – even as we wait for some object or fulfillment. For in hope, we look ahead with joy and confidence when our spiritual transformation in Jesus Christ will be complete when His Kingdom is fulfilled in both heaven and on earth.
Hope is a universal blessing that everyone needs.
For in this hope, we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
New International Version, Romans 8: 24-25
Our salvation in Jesus Christ is attained through the gift of hope. Hope is our authoritative and legitimate claim – our joyful confident expectation of future good – grounded and supported in faith.
Hope is our redemptive prerequisite. Without hope, there is no salvation in Jesus Christ.
Do you believe that?
Friend, may I ask a few questions?
Are you a follower of Jesus Christ?
Do you claim Him as your Lord and Savior?
If yes, are you a living expression of His hope?
And if not, do you see followers of Christ as people of hope?
The greatest manifestation of this immeasurable gift of hope is observed when we are kept, preserved and sustained in the midst of life’s challenges and trials. I cannot tell you how many, many, many times someone has been encouraged in life and faith because of their observations of another who is choosing to stay close to Jesus Christ and remain hopeful and confident in His goodness and care despite their unimaginable difficulties.
Hope in the struggle inspires confidence and faith.
Honestly, though, how many of us are living into this expression of hope as Christ followers?
Because, in all truth, it’s been difficult at times for me to distinguish who is a Christ follower and who is not by what is said, what is acted, what is written, and what is posted in recent years. Instead of speaking and acting like a hope-filled, joyous, and confident people of faith – looking ahead to Christ’s glorious return and His Kingdom to come – many are shackled and imprisoned to fear. Political differences, economical concerns, job inconsistencies, relationship challenges, fears of the future, unfulfilled dreams, and more plague the heart, mind and soul of many who profess Christ as Lord. Instead of looking to Christ, hoping in Him and His care and guidance, many Believers are trapped in a dark, paralyzing existence and are exhibiting a significant amount of lack of faith, lack of love, and lack of hope. (note: I am not talking about those who are struggling with depression or who have a diagnosed anxiety disorder – I’m talking about Believers who profess a confident faith, but live without hope for today and for the future.)
In fact, it’s difficult for me to understand this juxtaposition.
How can a person of faith be a person without hope?
For me, my hope is centered upon a future glory – not today’s agony, today’s challenges, today’s disappointment or today’s pain. And believe me, I’ve experienced them all! I imagine you have too. None of our challenges, disappointments, agonies, or pain lasted, did they? Every difficulty eventually ended. Sure. More challenges have come. And I understand that more difficulties will occur in my life – this life on earth is no picnic.
However, I refuse to be shackled to something – anything – that offers no encouragement or joy or hope.
I am a Christ follower.
Because of this truth and identity in Jesus Christ, I am a person of hope – and I choose to act like it. If I do not, what is the value and currency of my faith and my hope?
What will people observe?
It makes a difference to a watching world which judges us as hopeless – by our words and actions.
Do they see Christ followers as a people of hope? Like an attractive and heartening beacon shining others towards Christ and His love?
Or one without hope – wallowing in despair and chained to fear?
Friends, in my mind, our behavior has eternal ramifications – let’s get our act and our speech and our way of life together!
Let’s really be a living expression of hope!