What is hope? And why are so many wanting it so badly these days? I hear the words often—from Christians… “I just need hope!” This not only surprises me, but it concerns me. It has convinced me that hope among Christians is misplaced. That is the purpose for writing this message today.
The Cambridge Dictionary explains that hope is when one “…want(s) something to happen or to be true.” Hope is commonly used to mean a wish or something strongly wanted. Its strength is based upon the strength of the person’s desire. But this type of hope is referring to the world’s hope.
In the Bible, hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised, and its strength is in His faithfulness, not our level of desire. So, we must ask ourselves… are we looking for hope in this world? For circumstances to be more pleasant and favorable? Or is our hope placed in our faith in Jesus Christ and His eternal plan?
There is nothing wrong with wanting things to get better in our lives here on earth. But overriding that desire, MUST be a confidence and a submission to God’s plan, and our highest hope in our spiritual future in His kingdom. If that type of spiritual hope is in place, then whatever happens in this world will not unsettle us.
The Bible tells us that things will become very difficult in the last days. We cannot wish that away. Judgement must come to the world for its evil and sinful ways. It appears that we are living in that time now. When we read the Bible about where the world goes from here, we realize that our hope must be placed elsewhere if we want to have peace in our lives.
The Old Testament verb translated “hope” is qawa while the noun from the same root is tiqwa. Both mean to “trust and wait expectantly.”
The early Church leaders taught about the importance of hope as a Christian. And about the difference between placing trust and hope in this fallen world and the men in it, versus putting our trust and hope in God and His care for our lives—both now and for eternity—in spite of difficulty.
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 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” (Romans 5:3-5).
What is so important about Christian hope? If our future is not secured and satisfied by God then we are going to be excessively anxious. This results either in paralyzing fear or in self-managed, greedy control. We end up thinking about ourselves, our future, and our problems, instead of being in peace because we know Who holds today, tomorrow and our future.
The New Testament uses the verb elpizo and the noun elpis to relay its message of hope. The difference is that in the New Testament, hope is no longer a mere part of speech. Hope is invested in and focused on someone—the person of Jesus Christ.
Hope is also often translated as trust. The original Greek word conveys both a strong desire (hope) and a confidence (trust) in the object of focus.
Consider the words of 1 Timothy 4:10, “For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust (elpizo) in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.”
Biblical hope is not vain or fanciful thinking. Instead, hope rests in the sure, confident expectation that God—who sent Christ to earth to pay the penalty for sin—will meet all our needs both in the present and for all eternity. But we must let go of superficial thinking and replace it with being spiritually minded (Romans 8:6-11).
I encourage you to shift more of your hope onto the One who cannot fail you… the One who has prepared a future for those who put their trust in Him (Jeremiah 29:11)
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” 1 John 2:15-17.
With God, nothing is impossible!
Dale and Paula Black
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