HOPE is a word that is often thrown around lightly: “I hope my plane is on time,” “I hope the Patriots win the Super Bowl,” “I hope the weather warms up.” It seems we spend a lot of time hoping for things we have little or no control over and little-to-no assurance that what we hope for is actually going to happen. Praise the Lord, our relationship with God doesn’t have to – be like this.
The kind of hope the Bible talks about is very different from the one above. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for hope is defined as “confidence, security and without care (no doubt)” In the New Testament, the word for hope denotes “trust”. Doesn’t that sound much better than the kind of hope most of our culture has?
“Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around.” – Proverbs 13:13 (MSG)
I believe that much of the church today is living in the first part of Proverbs 13:13. People have hoped for something for so long without seeing it come to fruition they have become heartsick. This heartsickness manifests in many ways including getting tired of church and even avoiding God Himself. It can lead us on a path away from God and the good things He desires for us. This in turn leads to hopelessness that taints everything in our lives.
The hope of the Bible is different. It is anchored in Faith:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it men of old gained approval.” – Hebrews 11:1 (NASB)
We see from Hebrews 11 that the hope of the Bible is anchored in faith and faith is the foundation of our hope Simply put, Biblical hope is grounded in faith, it is not the kind of wishful thinking we discussed in the first part of this article, rather it represents our confidence that God is EXACTLY who He says He is, and that He will do ALL that He said He will do.
If all of this is true, then why does our lives so often seem to come up short of our hopes? Here are a few reasons:
We’re Not in Him
One of the reasons our hopes fail is that while we may think we are grounded in Biblical faith, we just simply aren’t. I’ve met many over the years who believe that just because they want something, they can demand it of God. They believe they can get anything if they just say it enough, stomp enough demons, or believe hard enough.
While God is a very good God who provides for all our needs and earnestly wants to give good gifts to His children, He is not a Genie in a bottle (book) nor is He some kind of heavenly Santa Clause. He is GOD! Jesus said,
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5 (NKJV)
If we want our lives to bear fruit, we must be connected to the vine. Apart from the vine, we can do nothing. Childish tantrums about what we want from God doesn’t move Him at all. Faith and relationship do.
We Don’t Really Believe
Sometimes our prayers/hopes remain unanswered because we don’t really believe that God can/will do it. Occasionally God will do it anyway to bolster our faith (I love those times), but other times He is waiting until our faith catches up with our desire. It is at this point that our hope has a foundation and the results can show up.
We are Confused about Faith
I believe one of the biggest reasons Christians have lost hope in their God-walk is that they don’t really understand Faith. Many people confuse faith and hope. These terms are often used interchangeably. I plan to cover this in more detail in a future blog, but for now, allow me to keep it simple. Jude 3 says that we are to “contend earnestly for the faith…”
Notice it doesn’t say we should contend “for faith,” it says we should contend for “THE faith.” THE FAITH is the sum of God’s communication and interactions with mankind. If we don’t have a reasonable understanding of who God is, what He desires for His children, and how He interacts with us, then it is easy to see how we could think we have faith while all along missing THE FAITH entirely.
We’re Not in Love
1 Corinthians 13:13 teaches that three things remain: Faith, Hope and Love. This reveals that the third sister in the Faith/Hope trinity is Love. God is all about love and always works in and through it. Some might argue that God becomes angry and even brings judgement. While this is true, even that is always done through the agency of love. Throughout the Old Testament, God uses judgement on other nations to rescue His people from slavery. He also uses it against Israel to call His people back to Himself and their first love. In Revelation, God uses judgment to free His people from distress and persecution brought on them by followers of the enemy.
When we fail to consider faith, hope or love we miss God’s method for accomplishing everything He does in the earth.
Are You Ready for a Break?
As Hebrew 11 states, a sudden good break can turn life around. I believe many of you are experiencing that break today through these principles on how to have a Biblical Hope. Get ready to see the hope that you thought was long lost suddenly revive and be fulfilled.
If this message has an impact on your life, will you please let me know? I love hearing how God is working and moving in your life.