The Audacity to Hope

The Wednesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is a Scriptural meditation whereby I take a verse or passage I have been pondering lately and seek to edify my readers with it’s promises, encouragements, warnings, rebukes, etc.

In I John 3:1-3 we read, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”

Maybe there is something going on in your life getting you down and frustrated, causing you to question whether God knows what He is doing, worrying you about the future, etc. And you might be asking, “If I don’t possess the level of hope, what can I do to increase it? How can I harvest hope in my heart?” Let me give you three seeds that will help germinate hope in your life.

  1. Bleed out the Bible. (Bunyan) Paul says in Romans 15:4, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” The devil knows this – which is why he tempts us to entertain a number of excuses for not being in the Word. We say, “I need sleep” or “I need to spend time with my family” or “I got too many chores” or “This show will only be on tonight.” I can promise you that if you know the Lord you will not lay on your death bed and think to yourself, “I wish I had watched more TV or slept more or planted more flowers in my garden.” You want hope? Get into the Bible and see the entire narrative that builds and leads to why we are to hope.
  2. Clear your conscience. Committing or harboring sin in your heart is poison when it comes to building hope. Why? Because the sinner is always afraid to look at the face of God. He is ashamed of His sin; he wants to hide from God; he doesn’t want to be found out. The Puritan William Gurnall wrote, “All sin brings trembling fears and shakings of heart to the person who tampers with it. … Sins produce a lifeless Christian and make thoughts of God dreadful to him. … They make the man afraid to look on the God of judgment. After all, does the servant want his master to come home and find him drunk?”[1] Hope and sin are not companions.
  3. Ponder the past. Think upon God’s mercies in the past – whether they are mercies in your life or throughout church history or in the Bible. The songwriters in the Psalter are masters of remembering the past when his life circumstances seemed hopeless. On one occasion, in Psalm 77 the psalmist talks about crying out to God and moaning because of his pains and yet the one thing he clung to were “the days of old.” He remembered how faithful God has been and will continue to be.

 

I have heard that when a blood hound loses his scent, he hunts backwards to recover it and then when he finds it, he hunts his prey with an even stronger intensity. So the Christian ought to have an even stronger hope when he considers what God has always done and continues to do throughout history. He is a Sovereign God who has never lost control of His universe.

The Thessalonian church is one of the few churches that didn’t seem to be rebuked for any obvious sin. And one of their strengths was their hope in Jesus’ return. “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thess 1:2-3).

How about you? Are you in “waiting mode” for Jesus return? Do you possess the audacity to hope in God? Is your life right now in a state of the purification where you could face God with a clean conscience? Hope is not something that should frighten you; it ought to excite you about His return.

[1] The Christian in Complete Armour, Vol. 3, pg. 209

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