Hope: a vital ingredient.
Hope has been an important word for me this year. It is a word that we use very casually, and it seems to carry far less assurance than it should contain. We seem to use the word to imply 'maybe' or 'maybe ...not'. For example, I hope it rains tomorrow; meaning it may or may not rain tomorrow, but I would like it to rain, though I have no way of determining if it will. We really are not sure and are not standing on anything.
In the Bible, hope is a word that carries full assurance because of what it is standing on. My favourite definition describes 'hope' as a joyful and confident expectation of good things to come! Amen!
Proverbs 13:12, describes the importance of hope. When it is deferred, our hearts become sick and when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life. What a contrast. Hope deferred implies, being let down terribly, great disappointment, great despair, loss of goals or dreams. So much happening around us today speaks of this dispair. We have the choice to succumb to the 'let down', which can lead to depression in extreme cases, or can cause us to "lift our eyes to the hills from where our help comes" Psalm 121:1.
So much is going on in the world that it's becoming obvious that man does not have all the answers. So many are going through very challenging times in our nation. The world's economy, coupled with our internal issues has made life extremely difficult for so many. Foundations are shaking, and people are looking to their right and left for help or comfort. Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:3-7 spoke about our God who brings comfort in all situations. Our hope has therefore got to be in the God-head and definitely not in man.
But we may ask, how do we achieve this?
The following 3 D's describe what the God-head, ( God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit ) have put in place for us all, and how we can STAND on 'hope'. I am reminded here of a Nigerian slang, 'No Shaking' which refers to the confident stance needed.
DELIVER: Father God chose to
us from satan's kingdom of darkness, danger and destruction and transfer us into His Kingdom of light. He desires that we press into understanding how to operate in His kingdom, get to know the currency (faith), give seeking this King priority and watch God add everything else to us (Matthew 6:33). God's Kingdom has a manual which we need to become conversant with if we want to succeed and benefit fully. It is called the Bible. If you buy a new car, you will need to read the manual to understand how things work so that you enjoy the full use of the car. We need to read the Word of God. There is no alternative to this. The devil reads it and challenges us using the Word. We will have nothing to enforce our position if we don't read the Word. Jesus used the Word to counter satan's temptations, and we need to do the same. What would happen if a police man did not know the law? He would be totally ineffective at using his authority in his job.
DRAW: As we give ourselves over to seeking Him and His righteousness, Jesus Christ then is able to
us into intimacy in Himself. The Bible always tells of Jesus drawing or calling people to Himself. Jesus always took the disciples away to be with Him. To get to encounter Jesus we have to let Him draw us unto Himself. Colossians 1:26-27 tell us that as we encounter Christ within us, this is our Hope of glory. The glory of God is His manifested excellence and goodness. As we submit to this unconditional and extravagant love, our hearts engage with His, we spend time in His Presence and we then believe and press in for the more that He has promised us.
DEMONSTRATION: The Holy Spirit is our Helper and helps us to show forth or
who we are and whose we are. God's Spirit testifies with ours that we are blood-bought and adopted into His family (Romans 8:14-18 ). We are also heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, willing to share His suffering if we want to share His glory (1 Peter 4:13). His suffering here, I hasten to add, does not include disease as Christ paid for that on the cross (Isaiah 53:4-5). God's Spirit in us leads us to exchange our fleshy desires for His desires. He empowers and enables us so we can obey His will and thus show forth that we are sons and daughters of the King. As sons and daughters, we are emboldened for we know we serve the God who laid the foundations of the earth and shut up the sea with doors when it broke forth. (Job 38:4-8). We know there is no contest between the devil and God. The Lord placed him under our feet.
With the help of the Holy Spirit, we enforce the victory that was won for us and if we allow ourselves to be delivered by Father God and then drawn unto Himself by Jesus, we can then, with the help of the Holy Spirit, demonstrate fully, the Hope of glory on which we stand. Creation has been waiting for out manifestation as God's sons and daughters. This is what will attract the world as they see His glory in our lives and come to inquire about the source of our hope. We will find that we become part of the solution to rescue others who are in hopeless situations as we co-labour with the God-head.
All this ties in with Romans 8:28 which says that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purposes. We can therefore stand on this 'Hope' for the joyful and confident expectation of good is assured.
May the Lord help us to take hold of the Hope that He has made available for us for a time such as this.
God bless you,