May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
He IS the God of our hope. Matthew Henry said: “He is the foundation on which our hope is built, and He is the builder that doth Himself raise it: He is both the object of our hope, and the Author of it.” (Matthew Henry commentary, my caps)
As an educator, I, along with my peers, was trained to “begin with the end in mind.” If we had a clear picture of what was the specific outcome we had –the hope, the goal– for a student or class or the whole school, we could then start there and work backward to plan for all the incremental steps to encourage success. This deliberate focus on what we wanted the end result to be kept our path (mostly) straight, and helped us discern when to jettison previous practices and become masters at new ones. It encouraged focus that would not be shattered by any of the challenges we faced daily.
As people of faith, we are called to a similar practice. We are called to begin our spiritual lives, even each day, each task, each moment, with the end in mind. And what a glorious End that is!
Yesterday I was pondering Paul’s encouragement to me, and the Christians in Colossae, to deliberately set our minds and hearts on what really defines our life here on Earth. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4 NIV)
How exciting and reassuring it is to be reminded, yet again, that what we have right in front of our faces is NOT the endgame! Our circumstances, world events, family drama, and political shenanigans don’t define our living. We have Life outside of these things. Look at the sweetness and richness of these verses. It is Christ, who is our life! Thank goodness, for His Goodness, and for this truth. He is far more dependable and appealing than anything else. How glorious the promises are that He is with us now and preparing a place for us in His presence in Heaven! (My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? John 14:2 NIV)
The apostle Peter was so convinced and excited about this, that once he dispensed with the required formal introduction to open his letter to the Christians scattered in Roman provinces, he got straight to the heart of the matter: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5 NIV) I can envision Peter shouting this out to Silvanus his scribe, and to God Himself, as he dictated this passionate encouragement! Imagine their faces. (I see grins from ear to ear, and lots of joyful embracing and backslapping!) Times were tough for those sweet brethren of ours. They, too, lived in a pagan and hostile society. But God, through Peter, wants to remind us of the peace and joy there is in Him.
What other Bible truths have given you HOPE today?
Our Greek word for today is ELPIS (el-pece’). HOPE. Expectation. Interestingly enough, that word can be used to mean both expectation of evil or fear, and in the Christian sense, joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation.
Take your inner emotional/spiritual temperature sometime today. Which one is it for you--expectation of evil or fear, or joyful and confident expectation in your salvation? If it was fear or evil, and you overcame it, what deliberate action did the Spirit lead you to take, to be victorious in that moment? (Please share. We have a lot to learn from you!) If you are struggling with this, how can we pray for you?
What do you think God is saying to you, specifically, in these verses?: 1 Peter 1:7-9
As always, be blessed today, Dear Ones.