Abound in Hope

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. –Romans 15:13

Hope is something we all desire in life.  Hope is what Christians have that the world so desperately needs.  So what is hope?  According to the dictionary, hope is simply faith directed toward the future.  It is faith, trust and confidence.  Genuine hope is not wishful thinking, but a firm assurance about things that are unseen and still in the future.  Our hope is in Christ.

We as Christians are different from the world because we have hope.  Our hope comes from God.  He is our source of hope that fills us completely with joy and peace as we continue to trust Him in our daily walk.  He calls us into this hope.  We are called to be His children, to follow Him and to walk in assurance that He is with us continuously.  We have hope in His grace.  His grace saved us and set us free from the bondages of sin.  We have hope in His Word.  His Word is powerful, it is truth, it is healing, it is what we follow and try to live out in our daily lives.  We also have hope in His Gospel.  His Gospel is peace, salvation, joy, and filled with love and compassion.  Jesus is our hope!

The objects of our hope are eternal life, salvation, righteousness, the glory of God, the appearing of Christ and the resurrection from the dead.  We believe that we are saved by grace and all those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and have given their lives to Him will indeed have eternal life.  Our physical being is temporary but our souls are eternal.  We believe in salvation, God has saved us from the depths of sin and in many cases He has saved us from ourselves.  Because of salvation, we have become heirs of the King, we are His chosen people called out of darkness into the everlasting light.  We are considered righteous because the blood of Jesus has washed our sins away.  We are victorious over the enemy by the power of the Holy Spirit living within us and helping us in our walk with the Lord.  We believe that Christ will return in the clouds and He will take us home to be with Him.  Those who have died before us, who have believed, will rise from the dead and join Christ in the great return.  What a joy we have to look forward to.

Before we meet Christ in the air, we have a hope to see His glory.  His glory is around us, present within us, and fills us to overflowing.  The passage we read earlier talks about this hope that we have in experiencing God’s glory.  Paul tells us that we are to boast about the hope we have and to even boast in our present troubles because in a roundabout way, it leads us back to the same hope that have been justified by faith and we have peace with God through Christ.  We don’t have a false hope, because God’s love for us has been poured out in us by the Holy Spirit.  Let’s have a look at Colossians 1:24-27.  “24 Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Paul suffered many afflictions but he couldn’t compare the hardships and afflictions he went through to the sufferings Christ went through.  He spoke of service and that as a servant of Christ, it is an honour to suffer for Him.  Affliction means distress, trouble, pressure and trials in life.  Paul suffered in his flesh, bodily sufferings.   However, affliction does not mean the pains of death.

Paul encourages us to boast in Christ despite all that is going on around us.  He says that we should be grateful for the afflictions and sufferings as it produces patience.  Most of us want patience, but we want it right now.  We don’t want to have to suffer in order to learn patience.  Patience means having a calm temper which suffers without murmuring or complaining.  That patience leads to character or experience.  In our experiences we go through trials and testing to ascertain if our faith is genuine.  Afflictions and sufferings are sent for this purpose.  Patience in the midst of the difficulties comes from God.  This patience and perseverance builds our character and that character becomes Christlike.  From the character growing, we discover hope.  Trials and afflictions produce hope.  Christ is genuine- He will help us to direct our mind on Him which is better than the things going on.  Christ never deceives us. We may become disappointed because we wish God will take away the afflictions.  However, let us not be discouraged, because God is at work within us and He will never leave us nor forsake us.

I have come to the conclusion in my own heart that I have been selfish for desiring God to take away all the pains in my life.  If I didn’t go through the difficult times, I would not experience Him in the way He desires me to.  Yes, it would be nice sometimes to be free from suffering, however, as Paul said, our sufferings do not even come close to what Jesus went through.  God is with us through the difficult times.  However, we must cling on to Jesus, find out what He wants us to learn.  Perseverance, character, and hope, these are virtues of the kingdom.   Remember we have hope in Christ.  He is with us all the way, He will carry and guide us.  Hope does not disappoint for God’s abundant, over-flowing love of God is given to us.  “May God, the source of hope, fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

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