Possessing Hope in a Hopeless World (Part II)

People desire to have hope but by avoiding difficulties in life, it leads them to despair.  The book of Romans gives us insight on how hope is developed in life, which is contrary to the ways of the world.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;  and perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:1-5

The Apostle Paul, in the above passage, tells that Jesus paid the price for us to be justified and to be at peace with God. This is our starting point of having the joy of eternal hope that is rooted in our relationship to God because of what Jesus did on the cross for us.

In addition to the eternal hope of salvation because of Jesus’ sacrifice, the above passage tells us that we can also possess hope on this earth as we go through life. This hope is developed through a process. The Apostle Paul explains that tribulations are meant to produce perseverance. Perseverance is going to produce character, and finally a Godly character will bring about hope in life.

What we learn from the above passage is the opposite of what the world teaches people about life. When people are focused on instant gratification, it means they are avoiding developing perseverance and character. As a result, those characteristics don’t have the opportunity to bear the fruit of hope in life. No wonder so many people are depressed and hopeless! Our culture has programmed people to avoid suffering and perseverance to the point that they miss out on developing hope in life!

If you were to examine the life of an olympian, you will see someone who has gradually become better, faster, and more skilled in their sport. By the time we watch them on TV, the olympian’s sport is second nature to them. It looks easy and graceful, but we missed all the hours, days, months, and years of practice that brought them to this point. They are a different person because of all the years of tribulation, hard work, perseverance, and injuries that have shaped them for this moment in time. However, all those experiences have developed confidence and the hope that they can win. Their hope is not magical, but it is based on solid history and hard work that they have put into the sport.

Similarly, our hope cannot be a pie in the sky. There is spiritual work that needs to be done, and no one can do it for us. Others can cheer us on and encourage us, but we are the only ones who can respond to God by persevering and developing the patience that a Godly character requires. In the midst of this process, the Lord will encourage us through the Holy Spirit, and He will minister to us. This will allow us to gain deeper intimacy with the Lord, and it also immunizes us from being so concerned about outside voices. Our focus becomes that we want to hear His precious voice knowing that He is present, and He is very involved in our lives. This is a joyful hope that God puts in our hearts as we walk with Him.

How does the above passage speak to you? What have you tried to avoid in life that has been spiritually detrimental to you?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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