Faith, HOPE and love – part 2


This post comes in three parts. Faith. Hope. Love.

It is the central issue in Christianity. It is the key to recovery from addiction. It is THE thing to understand if you want to prosper in life.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Cor 13:13

This second post is about hope.

Hope

In Hebrews 6 Paul says that faith (that we are made righteous with God) is an elementary teaching and foundational teaching – he says he wants to move on to maturity!

Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.Hebrews 6:1-3

WOOOAH!!! Check that out. He said two things:

  1. Let us leave the the elementary teachings of repentance and faith in God, baptism
  2. and go on to maturity

If the concepts of Jesus making us holy, pure and righteous in God’s eyes (Col 1:22-23) is just foundational, elementary and immature stuff… what on earth could maturity possibly be?

Let’s read on a few sentences further to find out what maturity is!

Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.

God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. – Hebrews 6:17-19

I highlighted two sentences in that scripture.

  • the heirs of what was promised
  • take hold of the hope offered to us
  • We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure

The heirs of what? Of the promises made to Abraham.

If you haven’t read those promises, then I hope you do. There are untold and incredible riches in those promises. Blessings. Amazing stuff.

My point about hope is this: if you believe that Jesus has completely and utterly made you clean by paying for your sins on the cross… then you have been restored to God (because He cannot look on anything that has sin).

If you have this faith in Jesus, then a great doorway into the Holy of Holies has been opened to you. You can go in. It will happen throughout your life. You will come into His Kingdom. He will bring you in.

If you are recovering from an addiction or from worse, perhaps SRA or any kind of occult involvement, making your faith complete (by finding out what Jesus Christ did for you and accepting that He did it for you PERSONALLY) will set you on the road to spiritual release.

But then take it further. Now have hope for God to reach into your life and restore you. He did it for me. He is good and faithful to do it for you. Have hope. Be confident that He will do it for you.

Hope is what will cause you to make positive decisions. Hope will give you a reason to get up in the morning. Hope is what causes us to smile at a blue sky. Hope helps us say “I can!” even if we couldn’t before.

If you believe that Jesus has set you free, then the spiritual forces that bind you will no longer have a right to be there. Your sins are paid for. They have no legal rights.

Now, we need a reality check. The process of removing those forces takes a while, because in God’s mercy He knows that removing them can be difficult and downright tiring sometimes. He does it bit by bit. Bu8t have hope… He does do it. As you get stronger, perhaps He will have you assist Him in doing it. (If you’re called to warfare, He DEFINITELY will have you do it – so you can learn from it.)

In His mercy He will do it slowly. He did it for me. He will do it for you. That is hope.

But you can hope for SO MUCH more. The promise He gave to Abraham is now given to you.

What are the promise (covenant) for Abraham (Genesis 12:2-3)?

  1. God would make Abraham’s descendants a great nation.
  2. God would bless Abraham materially and make his name great.
  3. God would protect Abraham by blessing those that blessed him and cursing those that opposed Abraham.
  4. God would bless all the families of the earth through Abraham.

These promises are for you, through your faith in Jesus. (Did you read the first part about faith?)

With hope you will have the courage to believe it. Without hope you won’t have the courage to change your thoughts and change your life and see the blessings as they come to you. You won’t recognize them because you aren’t looking for them, because you have no hope.

If you have had a hard life, or if you are having a hard life, you might not think good things can happen to you. But this is in God’s hands… He WANTS to do these things in YOUR life.

So have hope. He has said that these promises are YOURS. He will bring them to pass in your life. have hope. Be encouraged. Live with a bit of hope and it might increase to encouragement and then grow into a tidal wave of positive new growth.

Another source of hope is the fact that God wants us to enjoy our lives. Check it out!

Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is for one to eat and drink, and to find enjoyment in all the labor in which he labors under the sun all the days which God gives him–for this is his [allotted] part. – Ecclesiastes 5:18

As Emily put it: do you see that it is right and fitting for us to find enjoyment in our lives?

It starts with the hope that He can do what He has promised to do. He did it for me. He can do it for you.

If you have faith in Jesus Christ completely paying for your sins, then all barriers between you and God are removed and you are a child of God who is no longer separated from Him. You are a child of God. EVERYONE is a child of God, but you have no sin separating Him from you (thanks to Jesus Christ dying on the cross).

I know that many have not had good fathers, so it’s hard to get excited about a Heavenly Father. But trust me… He is a good Father.

He doesn’t do things how I want them. Not when I want them. Not in a way I can easily appreciate. He’s not obviously in my room every day and night. He’s not visible when I wish He was. He doesn’t hug me very often. There is lots to be disappointed about.

BUT. My life gets better and better. I learn to know Him more. I become softer in my heart. I get stronger in my mind. I can help others more. I become more confident. I have more faith. More hope. I see my destiny clearer. I learn and grow and my life looks more and more promising.

And in the last few years I am starting to see Him, hear Him, feel Him, I know Him a bit more.

Slowly. Slowly. Ever increasing.

But wait! there’s more! (like a TV advert). I’ve been reading Eugene Peterson’s Run with Horses. In it he says that we are just like Jeremiah in that God chose us!

The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you… ” – Jer 1:4-5

run_with_horses.jpgOn page 38-39 Eugene writes (in summary form)… before you knew God, God knew you. We are tempted to think about our world as if we are curious about God, we read about God. But in fact our lives begin with God, not with us. Before we had any questions about Him, He had already chosen us!

God is the center from which all life develops. God is the center of our life – and He chose us before we were born. We are living in the middle of a dramatic eternal story that began thousands of years ago. Our identity does not BEGIN when I start to think, my identity existed even before I was me.

He chose me! He chose you! He chose us for something He is doing in this world. He has a purpose, He has a mission for us. We’re a part of His eternal plan. He chose us, we didn’t choose Him. We fit into His plans, not Him into ours. (Check out what Diana wrote: Lies of Rejection)

So please… have hope! Don’t give up. In the battlefield of the mind, the enemy will try first to take your hope and then remove your faith. He cannot take your salvation, but he would like to cause you to settle for less than best. Don’t do it. Don’t let him even get a toehold.

Having hope will give you the courage to pray for things you need. Hope will cause you to look at the day as if it holds great promise. I know that life may have been hard, it may still be hard, but if you cultivate hope in Jesus, hope in God, hope in this great plan He has for you… then you will begin praying that He completes His work, you’ll pray that He heals you, you’ll pray that He establishes you, you’ll pray that He touches the people around you, you’ll pray that He finds a church where you feel loved and warm.

Hope encourages you to read posts like these two and DO them

Have faith in the fullness of what Jesus Christ did for you. And on top of your foundation of faith… have hope that He will complete His promise to Abraham… in YOUR life, because YOU are a child of God.

(Have faith and have hope. Next I write about love.)

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