Joke: Q: How do groups of angels greet each other? A: Halo, halo, halo.
What Is Hope?
Let’s start by taking a look at what hope is from both a dictionary definition and a biblical one.
Hope (Dictionary) – The general consensus from all dictionary definitions is that hope is a feeling of expectation, a desire or wish for a certain thing to happen.
Hope (Bible) – A biblical definition of hope takes it one step further. Hope is an expectation with certainty that God will do what he has said.
I hope you can see the difference. One is a wish or desire, the other is a certainty or guarantee.
Let me use a verse from Scripture to illustrate the point.
Why do we bring up this verse? You cannot have hope unless it is tied together with faith. In essence, you have hope because you have faith and you have faith because you have hope. However, you don’t just have faith in faith or hope in hope, there is no real value in that. What matters most is the object of your faith and hope – that makes all the difference.
The thing that separates the basic definition of hope and the biblical definition of hope is what I call The God Factor. Your hope should be based on the fact of who God is and nothing else. If God is not the object of your hope then you don’t have true biblical hope because the certainty has been removed. Without that, your hope simply reverts back to a wish.
Why Can You Have Hope?
There is one underlying reason why hope should spring into your heart as a believer. God cannot lie. Consider this Scripture in Hebrews:
“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 set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:17-19, emphasis added).
If God has said it, you can trust his promise because it is impossible for God to lie. This trust therefore becomes an anchor for the soul. Anchors are designed to keep you steady so that you will not be moved. This anchor that it is impossible for God to lie is the foundation for your certainty and the backbone for your hope. It is the reason why you can have hope today.
We call this type of hope “in spite of.” In spite of what you see; in spite of what is going on; in spite of how dire the situation looks, you can have hope because God cannot lie. Regardless of your situation, find out what God has said about it and let that be the truth you believe about it. This does not guarantee that your situation will change immediately but the beauty of hope is that even if the situation remains, so does your hope. Because of hope you have confidence knowing God will respond and come through on your behalf. If that is what he said you can be certain that is what he will do.
Why Is Hope so Important in the Christian Life?
Having a better understanding of what hope is leads to another question. Why is it so important? Here is the answer – hope is what motivates you as a believer. Can you imagine if we had no hope? Paul himself said:
“If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19).
Your entire walk as a believer is based on hope. A hope that goes beyond this life and extends throughout eternity. Everything you do as a Christian flows from this. Why do you pray? Hope. Why do you witness? Hope. Why do you endure hardship, trials, or persecution? Hope. Why did many who have gone before us sacrifice, give, serve, even lose their lives for the message of the gospel? One word, hope.
If you remove the element of hope then you will discover that your joy, your enthusiasm, your peace, your focus, your motivation, everything attached to your walk with God will be removed with it. That is why you cannot lose hope. It is also why one of the weapons of Satan is to attack your hope. Think of all the words that are the opposite of hope. Fear, despair, doubt, uncertainty. None of these words inspire and none of these words bring the joy and peace that hope in God brings. That’s why you must fight for it at all costs.
“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).“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” (Colossians 1:27).
God does not want you to lose hope today and you don’t have to. Keep your trust in the one who is faithful because he will not let you down.
Read: Psalm 62
In Psalm 62, David is surrounded by murderous enemies. Though he had little reason to cling to hope, David still was able to say, “My hope comes from God.” David, like many other people in the Bible, faced difficult times with no evidence that things would get better, but they chose hope anyway.
Reflection 1:What problem was David up against, and how did he respond? What problems are you facing today? How will you respond?
Reflection 2:Notice how David repeated the word “only.” What do you think the significance of that is? What other things do people tend to put their hope in besides God (see 62:9-10)?
Reflection 3:Review verse 11-12. What do you think would change in your life if you believed this without any doubts? How do the truths in verses 11-12 help you put your hope in God?
Reflection 4:Review verse 8. Take some time now to pour out your heart before God. Tell him everything that’s weighing you down and trust him with every detail. He hears you.