By Jadi Rodriguez, FAITH RXD Board of Director, FAITH RXD Houma Chapter Director and Chaplain.
Do you ever start a workout and hope that it will end? No, right? That’s because you know it will end. It either has a time cap or an end. Hope is not for what we see, but rather for what we do not see. We “hope” that our workouts benefit us physically and emotionally. We “hope” that this workout glorifies God; at least you should hope so. As you move, focus on your hope that is Christ, and in doing so, have faith that it glorifies God.
11 Down to 1
Clean and jerks
11 min cap
Hebrews 1:11 ESV
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Pastor Anthony King taught me, “Hope is eager confidence based on God’s faithfulness and character.”
Hope is an expectation for things unseen. For what we long for and do not have. It is a groaning inside us that cries out to reunite with our creator. It is a hole inside of our hearts, similar to homesickness. It can only be satisfied in Christ. Yet, before the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, which precedes our faith, we go a lifetime hoping in what may appear to be good things. In our spouses and kids, in our parents and family members, maybe even our friends and neighbors.
Some turn to things that may not appear wrong, but are not as good- their education, jobs, self-help books, motivational preachers, and messages.
And when none of those things satisfy the hope in our hearts, some turn to the deep things of Satan- alcohol, drugs, money, pornography, and fornication. By then, for many, it is too late. Such is the current of the drifting heart that hopes outside of Christ.
Because biblical hope is in God’s character, we must know God’s character to understand what we can hope for, not wish for.
And how do we do that?
We study His word.
His word will tell us to have faith if our hope is in Christ. And if we have faith, so we may know. Otherwise, our hope is misplaced. It is nothing more than a penny in a well or a lotto ticket.
Allow me to explain.
I hope my wife knows just how much I love her. As a result, I aim to be kind to her, I am not jealous, and I do not boast. I am not arrogant or rude to her or those around me. I am not selfish, quick to anger, nor do I keep score or a list of her wrongs. I am joyful, not in the wrong but in truth, I am a believer, hopeful, and enduring with her.
1 Corinthians 13 tells me what love is. It defines it for me. It instructs me on how to conduct myself in order to be confident and know that my wife feels loved. I can hope in Christ that my wife feels loved.
Compare that to hoping I can hit a lift at the gym and saying, “I can accomplish all things through Christ who gives me strength! Philippians 4:13!”
It may seem comical, but this actually happens in our faith, gyms, and lives. We place our hope in things outside of Christ because we do not know scripture, or worse, under false teachers who take scripture out of context. We then experience failure or loss, and our broken hearts stray from the faith, thinking that God does not love us or is not faithful.
I nearly weep just thinking about that. My wife often wonders why I have to be so tough on doctrine. That’s why! Because doctrine is how I protect the sheep. If someone knew Philippian 4:12 as much as they knew 4:13, they would understand what scripture is teaching is that you can have contentment in failing that lifts up as much as in hitting it. Their hope would be placed appropriately in Christ and not some wishful thought.
But Christ is not just something we hope in. He is our living hope!
1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
It is no coincidence Pastor Anthony King defines hope as eager confidence in God’s faithfulness and character. The Greek word “hope” used by Peter here is translated precisely as eager confidence.
Christ and His resurrection are our living hope. We have been born again to Him so that when the time of judgment presents itself, it is not us who stand before a holy God. Instead, it is Christ who stands blameless for us on our behalf!
If that does not get you to leap for joy, I do not know what will. At the end of it all, this is all temporal. And that may seem cliche or easy for me to say because I have experienced so much favor and grace. But I can honestly say that if all I had to show for my life was the atonement of my sins from my Lord Jesus Christ, I have all the hope I need.
Hebrews 10:19-23 ESV
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
Ain’t that good? I know it is a little hard to read, and it requires a bit of exposition, so here we go.
The holy places refer to the old times before Christ when people like you and me required a priest to intervene for us when talking to God. Think of the times of Moses, Aaron, and Saul. Praise God we no longer need that. We can come to God as we are because Jesus Christ made it possible when he justified us on the cross.
In other words, we can have a personal relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ. That “through” part may stump you a bit, but why should it? Do you not know that all things were made “through” Him? It should then come as no surprise that “through” Him is how everything is done.
Through Christ, we can live a joyful life. Through Christ, we can have contentment. Through Christ, we can have hope. Living hope.
QUESTIONS FOR GROUP DISCUSSION OR PERSONAL JOURNALING:
- What was the workout like for you? Did God reveal anything to you while you did it?
- What have you been hoping in?
- In what ways were you challenged by in today’s message?