Monday, August 26, 2013

Grasping for Hope

Please welcome guest author Melissa Dorrance! Melissa works on staff for DiscipleMakers and has a passion for seeing others grow in their knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. She also loves sunshine, breakfast, and silliness. For anyone who is weary in the fight and in need of some encouragement, this post is for you. 

“He has caused us to be born again into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” (1 Peter 1:3)

Sometimes it’s hard to hope.  You are stuck in your sin, you are drowning in life’s circumstances, or maybe you are just weary of fighting the same battle day in and day out.  The absence of hope is draining: it leads to exhaustion, anger, guilt, despair, and giving up the fight.  Satan seems to have won.

NOT TRUE! The battle is not over, Satan has NOT won, and you should not give up!  We have a hope to hold onto in the midst of the longest, bloodiest battles.  1 Peter 1:3-4 reminds us that we have a LIVING HOPE in Jesus Christ.  This is not a hope that is merely “personified” into an animate idea, but He, Jesus, our Hope, is actually a living, breathing real person.

Jesus as a Living Hope:
  1. Death could not bring Him down.  No matter how deep your sin seems to run, no matter how much suffering you are experiencing, you can bank on the fact that it is NOT bigger or stronger than Jesus.  If you put your faith in Him, you have hope because He will win. He is alive.
  2. It’s not just that you hope in Him, but your hope is Him. Your Hope went to a cross for you and for your hopeless times so that you would NEVER have to be without Him. And now He promises to live in you through His Spirit.  Radical.  You actually have an embodiment of hope with you always to strengthen and encourage you.
  3. Because hope takes the form of Jesus Christ we don’t have to wait for salvation, it is already here. Grasp the hope that is ready for the taking.
God’s Word is full of reminders that we have this hope.  It is filled with promises that should spur us on and remind us of the hope that we always have.  Read them, mediate on them, say them out loud to yourself and then REBUKE Satan and your own flesh (out loud!).  These hope-filled promises are in the Bible for a reason; they are there because they are deeply true. They are testified to from One who is our Living Hope.  Here are just a few:

1 Peter 1:4 “You have an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” You cannot mess it up.

Philippians 2:13 “It is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” God has not abandoned you and is still at work!

Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” You cannot even imagine the works God is doing in your heart and in your life.  Jesus outdoes your very dreams.

Joel 2:25 “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.” What has been lost will be redeemed. 

Jeremiah 29:13-14 “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD.” God is not playing hide-and-go-seek.  He has not abandoned you.  He is there and available.

Have hope!  Jesus is alive; the promises for redemption are not just far away dreams, but immediate realities that can happen in the midst of raging battles. Jesus’ resurrection authenticates the real, tangible truths of the Bible that we can hold onto when despair creeps in.

It is not easy to always choose hope, but if we believe in Jesus it is what we are called to do and it is a gift we receive.  When despair creeps in, cling to your Hope and His promises.  You may not always believe the promises for redemption are true, but you can KNOW that the author of them is true.  And because the author is true and living it means there MUST BE hope and thus that the promises are real.  Sin is being defeated and victory is imminent.

The hope Jesus bought on the cross covers all sin and redeems all brokenness.  He is our hope for today, tomorrow, and eternity.  Drop whatever else you try to put hope in.  People: dead or dying. Money: not a living thing.  Other prophets: dead.  Jesus: ALIVE!

Painfully hoping,