Where is Your Hope?

Romans 15:13 (NASB): Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Do you know a believer who just never seems to be joyful or happy? They may constantly complain and generally not seem happy or at peace with themselves and especially with God. I am not referring to people who are going through difficult trials or situations in life, because sometimes in those situations, it’s difficult to always be joyful. But if you are a follower of Christ, and you have accepted Him and believe upon Him as your Lord and Savior, then you have a lot to be joyful about. And your life should reflect that peace and joy that can only be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

I also believe that our God is a “God of hope.” True hope does not come from this world that we live in; that incredible and love infused hope can only come from our creator God. The things of this world will always disappoint and will never measure up or fulfill us. But the hope that becomes the very fabric of our soul, when we believe in Jesus Christ, will never disappoint. The hope that is found in Christ is the promise of eternal life. It really doesn’t matter what happens to us on our journey here on earth, because as believers we have the promise of eternal life with our Savior in heaven. That brothers and sisters is our ultimate hope and joy!

If the promise of eternal life with Christ does not put a smile on your face and joy in your heart, then I don’t know what will. When you believe in Christ, the Holy Spirit will come into your life and transform you into a person that will “abound in hope.” So often we lose sight of the fact that we are called to a new life in Christ; a life that is transformed and different from those in the world who do not know Christ. We must always strive to be a shining example of Christ’s love and compassion and joy to those who are lost.

So if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, I encourage you and challenge you to put a big smile on your face and show others what faith in Christ looks like. By believing in Christ, you are filled will “all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

 

 

Living a Holy Life in an Unholy World

1 Peter 1:13-16 (NIV): Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

1 Peter 2: 11-12 (NIV): Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

I have been thinking a lot lately about what it means for Christians to live “good lives.” How do we live out our life of faith in a world that does not glorify God? As believers, we have a decision to make. Will we lead lives that reflect our faith and God’s guidance in our lives? Or will we only give lip service to our beliefs and surrender ourselves to the desires of this world that we live in?

The apostle Peter tells us that our minds must be “alert and fully sober.” We must constantly be aware of the sinful lures of this world so that we can overcome enticing thoughts and actions before we act on them. We all have sinful desires that attempt to pull us away from God and prevent us from leading a life that is a witness to our faith and pleasing to God. Overcoming these desires is crucial for our soul but it is also important if we desire to be an effective witness for Christ. Our lives should reflect the degree to which God’s forgiveness and mercy has changed us. Our witness then, becomes living a life that demonstrates to unbelievers how our faith and belief in God has changed us.

A friend of mine once told me that she had been observing how I led my life as a Christian. To be honest, that scared me. I immediately started thinking about the times that this lady has seen me act in a way that was not consistent with my faith. She told me that she was not a believer but she wanted to know more about my faith because she could sense just how important our faith was to our family. She passed away a few years later but not before coming to accept Christ as her Lord and Savior. This is precisely what Peter is referring to when he urges believers to lead holy lives – because you never know who is watching. In this case, someone who didn’t know God was watching and she saw that my actions were, for the most part, consistent with my beliefs. There are times when my actions don’t correspond to my beliefs, so I constantly pray to God that he will strengthen me to lead a life that always reflects my faith.

The Apostle Peter writes, ‘But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”’ I don’t know about you but I am uncomfortable being called holy. It sounds like someone who never makes a mistake or is somehow above sin. Holy means to be set apart or to belong to God. Being holy is living in a unified relationship with Christ, through the Holy Spirit. Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

As followers of Christ, we face many sinful desires which “wage war” against our soul. I believe that the forces of evil are constantly waging war against Christians so that our witness will be weakened or ineffective. It’s time that believers live out a life of faith that shows the world that we are set apart from the sin of this world. The way we live our lives will reflect who we are and who we truly follow. Our choice is this: Do we give in to the sinful desires of this world, or do we try to lead holy lives that reflect the love, mercy and forgiveness of our loving God and our Savior, Jesus Christ?

1 John 2:17: The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.