“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way.” (1 Peter 3:15-16a NLT)
As a Jesus follower hope is a multi-faceted confidence that centers in and focuses upon Jesus, our Savior and Lord. Hope isn’t simply “wishful thinking,” or an optimistic outlook for a positive outcome. I love what the author of the Hebrew letter says in Hebrews 6:18-19: “So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.”
In the days in which we now live we need hope, not just optimism. We need assurance that what we believe about life and our future is rooted in something eternal, not temporal. We need to put our trust in Someone who doesn’t lie and has never made a promise He hasn’t kept or for which He hasn’t given us full assurance that He will keep.
Being optimistic is well and good, but it centers and focuses on our everchanging mind. We tend to be optimistic until we’re not. Optimism is essentially positive thinking, which is good and certainly better than negative thinking, but it can’t be the foundation upon which we build our life. Yes, of course, we can “hope” in temporal things, such as the outcome of our surgery, or the success of our marriage, but the hope of which Peter and other New Testament authors write means: “joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation” that is anchored in “the Author of Hope, or He who is its foundation.” (Strong’s)
Hope, like optimism, can be for a negative outcome. For example, “I hope my son doesn’t break a bone in his gymnastics routine.” “I’m optimistic that the coming tornado will bypass our community.” But Christian hope is more than wishing for a positive outcome, it’s faith-based confidence in the One who owns our life and has our eternal future well in hand.
So, our hope is much more than: “I sure hope I don’t go to hell.” Our hope can boldly declare: “I know my Savior lives and is preparing a place in heaven and will one day soon come for me to take me to where He is.” Is that wishful thinking? Far from that, our hope is based on the words or our Savior who promised us: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in Me. There is more than enough room in My Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with Me where I am.” (John 14:1-3)
Foundationally, our hope is based on the credibility and truthfulness of the One who is the embodiment of all Truth, the Lord Jesus. I love the way Rick Warren describes it: “hope is passionate trusting.” We’re invested in the truth of, not only what Jesus says, but in who He is. Our eternal hope, as well as our hope in how the Lord will work in and through our lives today and every day He allows us life on this earth, isn’t rooted in our mind’s “optimistic” opinion, but in trust in the One who walks with us every step of the way.
Obviously, as God’s child, I’m very optimistic about my future, but based on the Word of God, I’m deeply saddened by the prospects of those who don’t know Jesus. Things are going to get a lot worse on this earth before Jesus returns. It’s never going to be easier or better for you than today if you don’t yet have a relationship with Jesus. If you’re not certain your sins are forgiven and you’re heading to heaven when you die, please watch this brief video and make certain while you still can. The Bridge to God | Ron Hutchcraft Ministries, Inc.
Blessings, Ed 😊