Silence: Take a moment to get still and ask God to center your heart on him.
Scripture: 13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action,and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Devotional: Christmas is usually perceived as a hopeful time. I mean it’s supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year”. Family, friends, presents, time off from school, and vacation. However, stats show that depression sky rockets during the holiday season. According to Psychology Today, up to 45% of the population don’t look forward to the holidays.
How are you feeling? Are you hopeful? Hopeless? Or maybe somewhere in between. Maybe you don’t feel either, but simply feel numb. Dull. Neutral.
I have been in all three of those places over the last few holidays. There have been days I was hopeful. Hopeful in a person, hopeful in the changing of seasons, hopeful in new opportunities, or hopeful in a new year. When I brought my daughter home from the hospital December 19th of 2014 I was incredibly hopeful.
There where other times where I felt hopeless. Last Christmas was the first Christmas I spent without my mom after her passing from cancer. I spent days trying to portray strength, but at the soul level, if I was being honest, my outlook was bleak and dispirited.
Then there were days where I was neither. Days where I was numb. Life was tasteless and colorless.
What I’ve realized over time is that this type of hope that wanes and fades isn’t biblical hope, but worldly hope.
Worldly hope could be described as “to wish for, to expect, but without certainty of the fulfillment; to desire very much, but with no real assurance of getting your desire.” In worldly hope there is wishful thinking, but there is no certainty.
Biblical hope is different. Biblical hope is: a confident expectation and sure certainty in the promises of God and their implications – past, present & future.
Biblical hope is different because God can carry the full weight of your hope and then some. Our God is a God of hope (Rom. 15:13) who has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the life, death & resurrection of Jesus (1 Peter 1:3-4). We can place our hope in who He was, who He is and who He will always be. He is unchangeable.
Biblical hope is this: “I choose a different hope. I choose to believe in the resurrection. I choose to believe that in grief, when I cannot see much hope at all, God is reconciling all things to himself. I choose to believe he does give us glimpses of his future kingdom where relationship among humanity and with his good creation will be perfectly restored. It is this hope that allows me to grieve over that which is utterly broken and yet not fall into despair…We have a response. We must live as agents of God’s redemption through his life-giving resurrection. Even when we can’t always see it, we must choose hope.” (Philip Ryken).
We must see that things of this world – money, power, fame, influence, relationships – are good things, but were never meant to be ultimate things. They can’t carry the full weight of our hope. Only God can do that.
We must choose to believe that God is a God of hope, who has given us hope, can carry the weight of our hope and will sustain our hope until the end.
“Even when we can’t always see it, we must choose hope.”
Question: Honestly, how are you feeling right now? Are you hopeful, hopeless or something in between?
Action: The best plan of action is to surround yourself with others who can help point you to the hope you have in Jesus. If you don’t have those people in your life create a plan of joining a church community, bible study or connect with me to help.
Prayer: Father, you are a God of hope who has caused us to be born again to a living hope. There are times when I’m full of hope and other times that I feel completely hopeless. Those times happen because I’m placing my hope fully on something that can not satisfy or carry the full weight of my hope. Teach me to place my hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.