Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Living Hope

Hope is the focusing affection of a well-kept heart.

Hope for Then and Now (1)

“‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the L
ORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29.11

We are investigating the primary affections that harbor in our heart, so that by understanding and nurturing them, we may keep our hearts with all diligence, so that they will beat with the heart of God. A well-kept heart is the anchor of a strong soul. The heart is the seat of our affections, and affections are in the driver’s seat of life.

Thus far we have seen that fear is the first affection to be cultivated, to be specific, fear of God. When we fear God, and not men, then we will tune all other aspects of our soul and life to hear His Word, love and delight in Him, obey and serve Him; for we know Him to be sovereign, powerful, and intent on shaping us for righteousness, even if He must discipline us from time to time.

As we fear and obey God, we find Him to be gracious and lavish in His goodness, which leads us to love Him and to give thanks for His mercy and many gifts. Love is the greatest of all affections because it brings with it so many others, such as patience, kindness, compassion, and forbearance. Thanksgiving is the most practical affection, since it is easy to put into practice by giving thanks in all things, and because, as we do so, we exercise those faith muscles needed for nurturing all our affections as God intends.

We must guard our heart against mere self-love, by giving thanks in all things – so that we grow in the mind of Christ and the knowledge of God – and by practicing love for our neighbors according to the teaching of God’s Word. This is the life of redemption to which we have been called in Jesus Christ; and with it comes the hope of glory for all who sincerely believe in and follow the Lord.

Hope is the next affection to which we turn our attention as we continue to learn the secrets of keeping our heart with all diligence.

The focusing affection
The simple fact, as every believer will understand, is that finite, sinful people are neither smart enough, selfless enough, nor strong enough to overcome the downward pull of self-interest and self-preservation that characterizes all of us some of the time, and many of us most of it. We need a power from beyond ourselves that can re-energize our vision, revive our heart, rebuild our conscience, and renew our strength so that we are able to lay hold on the precious and magnificent promises of God in ways that lead to real hope and meaningful change.

Hope is that disposition of the soul which looks beyond present circumstances – whether favorable or otherwise – and strains toward a higher, more desirable, and more glorious objective which lies in the future. God has prepared a plan for us which He promises will bring us a future and a hope. Hope is the affection which enables us to focus all the priorities of our lives toward a certain outcome, which may be realized truly and partially now, but only fully beyond time.

Paul says that, because we take our stand in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we may exult in the “hope of the glory” (Rom. 5.1, 2). Peter further clarifies Paul’s meaning in 1 Peter 1.3-5: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Hope focuses on that which God has put in reserve for us, an “account” of grace which we can draw on for the present, but which we will only fully enjoy when we have been translated into the Presence of God’s glory and see Him face to face (1 Jn. 3.1-3).

Let’s take a closer look at this passage.

Hope for then and now
What Paul refers to as the hope of glory, Peter calls a “living hope.” It is this hope to which we have been born again through Jesus Christ. But what is it? What is this “hope of glory,” this “living hope” which can focus our hearts and lives in all aspects of our Kingdom-and-glory calling?

Peter explains that hope is a heavenly inheritance which does not fade. This inheritance is God and His glory, and the joy and pleasure which can be known in Him (cf. Ps. 16.8-11). God Himself is our exceeding reward and inheritance (Gen. 15.1; Ps. 16.5); eternal life consists in knowing God and Jesus Christ (Jn. 17.3). This great hope and inheritance is being prepared for us even now, so that we shall be able to enjoy it fully and forever in the new heavens and new earth to come. God keeps and sustains us to the day when we shall at last realize this blessed hope. And though for now we must know trials and difficulties (1 Pet. 1.6ff), still, we may increasingly realize and enjoy this great salvation in these last days, if we will persevere in our Kingdom-and-glory calling (cf. 2 Pet. 1.5-11; 1 Thess. 2.12).

The Christian’s hope is the hope of glory, of realizing the inheritance God has prepared for us by welcoming us into His Presence, now and forever. Nothing compares with this hope. As we begin to glimpse it, nothing can eclipse or obscure it, and everything in our lives finds its proper orientation as we strive to attain this hope, this great salvation which is ours by the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

This living hope must be our constant guide (1 Pet. 1.13-16), with the result that we increase in holiness, and holiness becomes the defining attribute of our time during these last days. When all our hopes and aspirations are focused on knowing the Lord, growing in Him, and realizing more of His Presence, promise, and power, everything else in our lives will line up with God’s holy purposes for our blessing and His glory.

Such hope thrills us in our soul, lightens our burdens, emboldens our witness, and fills us with the joy of the Lord for daily living. Fear of God, love for Him and our neighbors, and giving thanks in all things are reinforced by the hope of glory we know now and anticipate as our inheritance forever.

For reflection
1.  What is hope? How does it function in people’s lives?

2.  What kinds of things do people hope for in our day? That is, what are they striving, working, and longing to realize? Are such hopes reliable? Why or why not?

3.  What does it mean to hope “in the glory of God”? Why is this a “living hope”? If everything in your life were focused on this hope, how would this affect your attitude toward everyday life?

Next steps – Preparation: Go before the Lord in prayer and ask Him to reveal the things you hope for in this life. That is, ask Him to show you plainly everything you’re longing for and striving after, which you think is going to make you happy and fulfilled. How do these compare with the living hope of knowing Him?

T. M. Moore

Your soul in the Kingdom of God
All the installments in this “Strong Souls” series are available in PDF by clicking here.

Jesus has conveyed us into the Kingdom of God. It is in the context of seeking the Kingdom that we can grow strong souls. Our book, The Kingdom Turn, can help you understand and begin making yourself more at home in the Kingdom of God. Order your free copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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