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

Hope Observed

If we have it, it will show.

Hope for Then and Now (6)

And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear… 1 Peter 3.13-15

Hope made visible
We all know people who exude hope. They tend to be optimistic, forward-looking, full of energy, confident, busy, and not easily discouraged. I don’t know about you, but I like to be around such people. I find their confidence, enthusiasm, energy, and determination infectious and edifying.

We should expect that the living hope of the glory of God – of knowing God in His glory now and anticipating being with Him in glory forever – would have such effects on us. Peter certainly did. As we nurture hope as the focusing affection of our heart, our mind will be increasingly saturated with the vision of Christ, exalted, advancing His Kingdom, and coming again in glory. Our conscience will naturally default to those values and priorities that line up with our Kingdom-and-glory calling. And, by our words and deeds, we will demonstrate in every aspect of our lives the real and living hope that is the focus for all we do.

Which is to say, the hope that is within us, focusing our heart on the glory of God, will be visible in outward ways. It will be a hope others can observe.

One of the great mysteries of the Christian life is that we can know blessings from God that override and overcome the sorrows and sufferings we may experience in this life. It’s not clear how that happens, but, when we are in the blessing of God, focusing on our living hope, we know peace, joy, contentment, confidence, and strength, regardless of how difficult, challenging, or painful our temporal circumstances may be.

There is power in a life well lived. The Christian’s hope is to enjoy God in His glory and to show that glory to the watching world in every aspect of our lives (Rom. 5.1, 2; Hab. 2.14; 1 Cor. 10.31). When we are truly living in this hope – fellowshipping with God in His glory and knowing the joy and power of His transforming Word and Spirit (2 Cor. 3.12-18) – our lives will show the blessings of God, even during difficulties and trials.

This is the result of looking back to Jesus, up to our exalted King, and ahead to His blessings and Kingdom progress, as we stand squarely in the living hope of His glory. A heart flooded with hope will overflow in observable ways. People will notice when we live this way, and some will want to know how it is possible for us to have such peace, joy, and hope. We must be ready with an answer.

That answer will take the form of an explanation for why we are the way we are – what we believe, how God has worked in our lives, and why our hope has such sustaining power to bless. We must be gentle and respectful as we answer, not overbearing, preachy, or putting others down. The answer we provide may not please or satisfy everyone. Nevertheless, the joy that comes from our living hope will flow just that much more to us and through us.

Reason to hope
Our hope is in Jesus Christ, and that hope fills us with confidence, joy, and Good News for the world. What Jesus has done for us is twofold. First, He fulfilled all the righteous requirements of God so that we might live eternally in His Presence and glory. Thus, He opened through His own life a way for us to come to God as well. But second, this access came at an enormous price, because not only did we need all the righteousness of God to enjoy Him in glory, we had to have the debt of our sins removed. Jesus endured the greatest suffering any man could ever know, bearing our sins in His own body on the cross, so that we might be forgiven and saved. No longer do we need to fear not being good enough to come before God, or that the sins we are quite well aware of might keep us from His glory. For God made Jesus, Who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5.21).

And what Jesus is doing for us now, having risen from the dead, is reigning at the Father’s right hand so that we might know joy and pleasure in Him (Ps. 16.11) and press on in good works and witness (Eph. 2.10; Acts 1.8). This is the life of holiness and blessedness that comes from focusing on our living hope.

The way into such blessedness is through faith, beginning with rejoicing and thanksgiving and issuing in obedience to the Word of God. As we stand in hope of the glory of God, and rein in the sinful tendencies of our flesh, we bring goodness and peace into the lives of those around us, like the refreshing dew of the morning. King Jesus sees as we serve Him thus; He hears our prayers when we cry out to Him for mercy and grace in our times of need, and He intercedes for us with the Father. He will never fail nor forsake us. He will bring His wondrous blessings to us, even though others may persist in wishing or doing us ill.

For our parts, we must be zealous for what is good, focusing on our living hope and letting the joy in our hearts become the joy we live and proclaim.

A hope and a commission
Peter understood that Jesus has commissioned us first to be witnesses and then to do witnessing out of the context of a life well lived. When we focus on the living hope that is ours through Jesus Christ, we become transformed from within, in heart, mind, and conscience, so that the hope in our souls becomes the hope others see in us. And when that hope is powerfully visible, others may ask for an explanation of it. At that time, we must be ready as witnesses to proclaim the living hope of Jesus Christ.

God Himself is the power for our witness (Acts 1.8; Phil. 2.13), so we only need to concentrate on believing and obeying the Lord unto good works, regardless of the circumstances in our lives. If we will, open doors for bearing witness will fling wide before us every day. Our living hope provides the conduit for God’s power to rise from within us, when the opportunity to give a reason for the hope that is within us comes precisely because people see what we experience in our living hope.

A heart filled with hope will pique the curiosity of others and provide abundant opportunities to point them to Jesus.

For reflection
1.  How would you expect the living hope of God’s glory to be manifest in your life?

2.  How would you explain the reason for that hope to anyone who might ask?

3.  What can you do to improve your focus on our living hope, and to make sure you’re ready when the opportunity to give a witness arises?

Next steps – Preparation: Jot down a brief outline presentation of the reason for your living hope. With whom will you share this today?

T. M. Moore

Focusing on Jesus
All the installments in this “Strong Souls” series are available in PDF by clicking here.

How can we increase in the knowledge of God and the living hope of His glory? Our book, To Know Him, can help you become more focused and active in seeking the knowledge of the Lord. Order your free copy by clicking here. You can see Jesus more clearly by understanding what He’s doing in heaven at the right hand of God. Our book, What in Heaven Is Jesus Doing on Earth?, can help you to focus more clearly on our living hope. Order your free copy by clicking here

Thanks for your prayers and support
If you find ReVision helpful in your walk with the Lord, please seek the Lord, asking Him whether you should contribute to the support of this ministry with your financial gifts. As the Lord leads, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

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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