What is our hope? What keeps us going as time swiftly moves by and pressures continue to mount? Is our hope in our perfect marriage, that gets less perfect by the day. Is our hope in our children that they will bring us joy, only to find greater pain as they grow older. Is our hope in our jobs, our professions, only to find frustration and disappointment around every corner. Not getting the promotion or not getting the desired raise or not getting the better job. Then we have unexpected issues of health that diminish our dreams. As time goes by it becomes more difficult to believe life is really good. Therefore, many give up on God and simply resign themselves to the pursuit of the highest levels of pleasure they can find.
Jeremiah 18:12 And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.
So often have I counseled with believers who become discouraged in their Christian experience. Life has become less than they dreamed it would be. Their hope was toward issues of time instead of eternity. The object of our hope is to be the Christ of heaven and heaven itself. It is not life’s work. It is not our family. It is not the acquisition of toys, lands, pleasures. It is not in a good marriage, a good home, good health or good food. It is Christ and the eternity that HE has prepared for us. These things all have their place, but our hope must be based on that which is eternal.
Hebrews 12:1-2 1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The runner trains for months and years to run the race and to finish. The runner does not train to receive bottles of water or gator-ade along the way. He does not train those months and years to hear people along the way say: “Keep going, you are looking good! Or, give up you are not doing so well.” He does not train to be able to say to people: “I ran part of a marathon.” He trains to run and to finish the race.
1Peter 1:3-7 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
Our Journey of Faith enhances our present experience in life and brings great pleasure to our experience because of the GREAT HOPE we have in the Christ of Heaven and the Eternity that HE has prepared for us.
1Peter 1:4-5 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
The Best is yet to come and our lives in time are the preparation for that experience.
“This life if powerless to satisfy our dreams of great happiness and pleasure. These dreams can be satisfied only in a mind-bending reality that awaits us in the next life. As long as Christians are asleep to this reality, they will search in vain for any lasting fulfillment.” (Ted Dekker, The Slumber Of Christianity, page 10)
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We have a cross to bear. My cross must be picked up daily. I must choose to die to selfishness and pride. I must choose to surrender to the very life of Christ that is in me. Faith will choose to surrender to the will of God and glorify our Father which is in heaven.
2Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Do you have a great eternal expectation? Do you have deep longings for heaven? Do you think of those beloved friends and family members who have gone on before us? Our hope is to lie in Jesus Christ and that which He is preparing for us.
John 14:1-3 1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.