Do you need encouragement? “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). Peter’s words offer joy and hope in times of trouble, and he bases his confidence on what God has done for us in Christ Jesus. Living hope is hope that has power and produces changes in life. This is what “living’ means: “For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12) So Christian hope is a strong confidence in God which has power to produce changes in how we live.
And here is where we base all of our hope: “For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Pet. 1:23) Only God’s will, Word and work are permanent. We must stop expending our time and energy on the temporary things of this world, and focus our lives on God’s Word and our eternal life in Christ.
Many think freedom consists in doing anything they want, but this path leads to a slavish addiction to sensual gratification. Christ frees us from the desires and control of sin. “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:3-7) We move from a life full of sin to one where we are led by God’s Holy Spirit.
We will be tested and face trials, and in times such as these we have the choice to be angry, sad or offended when these comes, or we can understand by our faith that all that happens has a reason, and sometimes it is to refocus us. “But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Cor. 1:9b) Or even that we will have an understanding and empathy for others and be there to support them in their time of need. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Cor. 1:3-4)
This morning I was thinking about a saying we said all the time in junior high, “Love isn’t love until you give it away”. The gift of hope is not a gift to be tucked away as we might fine china; it is a gift to be shared, for that is truly loving others. “Having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” (Titus 3:7-8) Who can you share His hope with today?