When all the world crashes on my head, hope stands. Life is a trust rope and hope is the courage to walk on that rope; to risk living a life dependent on Jesus. Jesus is hope whether the rope is taunt or wobbly, frayed or crisp. Even if evil yanks the rope right out from under me, unties it or cuts it apart, Jesus will catch me. Hope is choosing to trust Jesus, to expect with full confidence that He always does what He promised.
Do my actions create a delight for Jesus, obedience to His word and faithfulness to His leading? When a friend tells me “there is never going to be hope, so why hope?” I wonder… how I could have demonstrated hope differently? How could my life somehow impact a friend’s belief system so no matter what horrid comes, hope does not disappoint? Hope endures. Hope never fails.
“Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” – Philippians 1:18-21
How can a friend know my Father and come to the belief system of no hope? Jesus is hope. Hope, in the flesh, came for us. Hope died to demonstrate death could be defeated. Hope sat up and breathed, walked along the road with friends and showed the scar in His side. Hope lives. Hope waits for us. Hope promises that this world is not our home. Hope is coming for us.
Our life is filled with trials and difficulty, but for anyone closely associated to me to believe that hope is “no more” breaks my heart. I feel crushed and despondent wondering how in the world can I prove hope endures. Does my life not demonstrate hope? Do my words not explain it?
The tire on our car keeps going flat.
A trailer is stolen.
The co-worker is disgruntled.
Money is tight.
Relationships have drama.
Anger is heaped on my head.
Food runs through me.
A child is sick.
On and on…
“Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” – 2 Corinthians 1:9
Peace is not some feel good moment, where our hearts beat with delight, and everything feels right in the world. A fruit of the Spirit is peace. Peace is an evidence of Jesus working in our lives and developing His attributes in us. Peace demonstrates that we have killed the flesh, burying what we want or wanted for all Jesus has for us. Peace is trusting and hoping in Him when we cannot see the solution, when our hearts still ache and our emotions are undone. Peace is way past our fears to a deep knowing that Jesus is not leaving us, not now and not ever.
“For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.” – Galatians 5:5
The all of the Spirit leads us away from the satisfaction of the flesh. The Spirit kills the flesh of money, possessions, power, emotional highs, entertainment, self. We forget ourselves because we become so enamored by the Spirit and it’s attributes. We want to want the Spirit over our own flesh wants.
No more catering to my flesh…
– for coffee ice cream
– “deserved” vacations
– profitable jobs
– easy friendships
– glasses of wine
– weekend entertainment
– extra money in the bank
– freedom from trials
– people who appreciate me
What my flesh wants is about “me” and walking in the Spirit is not about “me,” it’s a life about HIM. Even if what my flesh wants isn’t perceived by the world as “bad,” it does not mean I should “get” what I want. My flesh is not a safe barometer to gauge what I need. To walk in the Spirit is to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit.
How do we manifest the fruit? Our focus is no longer about ourselves. We focus on walking by the Spirit. Am I gentle? Were my actions kind? Did my response show patience? Do I experience joy anyway, even if nothing “works out” like I wanted? Do I have self-control with my attitude, tongue and body language? Am I faithful to Jesus and to the people around me?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” – Galatians 5:22-24
Nothing about life is easy, but ease doesn’t give me hope.
Nothing about life fuels my worldly expectations, but my desires don’t give me hope.
Nothing about my life focuses on me, but “me” doesn’t give me hope.
Nothing about what I want supersedes the circumstances and life my Father has for me.
Hope is like Jesus glue, holding my fragile mess together, teaching me I can trust Him, growing my perseverance, stretching my heart to love more and deeper, and waiting for the One who is faithful.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” – James 1:12
For what is to come, in Jesus I hope.