For weeks now we have been looking at FAITH and how it demonstrates that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has made a tremendous difference in our life. Our faith says to God that we believe what he says, and we have responded to the gift of his son, Jesus, according to his instructions. Whereas our faith serves as evidence to God that the Gospel has changed us, HOPE is our evidence that receiving and accepting the Gospel has and will benefit us. Getting what we HOPE for affirms our faith, restores it, and even validates it.
Hebrews 11:1 says; “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.2 For by it our ancestors won God’s approval.”
Hope is the want and desire in each of us. We all have hopes and dreams and most of us want to get something out of every effort we make.
I don’t believe there is a single Christian who serves God without expecting something in return. Everyone, including Christians, have desires, wants, and expectations. That is where HOPE comes in. Being in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ will get you what you want…what you REALLY want. Witnessing to the those around us, through Faith, Hope, and Love, and the way we demonstrate these attitudes and behaviors to those closest to us, is proof that Christians have indeed been changed and our desires and behaviors are redeemed.
When our daughters were very young they begged and pleaded for their mother and I to buy them candied apples. Of course, we knew that both of them despised feeling “sticky” and that they would get very sticky eating those candied apples as they melted in the 100-degree summer heat but they insisted. They wanted nothing more than a shiny red candy-coated apple. After finally giving in and getting them the treats it was only a matter of minutes before the red candy coating began to melt and drip down their hands and arms, making them extremely….you guessed it…sticky. That was it…they were done.
My girls thought they wanted a candied apple. They thought it would make them very happy but in fact, it made them miserable. There are things we think we want that our heavenly Father knows good and well will never satisfy us.
A relationship with God will not guarantee us everything we THINK we want. However, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ promises to fulfill our purest and deepest desires. That is the “substance of things hoped for.”
Sometimes it may seem like you have to give everything up to be a Christian but that isn’t the way it is at all. God did not leave the “hope” part out of the equation. The part that has to do with what YOU want. "In the FAITH. HOPE. LOVE triad…FAITH is the “GOD” part, LOVE is the “OTHERS” part and HOPE is the part that pertains to “what you want.”
There should be FAITH that God will honor His word when we obey him and that LOVING our neighbors will show JESUS to the world, and that we should always HOPE God will fulfill us and give us the desires of heart. Not what we think we want but what we really want. Think about the one thing you would ask God for if you were able to get anything you wanted. What would it be? Now consider WHY you asked for that particular thing. What is at the root of it? Would you ask for money? Why do you want money? For security? To provide for your family? God promises to help you do that when you are in a relationship with him. Was the one thing you would ask God for if you were able to get anything you wanted that your family would be safe? What is at the root of that request? A desire for your family to be protected? Doesn’t God promise that to his children?
"The point is, a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ will provide you with everything you have ever really hoped for." - Dr. Hughes
One of the results of that provision is that everyone around you will witness the goodness and blessings of God in your life and will hopefully want a relationship with him too. That is what living a blessed life will do.
Christians are supposed to be blessed. In the Bible, Numbers 6, we find what is called the “Priestly Blessing.” It states what God told Israel’s leaders to say to his people about his plans for them. It says; “May the Lord bless you and protect you; 25 may the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; 26 may the Lord look with favor on you and give you peace.” Ephesians 1:3 is like it. It states; 3 Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ.”
Sometimes I forget how blessed I truly am. While typing the above passage I was sitting with my daughters and a group of children were playing near us and suddenly I was struck in the face by a wet tennis ball. It startled me. I looked over at my daughters expecting some compassion but instead they were both doubled over in uncontrollable laughter. I believe God wanted to drive the point of that passage home in my understanding and help me never forget that I am blessed in my relationship with him. All of my hopes and desires are achieved through my connection with Jesus Christ.
BUT what blesses a CHRISTIAN is different…..isn’t it? There is a shift in what we desire and a change in our lifestyle and behavior when we responded to the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ. Right? What want to do changes. What we say changes. I believe it is accurate to say that the change in us validates the relationship. The writer of Romans 6 said that a change would take place when we decided to connect with God through Jesus. He wrote; 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be rendered powerless so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, 7 since a person who has died is freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him, 9 because we know that Christ, having been raised from the dead, will not die again. Death no longer rules over him. 10 For the death he died, he died to sin once for all time; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11 So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires. 13 And do not offer any parts of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness. But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness. 14 For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under the law but under grace.”
I truly believe the truth in the
G.R.A.C.E. acronym. GRACE is
The Gospel of Jesus Christ was meant for more than forgiveness, faith, and fellowship. The Gospel of Jesus is meant to fulfill the desires of your heart.
“The Substance of things Hoped For.” The Bible tells us that when we delight ourselves in the Lord he will give us the desires of our Heart. When your delight is to please God, your desires will be pleasing to God. Our desires are wonderful indicators of the condition of our heart towards God.
Be encouraged today! Know that God wants to give you what you truly want. There are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about them. God knows your desires and wants….He actually knows better than you what truly makes you happy!
Rev. Wiley Hughes
D.Min., Psy.D., FBPPC, LPCA, NCC
Apostolic Leader of Destiny Now