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, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. – 1 Peter 1:3-9 NIV
Living Hope sounds like the ultimate oxymoron these days. The world feels heavy, scary even. Hope seems like a far off distant reality, or maybe a distant possibility at best.
Living Hope? As in, right now? In the middle of this chaos, pain, and sadness? Hope that’s real, living, breathing, active? Impossible!
Dear Friends, not for those of us who are in Christ Jesus.
He is our Living Hope! Right here right now. Hope that lives and breathes peace in storms, abundance in scarcity, joy in despair.
Glorious Joy! Is that even a thing? Surely the freedom to let loose and get your praise on — from a place of deeply satisfying, heavenly joy — can’t be possible, shouldn’t be allowed.
It wouldn’t seem right, or fair maybe, to be epically, contagiously, gloriously joyful these days, now would it?
Oh, but Dear Friends, we are meant to be set apart from this world! In it but not of it. Dancing, gloriously joyful in the midst of the storms.
Logical? No, not from a human standpoint. But possible? You bet! And necessary? Absolutely!
The world is waiting to see it. To catch it. To be transformed by it.
Our trials are present, they abound, and they will continue to hurl their blows to our hearts until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
When we choose to abide in Jesus, though, rather than the world, we can come alive in His hope. We can break free from the heaviness and burdens, the grief and pain, and walk into glorious joy. (Read more about fixing our focus here and here)
Sound crazy? Lacking practicality?
I encourage you today, to step away from the world and step into Jesus. One tread at at time. And watch the transformation take place. It’s in the momentary choices where our long-term freedom will be found.
It’s in saying “No” to the lies of the enemy, to the flaming arrows of despair aimed at your heart like a heat-seeking missile. It’s holding high your shield of faith and declaring the Word of God over your life.
Don’t have the Word ready to declare? Then, Dear Friends, its time to dig in!
What could be more important? What could be more necessary?
A voice says, “Cry out.”
And I said, “What shall I cry?”
“All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.” You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” – Isaiah 40:6-9 NIV
Here is your God! Arms open, offering Living Hope and Glorious Joy. He’s defeated sin and overcome death itself. We need not fear.
This world will not last, we will all wither and fade in physical form. But our spirits will live on forever. It’s time to switch gears and truly focus on the treasures that will endure.
It’s time for Living Hope and Glorious Joy to invade our hearts, to truly abide, and to transform us from the inside out.