Week 25 Hope -- You Can Cope Because of the Hope

     Sunday in three different LifeGroups, I taught on what it means to “believe.” We discussed briefly that to believe (a verb) is essentially the same as trust (generally a verb) and faith (generally a noun of the same word believe). So what is hope?

     It's sometimes hard to see the difference in faith and hope. Perhaps it is easier to see the difference if we look at the opposites. The opposite of faith is doubt and the opposite of hope is despair. Thus, faith speaks to the intellect or understanding, and hope speaks to the emotions. Both are battles within the soul, the seat of our intellect, will and emotions. Martin Luther said that faith rests with the understanding, and teaches and prescribes; hope rests in the encouragement of the soul and gives strength and courage.

     Hope brings joy and its opposite, despair, brings sadness. Faith is an “evidence,” (see Hebrews 11:1) and its opposite, doubt, is also fueled by conflicting evidence. But Paul adds a third part to the faith and hope discussion--love (1 Cor. 13:13). All three must be used in the battle within our souls. Faith fuels the battle of the mind with unseen evidence; Hope fuels the battle of our emotions with courage and joy; Love fuels the battle of our will with a sacrificial motivation for all we do. Love is greater than faith or hope and it will also endure. 

The above was originally published on September 5, 2016, when Believe was just starting. We are now in Week 25 of 30 weeks of studying our basic core beliefs. 
The following devotional comes from Zondervan in preparation for BELIEVE.

It is impossible to cope without hope.

False hope causes people to plan, build and risk for something that is not likely to happen. The Bible identifies several things humans unfortunately place their hope in only to be disappointed in the end.

False hope ... in riches.

Because of his fearless confidence in God, David is able to hurl condemnation at his enemy who trusts in wealth. (See Psalm 52:1–9.)

False hope ... in people.

The psalmists tell us that we will be disappointed if we place our hope in people rather than God.

Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. (Psalm 146:3–4)

False hope ... in idols.

An idol is any object we place above God. The prophet Habakkuk declares how foolish it is to place our hope in such man-made inventions. (See Habakkuk 2:18-19.)

Hope is only as good as the power and character of the one who offers it. Since God’s character is rock solid, trustworthy and true, we anchor our hope in his promises to us.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. (Hebrews 6:19–20)

I can cope with the hardships of life because of the hope I have in Jesus Christ.

KEY APPLICATION: What difference does this make in the way I live?
Hope in Christ gives us a different place to look.

The author of Hebrews describes how hope gives us a different place to look: “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith" (Hebrews 12:1-2).


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