Could hope be one of the most underrated virtues? Hope makes God’s top three list (the love, faith, and hope mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:13).
The greatest virtue is love. But where would love be without any hope? Love would be an empty promise–much like worldly love. Fortunately, love always hopes.
Hope is confidence in God’s amazing promises–specifically the ones that you can’t see come to fruition immediately. As Christians, we hope in God’s promise of eternal life. We possess eternal life and yet we continue to experience death and suffering for a time.
A Recipe for Hope
How does one experience more hope? God is the source of everything good, but what must be present in your life so that you can feel hope? For hope to thrive you need three attitudes:
A slave with no chance of being free one day can’t begin to hope. Thankfully, you are no longer a slave. Christ has set you free.
So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.Galatians 5:1 NLT
Think for a moment. In what ways are you still acting like a slave? Your cage door is open, but do you live as though you are trapped inside? Fear is a primary indicator.
Hope and freedom bring peace. You can’t be peaceful and fearful at the same time. To fear is to live in the reality of a hopeless slave. You are not a slave, so you can stop thinking like one.
Surrender acknowledges that God is the ultimate source of good. To have freedom without surrender is to live with the delusion that you are self-sufficient.
You might think that freedom and surrender are mutually exclusive, when in fact they support each other perfectly. Surrender to God produces true freedom. The true freedom you possess is only possible when you surrender to God’s reality.
If you are not surrendering to God, then you are living in the alternate reality of idolatry. You might feel free initially, but eventually, you will realize you are living in a cage as a slave.
To be able to surrender to God, you must first trust Him. Trusting God allows you to surrender to Him; surrendering to God produces true freedom. With true freedom, you will experience a powerful, unwavering hope. This hope nourishes your soul.
To hope you must trust God will keep His promises to you.
Trusting is difficult in an environment that is corrupt and decaying. But this is the only world we have. It’s easy to slip into agreeing with hopelessness and distrust. It’s easy to mistrust God and fear. But none of it is mandatory.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
God is saying there is something more true about trusting in faith (without having our own understanding) than trusting with evidence and proof. Trust God because He’s your good parent. Look beyond your immediate environment and trust Him no matter what is happening around you.
Your trust leads to surrender and freedom. Then you’ll have real hope.