…we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.(Romans 8:23-25)
As mentioned last week, hope strengthens us in faith and acts as a transformative force in our lives. Indeed, it’s evidence of the Spirit’s activity in us, and throughout Scripture, we find exhortations to put our faith and hope in God.
So when we follow this command, what impact does hope have in our lives?
- Hope positions us to participate in and receive the unfolding of God’s plan in our lives. Hebrews 6:11 encourages us to “show earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end…[imitating] those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Our choice to hope equips us to persevere and inherit the promises of God, rather than grow weary and surrender our inheritance. Romans 8:25 confirms this saying, “if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Hope helps us wait on God’s timing and partner with Him in prayer for His purposes to be released.
- Hope brings stability to our souls. It anchors us, so that we’re not governed by shifting emotions or blown off course by the difficulties of life, but instead stable and grounded in truth. Challenges, changes, and trials have less impact when we rest secure in an attitude of hope, because hope reminds us that ultimately we know our destiny—and it’s a glorious one (Hebrews 6).
- Hope releases heavenly resources into our lives. There’s a divine grace we access in hope that strengthens us. Psalms 31:24 says, “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” I love this assurance! Further, hope draws the attention and supply of heaven, as revealed in Psalm 33:18, which says “the eyes of the Lord are on…those whose hope is in his unfailing love.” Other Scriptures speak of the Lord renewing our strength and releasing provision as we wait in hope for Him.
- Hope empowers us to act in accordance with God’s ways. We see a variety of instances of this in Scripture. 2 Corinthians 3:12 says, “since we have such a [glorious] hope and confident expectation, we speak with great courage.” Paul proclaimed that our reason to labor and train ourselves in godliness springs from our hope in the living God (1 Timothy 4:7-10). And John stated that everyone with the hope of becoming like God when he appears, even now purifies himself. (1 John 3:3) In short, we will live very differently when we’re in hope—bringing ourselves more into alignment with God’s kingdom and his ways.
- Hope strengthens our physical bodies. As our Creator, God knows the potent impact of hope in the human body, and He reveals it in Scripture. Hope in the human heart serves to increase our strength, and it brings fresh vitality our bodies. The demands of life take a toll, all the more so when dealing with grief, pain, or sickness, and we need this supernatural refreshing. Isaiah 40:31 sets forth the glorious promise that “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Conversely, “the spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, but a broken spirit [crushed, devoid of hope], who can bear?” (Proverbs 18:14) In God’s design, hope strengthens us physically, and scientific research affirms this powerful impact of hope (I anticipate exploring that here in the future).
Ultimately, a hopeful, Spirit-filled soul equips us to face every circumstance. When we, like Sarah, “consider him faithful who makes the promise,” we begin to live our lives in accordance with hope and agreement with heaven.
What are ways you’ve experienced this in your own life?
Read part 1 of the Fundamentals of Hope series.