Hope deferred or assured?

We all have a fairness meter.  You know the thing that goes off when the villain or the oppressive establishment is in control and you cheer for justice.  Then our hero emerges from the impossible condition and rises in victory to save not only himself but everyone else.  Yay!  Isn’t that the backdrop of the most exciting stories?  Our fairness meter is what the author is betting on.  It is just a part of who we are.

This internal mechanism is always running and I believe the enemy knows that about us.  It is the thing that the liar uses to keep us down, bring us guilt and shame, keep us “wishing for the by and by” and eliminate the thought of victory in this life.  Now add a good dose of religion and the perfect storm is raging inside of us.  This is where our “hope” becomes wishes instead of certainties.  This is where our hope is translated from a current reality to some time far far away.  We wake up with a dream and a confident expectation of good but instead our circumstance brings us pain.  We feel powerless to change the situation.  Our fairness meter kicks in and we “hope” for the hero to emerge and save the day but instead we are disappointed.  Our broken record existence seems destined to repeat over and over and over.  Then we step into a church looking for answers only to find that we are supposed to ignore what is going on in our lives and instead hope for a “rapture” or a “second coming” or some “millennial” thing we can’t possibly comprehend.  That is called hope deferred.  This is what the Bible says about that:

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. (ESV)

I believe there are many people sitting in pews that are told that “faith” is our ability to ignore this “heart sickness” and look farther ahead into the next life.  The sweet little lady comes us and pats you on the back and says “well honey this is just how it is for now but if we persevere our reward will be great.”  Nonsense.  Your fairness meter kicks in and you begin blaming God for injustice.  You can pretend to ignore the obvious inconstancy but you are really churning inside.  Tell me it isn’t true?  This is not what God intended.  This is not what Jesus died for.  Instead this is what God says faith is:

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. (AMP)

In this series we have been looking at an existence born out of the two gifts Paul addresses in Romans 5.  As a quick summary there is the gift of “Jesus on the cross.”  It is paramount that we understand and accept this gift.  This is the gift of “salvation” and “forgiveness of sins” and the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).  This gift (dorea in the Greek) is the foundation of our identity in Christ.  This is how we can be certain that we have His righteousness.  This gift sets us free from guilt and shame and condemnation.  This is the fundamental understanding of our walk with Jesus.  But…it is isn’t the end of our faith walk, it is the beginning.  The second gift is the next rest of our journey in Jesus and is the “grace-effect” gift or “what happens when we have a revelation of Grace and walk with the Holy Spirit.”  The Greek word is charisma and it is the gift that comes with power and assurance.  When we accept this gift we can live in certainty.  Check this out:

Rom 5:5 Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. (AMP)

That should begin to lift your spirits.  How about some more encouragement?

Rom 15:13 May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope. (AMP)

Do you believe for a moment, even a millisecond that God is worried about stuff?  Do you think that God wakes up and is uncertain about anything in His day?  OK I am being a little glib and overly simplistic, but you get the point.  God has it covered.  He is the source of all things.  He can change a circumstance in a blink of an eye.  And guess what?  He is in you when you ask Him into your life:

Col 1:27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (ESV)

Can you see it?  The confident and certain expectation of manifest good.  Not just any good but Jesus good.  That is awesome!  Our hope is not to be deferred.  It is to be assured.  I can go on and on about power and miracles and the ability to change your circumstance.  The “good news,” the gospel is supernatural.  Realize this: our certainty in who God is is our faith.  When we know how good of a Father we have we can be certain that He is with us.  Not only that but with God in us we are one with Him.  His reality makes what was impossible our new possible.  Any circumstance can be changed in an instant just by our believing in who God is.  He is that good.  He isn’t trying to test us to see if we can hack it.  He is just waiting for us to agree with Him.  He is waiting for us to accept our charisma, our grace-effect gift.  He intends for us to walk this planet like Jesus, fully resourced and full of hope assured.  That is His plan.  How God delivers on His promise may not be exactly what you were expecting but it will be full of His awesomeness.  Agree with Him.  He says we can move mountains.  I believe we can, here today.  That is what Jesus did.  That is what we should be doing with Him in us.

Yay God!

Lance

Wisdom

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