Unshakable Hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Prioritizing Our Hopes

When you go through a trial, especially an extended trial that disrupts or even destroys your earthly hopes and dreams, you either learn to focus and depend more on your eternal hope or slide further into despair.

I imagine that every Christian that has gone through an extended trial will remember coming to this difficult crossroad and facing this choice. In truth, seek firstit’s a decision we should have made when we committed to follow Christ – whether or not we were going through a trial at the time. By definition, a Christian is someone whose primary hope is an eternal hope in Christ.

“…we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast…” (Hebrews 6:18-20)

I know that God wants us to have hopes in and for this life, but, for the Christian, those hopes must be secondary to our heavenly hope. Our heavenly hope must govern our earthly hopes. This is the only formula that leads to the “Abundant life” that the Bible talks about. If Jesus is not the Christian’s primary hope, he or she will have a really difficult time when (not if) a trial comes. Even when everything is going great (by the world’s standards), the Christian that does not have his or her hopes in order will not be experiencing the inner joy and peace that the Bible tells us we should have.

Unfortunately I speak from experience. If asked, I probably would have said that eternity was my primary hope before being diagnosed with ALS, but aim at heavenlooking back now I really don’t think it was. It’s so easy to get caught up in our career, our marriage, raising kids, our homes and so many other things involved in day-to-day life that, without even realizing it, our earthly hopes and dreams can become our primary focus.

In this context, I think it’s fair to say that hope and love are synonymous. If Christ isn’t our primary hope, He is not what the Bible calls “our first (most important) love” either. I remember when I began reading the Bible, I had a real hard time with the following verse: “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matthew 10:37)

Probably because I didn’t understand Christ’s nature at that time, His demand seemed harsh and even narcissistic. After reading the whole New Testament and getting a better understanding of His selfless nature, I realized that His demand had nothing to do with harshness or ego; it is a simple matter of priorities. It’s only by loving Christ more than anyone or anything that we are able to demonstrate His unconditional love to and for others. Likewise, it’s only when Christ is our greatest hope that we are able to fully appreciate and enjoy our earthly hopes. And, it’s only when Christ is our primary hope that we will know if our secondary hopes are also God’s hopes for us.

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149 thoughts on “Prioritizing Our Hopes

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  1. I find this so profound. Especially in our country, we are focused on worldly “success” — achievements we can see and touch and quantify. We see images of models, actors and actresses, athletes whose lives — from a distance at least — seem idyllic. Many of us have no hope of meeting that standard. But God views things differently, on the far grander scale of eternity. By His measure, comforting a child is much more important than flaunting a Ferrari. What He requires from us is love…which is not dependent on our economic status, physical attributes or abilities. Love Incarnate, He is our ultimate hope.

  2. Pingback: “Prioritizing Our Hopes” 10/31/2014 by Bill Sweeney | God's group

  3. Pingback: “Prioritizing Our Hopes” 9/17/2014 by Bill Sweeney | God's group

  4. Tuned first to the source. All else follows.x

  5. Reblogged this on Empowering Thought for Today and commented:
    I love this! The pic is gorgeous and the saying is true! And I like the name of your blog

  6. grandeldress on said:

    Wonderful post! I’m looking forward to reading of your blog.

  7. “It’s only by loving Christ more than anyone or anything that we are able to demonstrate His unconditional love to and for others. Likewise, it’s only when Christ is our greatest hope that we are able to fully appreciate and enjoy our earthly hopes. And, it’s only when Christ is our primary hope that we will know if our secondary hopes are also God’s hopes for us.” – Bill (Unshakable Hope)

    Thank you. This is so perfect. This is my hope/prayer for the whole world. I’m printing your quote and framing it on my bedroom wall. God bless your heart and soul!!! 😀 😀

  8. Thanks for this inspiring message.
    Christ’s life and first love was only in the Father, all the way to the Cross.
    Hope, love, and true eternal life always found when we keep our eyes on the Father, through Christ. Numbers 6:24-26 to you, Bill. Your always in my prayers.

    • Thank you for your encouraging words, the blessing and for your prayers. Hoping the same Numbers 6:24-26 blessing for you – “The LORD bless you, and keep you; The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.”

  9. There is a story about a man refining silver. A woman was watching him hold the silver in a pan over a flame, his eye never leaving it. Knowing that leaving it over flame too long would spoil it, she asked the man how he knew when the silver was ready. He replied “when I can see my face in it”. So it is with trials; God knows what he’s doing and his aim is that we become like Jesus. Thank you for this encouraging word, Bill.

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