One of the biggest areas of doubt for many people is a lack of hope. And as we have studied in the past many times, I am not speaking of hope as the world understands it to be, but I am speaking of spiritual hope, Biblical hope.
You see, worldly hope is like a wish, a dream, something that you don’t really expect.
Whereas spiritual hope, is a confident expectation.
In the Bible, when you see the word “hope” – especially in connection with Christ, it is always the spiritual kind of hope, the confident expectation of good.
For many people, their confidence is constantly being attacked and challenged. Their hope is always being pressed by situations, circumstances, thoughts and feelings. The world even likes to say “don’t get your hopes up!” – and that same sentiment has infiltrated churches as well.
I have been in many churches, where I have shared with my Christian brothers and sisters that I was believing for a miracle, and they would respond with something along the lines of:
“Yeah! That sure would be great… but don’t get your hopes up.”
“Absolutely! That would be amazing! But I can’t count on it.”
What I want to share with you today, is why you should go ahead and get your hope up, and also keep it up in Christ Jesus. And how by having a proper perspective through the lens of the finished work of Christ for you, you can stand against these attacks against your hope, and show others to do the same.
As we begin today, the first scripture we are going to look at is Proverbs 13:12, because there is something very interesting here for us to see:
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick: but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”
Now the first key word here in this verse is the word “deferred” (מְ֭מֻשָּׁכָה in Hebrew), which means to prolong, delay or postpone something. And this is what so many people think, and it plagues them consistently. They may be looking for financial breakthrough… many of them are looking for some kind of healing for their bodies. But whatever it may be, their confidence, their confident expectation seems to be deferred… notice that the verse does not say that the thing itself is delayed; no – it says the hope is delayed… the confidence is prolonged, delayed, or postponed.
This may seem strange at first, but take a moment to see what is really being said here. How does our “confident expectation” get delayed? By looking at situations, circumstances, feeling, and thoughts instead of Christ!
Let’s say for example, I’m looking for a healing (and you saw a great display of this in an earlier video regarding my eye problem), if I start paying attention to symptoms, and reports, and fear-inducing thoughts, and if I allow those things to have a voice and speak louder than the truth of the finished work of Jesus Christ for my healing, then my confidence will be totally nullified.
And we see from the verse, that confidence which is deferred, actually makes the heart (your mind, emotions and thoughts) sick (weak, feeble, diseased).
We actually witness this very thing happen all of the time. Whenever we see a person who is so sickness conscious, their thoughts are always on their symptoms, feelings, the health reports on the news, etc. and they actually become what they are most fearful of.
People like this actually have what I call “negative faith”, they have “corrupted confidence”, because they are allowing the reports of the world, negative things, speak to them and influence them, instead of Christ. And I’m not pointing any fingers here because I lived the exact same way… until I learned what I am sharing with you today.
If any of this happens to describe you today, don’t despair; there is a way out.
Look at the second-half of the verse:
“… but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”
We see that when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. Very interesting phrasing being used here!
So let me ask you a question… has your desire come yet? This is where most people trip-up, because they start looking at their current circumstances again… they take stock of their current thoughts, feelings and the reports of the world… and then they declare in failure “No. It hasn’t come yet…”
However, let me share with you a fresh perspective, let me share the truth with you, and open your awareness to the fact that indeed, your desire has come! Take a look at Haggai 2:7:
“And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, said the LORD of hosts.”
This verse was prophesying the coming of the Messiah, the anointed one of God, Jesus Christ. Here we see one of His titles, “the desire of nations”, aptly named since He quite literally is the ultimate solution to the needs of all mankind. It is in His sufficiency, that all needs are met and everything is fulfilled.
So indeed, your desire has come, your need has been met, your solution and goal has been obtained. Many times though, we are too myopic to see it. We become too focused on the moment, to take a step back and see the larger scope. And please hear what I am saying here – I am not downplaying or brushing-off whatever current situation you are in… Not at all! I have been in many bad situations myself, including being on my deathbed in the ICU of a hospital with an incurable blood disease. Believe me, I know! I’ve been there!
What I am saying, is that regardless of the circumstances, regardless of how the situation may look to your human senses, regardless of what reports you have seen, only one report actually matters; and that is the report of Jesus Christ! If that seems too simple, then I invite you to expand your vision of who Jesus Christ is, and what He has really accomplished for you.
We are talking about the very One who created the universe and all of creation. We are talking about the One, who formed your body from the dust of the ground, and breathed the very breath of life into you. We are talking about the One who holds all things together and causes them to consist.
You see, one of the issues if often that we fail to see who Jesus actually is, and we also fail to see why He came and sacrificed Himself. It was for us! It was for our benefit and blessing! It was for our complete redemption!
We look at Jesus with the wrong perspective and the wrong motives many times. I’ve talked with people who say that Jesus is an example for us to follow and live up to. And I’ve talked with other people who see Jesus as merely a good man or a good teacher. All of those ideas miss the main point: that Jesus is your Redeemer. He is the Messiah, the Anointed One sent for you!
He never came to be an example for you to try and live up to. He came to redeem and restore you and make you a completely new creation! That may be a complete paradigm shift for you – it may go against everything you ever thought you knew about Jesus, and it may run counter to everything that you were ever taught in church, but it is the absolute honest truth of the Gospel.
The sooner that we can totally lay down our pride, and stop trying to “live up” to God’s standard, then the sooner we can simply allow Him to lift us up, as He intended.
And as we close today, I want to leave you with the words of Romans 8:32, to remind you that whatever your problem may be, Jesus is the solution. Whatever your need may be, Jesus is the fulfillment, whatever your situation may be, Jesus is the answer.
“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
Everything you can ever need, want or desire, is all freely given with Christ Jesus.
So yes, you have a real reason, a scriptural reason to raise your hope high (your confident expectation of good) and keep your hope high, in Christ.