Ephesians 2:11-13 NLT Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders by birth. You were called “the uncircumcised ones” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from God’s people, Israel, and you did not know the promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. But now you belong to Christ Jesus. Though you once were far away from God, now you have been brought near to him because of the blood of Christ.
In my last blog I endeavored to set the foundation for moving from hopelessness to being hopeful. The foudational keys for achieving that result are found in a living, vital relationship with Christ Jesus that comes through surrendering your heart and life to Him and then developing that relationship through prayer and Bible study. All of life is found in Him, and to be made acceptable in God’s sight, you must come to salvation on His terms, not yours. It is through confession of sin, believing that Jesus Christ is the sinless Son of God Who died for you to cleanse you of all sin and then receiving His free gift of salvation that you become a “child” of God. Being “born again” simply means that, as Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:5-7, you have been born of the water, or experienced the natural birth of a human being who lives at this time on planet earth, and that you have also had a spiritual birth, where you came to the realization that you are a sinner in need of the Savior, Jesus Christ, and have received Him according to the directions set forth in God’s word that you believe with your heart that He is God’s Son, sent to die for your sin and that you confess with your mouth that He is Lord and you become “saved”. (Romans. 10:9, 10) “For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Ephesians 2:8, 9 NKJV For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.
If you have prayed sincerely from your heart to receive Jesus’ sacrificial work on the Cross of Calvary on your behalf you are “born again”. You have taken the first steps to move from hopeless to hopeful!
John 1:12, 13 NKJV But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Now, to move on to being hopeful instead of hopeless. I would like to share with you what I believe to be three major hope stealers and the corresponding hope instillers, or hope builders.
- Having a broken spirit:
Proverbs 17:22 NKJV A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.
Proverbs 18:14 NKJV The spirit of man will sustain him in sickness, But who can bear a broken spirit?
A broken spirit comes through repeatedly believing the lie that says you are of no value or that you are not worthy of God working in your life or bringing any of His promises into reality for you. Many people who are born again Christians suffer from low self-esteem that steals every bit of hope that they try to grasp. So, how can you break that cycle of recurring feelings of worthlessness in your own thoughts and feelings? By learning who you are in Christ Jesus and proclaiming, in the face of those feelings of worthlessness, what His word says about you. Your mind must be renewed to the truth of God’s word so that when the thoughts of worthlessness come you can recognize them and take control over them, replacing them with the Word of God that proclaims your identity as His child. You break a child’s spirit by calling him names such as “stupid”, “nimrod”, “knucklehead” and other names that indicate he is useless, worthless and unimportant to you, God and society. A child grows up to be what he is told as a young child. Likewise, an adult nurtures either a healthy self esteem or a low self esteem through his contacts in life; friends, family and work associates, and reflecting on what he has been told as a child and experiences of failure that he might have had as an adult. A healthy self esteem is developed through learning who you are in Christ Jesus and feeding on His word that establishes wholeness in your mental, emotional and relational thoughts and feelings. The truth of God’s word supercedes the fact of what you might have been told as a child or what you are experiencing through your current relationship interactions with family and friends.
Psalm 139:13 says that God formed you in your mother’s womb. You are not an accident or a person of unimportance to God. He made you in His likeness and image (Genesis 1:26). You are wonderfully and fearfully made (Psalm 139:14). Even though your parents might have not nurtured you as they should have, God will not forget you. You are inscribed on the palms of His hands. (Isaiah 49:15, 16). You are of precious value to Him, even to the point of Him giving His very own Son to die for you that you might spend eternity with Him, enjoying His presence and worshiping Him with all other believers. (John 3:16, 17) His word says that He loved you even while you were a sinner enough to give Jesus to die for you. (Romans 5:8) He loves you unconditionally and with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3) He will never leave you nor forsake you to walk through life by yourself, under your own power. He will help you! (Hebrews 13:5, 6) God loves YOU! Settle that in your mind; meditate on His word and speak forth the truth of who you are to Him. You are His treasure, His very own child!
1 John 3:1 NKJV “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!….”
- Dwelling on past disappointments will steal your hope for God to work in your present situation.
When God brought the Israelites out of Egypt they were a fearful group of people, so beaten down by their oppressors that they had trouble believing that life could be any different for them than what they had experienced while under the bondage of the Egyptians. When they crossed over the Jordan River God instructed them to gather stones out of the middle of the river to make as a memorial for them and their children as a sign of His miraculous power to back up the waters of the river to make a way for them to cross over. He wanted them to remember His power to do the impossible in their lives, for both them and their children. Dwelling on past failures and disappointments breeds unbelief and unbelief stifles hope and faith.
God wants us to believe His word instead of the times when we might not have received the results that we have wanted. Questioning why God didn’t do it for you the last time will not place you in a position to receive from Him in your present situation.
Luke 1:37 NKJV “For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Mark 9:23 NKJV Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Regardless of the outcome of your last challenge, God is still the God of impossible situations and faith for future challenges will come as you meditate on His word that builds hope and faith. Build your memorial of the good things God has done for you! Record those victories and re-read them over and over again.
- Hanging around negative people will steal your hope and hinder the growth of your faith.
2 Corinthians 6:14, 15 NKJV Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
If you are making people of the world your bosom buddies you will have difficulty believing God for victory in your life. Your hope will be based on a worldly form of success or failure and not a biblical faith.
In making close relationships with those who do not believe as we do we hinder our ability to pray in agreement with others to see God do the impossible in their lives. Jesus told us that if we agree together with another believer we have power through that prayer to see God answer regarding anything on earth for which we would pray.
When we constantly associate with unbelievers, making them our best friends, we do not have the common bond of Christianity to form the agreement in prayer that we need to see victories in each other’s lives.
Matthew 18:19, 20 NKJV “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there In the midst of them.
We need like minded believers to pray with us. That can’t be done with an unbeliever.
Likewise, as believers walking through life with other believers, we should be a people who constantly encourage and offer words of life to those around us. A spirit of negativity is easily transferred and that attitude, when constantly lived before another indivdual, will stifle hope and faith in both people’s lives. God is a positive God. In 2 Peter 1:1, Peter describes his letter as being to “those who have obtained like precious faith” with Peter and others in the body of Christ. To build your hope, make friendships with believers who will encourage you and offer words of life and strength when you are facing life’s challenges. Listen to upbeat messages on God’s goodess and read books that will lift you up and instill hope and faith in your heart. Align yourself with a church body that speaks the truth according to God’s word. Be a life giver, a hope builder and one who prophesies from God comfort, exhortation and edification to those in need. Be what you desire to receive from another believer.
These are just a few of the hope stealers that we may encounter in our walk of faith. A hope filled mindset, renewed by God’s word, our interaction with other believers of like precious faith, and time spent in the Word and prayer will build and nourish hope and faith in our lives. If any of these are out of balance or extinct in your life you will not have a strong hopeful mindset.
Father, I pray for those who may be reading this blog that You will meet them where they are, whether it be as one who doesn’t yet know You to bring them to salvation or one who may be experiencing a hopeless situation in his/her life. Be near to them, Lord Jesus! Draw them by Your Spirit into a deep, intimate relationship with You. Encourage them to continue to build themselves up through prayer and Bible study. Create divine appointments for them to form lasting bonds of friendship with people of like precious faith and give them a newed sense of hope for whatever it is they are believing that You have promised to them. Show Yourself strong on their behalf, Father. Heal the brokenhearted, give sight to the blind, set at liberty those who are in bodage, heal sick bodies and restore all that the enemy has stolen from them. Give them life instead of death, hope instead of despair and healing spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially. Grant them wholeness, in Jesus’ name. And to You be all the gloy! Amen.