Hopes Shape Life

Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.) – Romans 8:12-25 [NLT]

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Open Poppy | Brenham, Texas | April 2020

For what do you hope these days? Here are some choices:

  • An end to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • An effective vaccine against the COVID-19 virus
  • Opening of all businesses
  • A clear sense of how the future will unfold

Perhaps you’re not like me, but I suspect many people would wish for the last one in that list. We all want an end to the pandemic. We would love to learn that an effective vaccine has been discovered. And wouldn’t it be great if all businesses were allowed to open. But even if those three things materialized, the manner in which the future will unfold is a mystery. We think that to know that would allow us to navigate the days and weeks ahead more gracefully.

Diane and I will celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary this June. We were just tonight talking about how we might celebrate that. We talked about going to a B&B in the Hill Country. We imagined taking a trip to the beach. We even thought about a longer trip on an airplane. But we don’t know how the future will unfold. We don’t know how to plan for this big unknown.

But if we knew, and if the path into the next weeks and months was more clear, we would surely be able to plan and dream of our getaway. Our lives would begin to be shaped by that hope. We’d look at places to stay. We’d plan for excursions. We’d consider how to spend our time during the day. But we don’t know, so we can only dream and imagine. We can’t really plan.

Our Christian hope is secured in Jesus’ resurrection. It is made certain by God’s promises. It is as certain as the witness through the ages of countless men and women who have lived and honored God by their day-to-day lives.

How much does the certain hope of the resurrection and the life of the world to come shape your decisions daily? Surely there are temptations you eschew because you have a greater hope than the momentary pleasure the temptation offers. Certainly there are choices you make each day because you want to honor God who has saved you by his grace and holds out the promise of life.

Hope shapes our lives. Worthy hope – centered in Jesus – will shape our lives in the very best way.

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