Lesson 5 -- fourth quarter 2003
October 5, 2003
© Copyright 2003, Christian Light Publications
A living, liveable hope for today
Generic hope is little more than wishful, pie-in-the-sky thinking. It has no certainty and no assurance of fulfillment, of becoming reality. Such hope more often leads to dashed dreams and crushed feelings, to despair and discouragement. "I hope they allow backyard burning tomorrow" and "I hope I get a tax refund" fall into that category. To live by this kind of generic hope is pointless and foolish.
Christian hope is entirely different. It is so certain and sure that we can stake our eternal destiny on it. Not only that, it forms such an integral part of the Christian's experience that he builds his life on it. You see, God intends His hope to affect our lives today, right now, not just give us peace and anticipation about our future. If our hope isn't livable, it isn't the real thing but only the generic stuff.
Let's revisit portions of today's text to see how this living, livable hope can reveal itself in our lives today.
A sound mind (1 Peter 1:13). Christian hope works an ongoing miracle of regeneration in the mind of the believer. That leaves the Christian with a sobriety and a purpose about life. We reject the intemperance of the world in favor the Spirit's control and discipline. Our hope's quieting calmness enables us to experience rest and peace in times of turmoil and uncertainty. This marvelous hope equips us to resolve personal conflicts, to reject impure thoughts, and to enjoy emotional stability.
Holy obedience (1 Peter 1:14-16). Since we have received new life through this divine hope, we choose to submit all aspects of our lives to the Father. As His children, we begin to develop and manifest some of His character traits. His holiness in us naturally motivates us toward obedience. Christian hope motivates us to search the Scriptures for the revelation of God's will . . . because we wish to obey. Those who have been blessed with this hope have likewise been blessed with a delight in obedience to the Father. That in turn causes us to mature further in holiness. And so it goes! Holiness, obedience, holiness -- and on and on -- what a terrific alternative to the world's vicious circles!
Sacrificial selflessness (1 Peter 2:5). One with Christian hope within has neither room nor interest in selfish pursuits. Like the One who gave him this hope, the Christian lives for the good of others. As the Master gave His life for him, so the disciple gives his life for the blessing and well-being of others. Believers present their bodies as "a living sacrifice" for "reasonable service" to all (Romans 12:1). This hope totally changes the focus and purpose of the lives it fills.
Magnifying Jesus (1 Peter 2:9,10). Christian hope always results in ample praise for the One who has given it. The believer who lives in hope will inevitably live out that hope, showing forth "the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9). We have gone from being alienated from God to being His very own people. May He be magnified through our sound minds, holy obedience, and sacrificial selflessness.
To echo 1 Peter 1:3 -- "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ"! His hope is real and liveable today . . . by you and me!
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