You will notice that anybody that has ever achieved notable success in anything in this life achieved it because they never lost the hope of achieving that success. This fact holds true even in the body of Christ because it is God ordained. The spiritual weight of having hope and never losing it is more than that of the human effort that is put into achieving any desired goal. All efforts and no hope always end in futility because at the slightest resistance, efforts wane and fail without hope remaining strong.
There are three things required for a successful walk with God in this life as a believer, faith, hope and love (1 Corinthians 13:13). Love is the greatest of the three and understandably so because it is the nature of God and being born of Him, it is an attribute of His that mark us out as His children. 1 John 4:7 says every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. The importance of faith is underscored by the revelation in Hebrews 11:6 that without faith it is impossible to please God. Hope is the precursor of faith. These three do not work independently in the believer’s life, they work together to bring the fullness of God’s purpose to pass (Galatians 5:6, Romans 5:5).
As God requires that His Children walk in love because He has given us the wherewithal to do so (we have His nature by His Spirit Who indwells our spirits – Romans 5:5), He also requires that we walk in faith and never lose hope in His promises.
WHAT IS HOPE?
Hope is defined as expectation of something happening. For the believer, hope must always be tied to what God has promised or what God has said. It is expecting what God has said to happen. Apostle Paul said we hope for what we have not seen, as we do not need to hope for what we have seen (Romans 8:24). Whatever God will do in our lives starts from His promise and as at the time we obtain the promise, those things are yet to be seen. God demands that we expect whatever He has promised to happen, because not only can He not lie but He also cannot fail.
Satan overcomes so many believers by keeping them in the realm of the senses. Once they look around and what they see or feel is different or far from what God has said, they lose their expectation, they give up hope. God does not want us to walk in that realm, He wants us to walk in the realm of His promises, the realm of the unseen and the unfelt, for that is where He is. His promise, His word supersedes whatever we can see or feel.
In God’s kingdom, once you lose hope, you lose everything because keeping hope is what puts you in a position to act on what God has said (which you have believed). If you lose hope, you have simply thrown away what you believed and you cannot effectively act on what you do not believe anymore. Faith is acting on what you believe, what you are expecting, that is why the bible calls it the substance of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1). It is the only tangible evidence you have (your action due to what you believe) that what you expect (which you have not seen) will happen. If you are not acting on God’s word (His promises), check it out, it is because you do not believe Him or you did but have thrown the belief away because of one reason or the other.
As a believer, if you have any issue in your life that does not glorify God and you want it dealt with, your starting point is to find out what God has to say about it. God has made provision for all our needs to be met in His word, His word is His promise to us, His covenant. Once you get God to reveal His promise to you on the matter, then you believe it. This gives you immediate respite, it kindles an expectation of what God has promised irrespective of your present circumstance or situation. Your belief gives you hope, your hope determines your action consequently. Your action on what you believe, your action on your expectation is the expression of your faith.
There are times you see believers say they have faith but their actions are far from that of someone expecting anything positive to come out of their situations. God would not turn up in such situations because they simply do not believe His promise or they did but have stopped believing, they have lost hope.
TWO TYPES OF HOPE
There is hope you have as a result of the promises that God has given and there is natural hope which is expecting something to occur given the space of time. A woman who has not conceived but have not reached menopause has natural hope of conceiving (all things being equal). However, there is no natural hope for the woman after menopause. If there will be hope thereafter, it will have to be based on God’s promise (supernatural hope) that the naturally impossible will be made possible by God.
As believers, we are not supposed to base our lives on natural hope but on the promises of God. Satan can mess with natural hope (by making all things not to be equal) but can never mess with hope based on God’s promises. Natural hope is not protected against the onslaught of Satan, supernatural hope is protected against everything that is of Satan because it is backed by the entire force of God’s omnipotence. Your hope as a believer must always be based on God’s promises.
I often tell people that most believers continue to fail not because of their perceived enemies but because they refuse to renew their minds with God’s word and get their thinking straightened out. ‘Enemies’ centric believers hardly have any enduring victories over the works of Satan but God centric believers do. How would you expect God’s power to work for you when you do not have His promises and so do not believe them? Your expectations will remain that of failure and defeat (what Satan is doing and can do) unless and until you start to and continue believing God’s promises (what God has promised and will do). With negative expectations, you should not expect God to turn up because you do not honor Him, you do not believe Him. Someone would say ‘but I believe Him’ and I’d be like ‘if you do, why are your expectations negative’? The fear you have comes from negative expectations, a tell-tale sign of having lost hope or having no hope based on God’s promises. Victory over the battles of this life starts from knowing God’s promise and believing them, expecting them to be in your life because God said they would be. When you believe God’s word and act on it, the word contends with Satan on your behalf and that is the only reason why you win. Satan is no match for God’s word.
HOPE OF ETERNAL SALVATION
We all know that there is a reward in heaven for living right here on earth (Revelation 22:12, Galatians 6:8). What Satan does is to get believers to lose this hope of God’s reward in heaven for living to please Him here on earth. Once believers lose this hope, they cast away restraint at the slightest impulse and live lawless lives believing that it does not matter because God will always forgive their sins. Yes, God will always forgive the believer’s sins when they sin and ask Him to, but why would they continue sinning if indeed they believe God that there is a reward in heaven for living right here on earth? (Except of course they never believed or have stopped believing). Only a believer that has lost this hope will not strive to live and please God here on earth.
We must not lose the hope of our salvation, if we do, we will live like any other unbeliever for there will be no compelling reason to work hard and subdue the flesh in the honor of God. Any preaching/teaching/life style that in any way allows or encourages believers to live like the hopeless (Ephesians 2:12) is that of the anti-Christ whose mission is to cause the believer to live contrary to God’s will here on earth. Such believers put themselves at great risks, put other believers at the same risks through their negative influences and are of no use in getting unbelievers to come to salvation.
God rewarding the believer in heaven for living to please Him while here on earth is not a myth, it is based on God’s promise and it is our continued belief in this promise until the end that causes us to exercise restraint, deny self and turn down the pleasures of this world to live to please God. As there is the reward for living to please God, there is no reward for not living to please Him while here on earth but losing out by the believer so caught and this means an awful lot.
You must find out what God has said in His word concerning your life and under no circumstance should you stop believing what He has said if you intend to see it happen in your life. You must never lose hope, not only regarding things of this life but more importantly things of the life to come. Maybe you have missed out on these in some ways, it is not the end, you can make mid-course corrections, change your orientation and thinking, asking God to help you and He will. You are born again to always win but the beginning of all victory is never losing hope.
Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all (1 Timothy 4:15).