August 5, 2012

Shameless Hope

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- August 5, 2012

No one whose hope is in You will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. Psalm 25:3

We are shameless when our hope is in our Savior Jesus Christ. Hope in Jesus resides in a no shame zone. We have nothing to be ashamed of when our hope is in heaven. Others may make fun of our simple faith, but they cannot shame us. Ironically, critics of faith are the ones to be ashamed. They are without hope. Hope outside of Christ is a caricature of positive expectations. Misplaced hope is a shame. It is a sham. It leads to deep disappointment and disillusionment. Shame is the reward for sin. On the other hand, freedom is the fruit of hope. We have nothing to be embarrassed about when we hope in the eternal. We have something solid to look forward to when we look to the Lord for hope and encouragement. Hope in Jesus is never put to shame.

However, hope is often related to our hurt. It is out of our pain that hope in Christ seems the most compelling. Our pain from suffering produces a need and a capacity for hope. Suffering enlarges the heart by creating the power to sympathize. When we have lived in poverty, we have more of a tendency to empathize with the poor. When we, or a loved one, have combated disease, our prayers are on the lookout for the ill. When we have seen our families ripped apart by death or divorce, we have a soft spot in our hearts for a single parent and the children. It is in our hope that we are able to extend hope to the hopeless. We can be grateful for the occasional grief we encounter if it saves us from hopeless hard-heartedness. Hope-filled hearts are on the lookout for those seeking the Lord. So it is out of our hurt that hope comes alive for others and ourselves.

Furthermore, our hope is reserved for us in heaven. Our heavenly Father owns our hope. He is an owner whom we never have to be embarrassed about. Our Savior’s hope will never bring shame to our situation. No rational thinking person would say, “What a shame that Christians have forgiveness of their sins, abundant living on earth and the hope of heaven.” If anything, people without hope may be jealous and ashamed of their own hopeless condition. Lastly, the Lord dispenses hope liberally and indiscriminately. Jesus is not stingy with hope. He extends hope as a generous giver, gladly and cheerfully. It gives God great joy to give hope to His children. His part is to give; our part is to receive.

So heaven’s hope is alive and well. It is waiting for the engagement of faithful followers of Jesus. Like a secret garden accessible by faith alone, there is a luscious environment of hope for our enjoyment. We can sit and smell the flowers of God’s faithfulness. We can bite into the deliciously juicy fruit of God’s peace. We can stand without fear in the warm light of the Lord because we are full of hope. Hope lifts the veil of shame and replaces it with the face of encouraging expectations. Pessimism is replaced with optimism. Inertia is replaced with energy. Excuses are replaced with ambition. Defeat is replaced with victory. We can be extremely grateful and unashamed that our hope is in Jesus. Hope may be lost for a season, so do not be ashamed to continually seek the Lord. Seek Him while He can be found (Isaiah 55:6). You will find hope in Him. Hope is God’s way to love and encourage you and others. Hope is not ashamed.

Taken from Reading #16 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”…

Post/Tweet this today: Shame is the reward for sin, but hope in Jesus is never put to shame. #shame #hope

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