The Imperative Of Hope
[Do] not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
The writer of Hebrews stressed the importance of hope in our lives. He wrote, “Beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way” (6:9). He was saying, “I have been talking about falling away from the faith, but I am convinced that there are better things for you so that you can experience the things that accompany salvation.” He was not worried that these genuine believers were going to lose their salvation, but he was afraid they were going to miss out on the benefits of their salvation.
God has blessings for you in this life–in your marriage, in your work, in your relationships. You do not have to wait until you die to experience those blessings. By staying close to God, you can experience blessings in this life, and also rewards in the next life. In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul said there are real rewards that await those who are faithful, and those who miss out on those rewards are going to experience great loss. But Hebrews 6:10 says, “God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.” God has not forgotten you, the writer of Hebrews said.
There is a connection between diligence, perseverance, and hope. As somebody once said, “Diligence wavers when hope deteriorates.” The time we are most likely to give up in anything is when we lose hope. Isn’t that true in a marriage? You can be in a difficult marriage, but you will keep working at it until you lose hope. It is true in work. You can be in a miserable job, but as long as you have hope that conditions are going to change or the boss is going to change you will keep working at that job. But when you lose hope of the possibility of change, you resign. And that is true in our spiritual lives as well. Hope is the necessary ingredient for diligence in our faith. Hebrews 6:12 commands us to “not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
What does it mean to hope? First of all, faith is an important part of hope. Faith is not a little fuzzy feeling you get on the inside that maybe everything is going to work out okay. Faith is not just a desire, a pipe dream. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is believing that God will do what He has promised to do and acting accordingly. The second part of hope is patience. That word “patience” means “large emotions.” It is a picture of a large reservoir that does not evaporate even under the scorching heat of the sun. To have patience means to have a large reservoir of hope in your life that does not dissipate until God has fulfilled His promise. Patience is refusing to give up until God fulfills His promise.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “God’s Anchor In Life’s Storms” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2018.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.