I want to talk to you today about hope. Hope is one of the most fundamental components of life, and it’s something that we all have to grapple with at every stage in our lives.
When we’re children, we have hope for the future. We know that someday, somehow, we’ll be able to do things that we can’t do now—maybe even fly! As we grow older and realize that some things are harder than others, our understanding of what “hope” means changes; but it never goes away. We can always find hope in the future—even when it seems far away or impossible to reach. In this article we’ll see characteristics of christian hope.
The Bible is a powerful source of hope. Whether you’re reading the Old Testament or the New Testament, there are many passages that speak to the value of hope in our lives. Importance of hope in the bible is also discussed in this article.
Definition Of Hope In The Bible
What is hope? A definition that reminds me of a child making a wish over a cake lit with candles, the Cambridge Dictionary explains that hope is when one “…want(s) something to happen or to be true.”
Even though the little one squeezes and blows with all his might, it’s unlikely either Mom or Dad will provide the gift for which he’d wished. But the Bible describes hope much differently.
Together, we’ll explore what hope is according to scripture and why we need it so badly.
What Is Hope? Its Meaning & Significance
What is hope? In today’s culture, the word hope is often used to represent wishful thinking. But the Old Testament verb translated hope is qawa while the noun from the same root is tiqwa. Both mean “to trust and wait expectantly.”
Jeremiah 14:22 reads, “Therefore our hope (qawa) is in you, for you are the one who does all this.” The prophet is not fearful. He isn’t wondering if God will come through. Instead, Jeremiah confidently expects God to fulfill His promises to Israel.
The New Testament uses the verb elpizo and the noun elpis to relay its message. The difference, though, is that in the New Testament hope is no longer a mere part of speech. Hope is invested in and focused on someone—the person of Jesus.
Consider the words of 1 Timothy 4:10 (NIV), “That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope (elpizo) in the living God, who is the Savior of all people…” Unlike a child blowing out the candles on her birthday cake and making a wish, Biblical hope is not vain or fanciful thinking. Instead, hope rests in the sure and confident expectation that God, who sent Christ to pay the penalty for our sins, will meet all our needs both in the present and for all of eternity.
Hope begins with our faith in Jesus and the trust that we have been rescued for eternal life. This hope transforms our entire approach toward life.
What Does the Bible Say About Hope?
Hope builds anticipation. A Naval officer, my husband served in multiple deployments and training exercises. Whether he was gone for three months or more than a year, I always anticipated his return and carefully checked the days off the calendar.
Romans 8:24-25 says we look can look forward to our salvation in the same way. “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
Hope produces fruit. While writing to the believers in Rome, Paul wrote, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace” (Romans 15:13 NIV). Did you notice that God also gives us an abundance of other gifts? These include joy, peace, and the other fruits of the Spirit which you can read more about
Hope fills our hearts with praise. The promise of salvation is reason to celebrate as the writer of Psalm 71:14 proclaims, “As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more” (Psalm 71:14 NIV).
Hope builds character and teaches us the disciplines of faith. Several years ago, anxiety and depression ruled the day. My husband was boots-on-the-ground halfway around the world while my teenagers engaged in full-on rebellion.
Jesus was my only hope, and my faith grew stronger during that painful season. I learned to “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12 NIV).
Why Does Hope Play Such a Huge Role in the Lives of Christians?
Hope encourages Christians to change their perspective. Someone who believes this world is as good as it gets will live differently from the person who believes he or she has a forever-future full of abundance and joy. Hope has a way of getting us through whatever we are facing.
Christians can live peering through the lens of eternity-future. Instead of seeking after fame, wealth, sexual fulfillment, enlightenment, or any other source of personal pleasure that must be enjoyed at the moment, believers recognize that even the most beautiful of our experiences pale in comparison to what the Lord has in store for us. As 2 Corinthians 2:9 reads, “No…mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.”
Hope encourages Christians to live with boldness. People often post photos of their favorite restaurants, destinations, and vacation spots or share reviews of books they recommend. Followers of Jesus will one day feast at the wedding supper of the Lamb and know of one not-to-miss-destination—heaven.
2 Corinthians 3:12 (NIV) tells us, “…since we have such a hope, we are very bold”. We may or may not be sharing on social media about Jesus, but the hope that those we know, love, and care about will be with us spurs us on to tell others about His love and what it means to be a Christian.
Hope encourages Christians to take a different approach to suffering. When struggle and trial raise their ugly heads, the reminder that heaven awaits comforts weary souls. The Bible promises “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV).
The apostle Paul, who may have understood suffering more than any of the other apostles, wrote these words under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God will redeem the believer’s pain just as He did Christ’s.
Hope encourages Christians to live with intention. Scripture assures us we were made in the image of God. Not only that but we were “created for good works” (Ephesians 2:8-10). God made each of us to complete specific assignments based on our individual gifts and talents. No matter our past, He can use us to accomplish His purposes.
Hope encourages Christians because of our strong position. If we are already “seated in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 2:6) and protected through belief in Christ, nothing can harm us. No matter the danger or threat, God will be with us. Pandemics, disease, and death are unable to overcome what Jesus did on the cross two thousand years ago.
Characteristics Of Christian Hope
Expectation is focused on the long run. Hope, as it is defined throughout the Bible, is an expectation that something good will happen. Anticipate implies a feeling of eager anticipation.
And I pray that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes so that you can see the hope to which God has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance among the saints (God’s people). The Apostle Paul’s First Letter to the Ephesians
It’s easy to settle into the present moment and dwell on the difficulties at hand. Hope, however, anticipates something superior to what is currently apparent. The future is what gives hope its foundation. God gives Jeremiah encouragement for the future, assuring him that He has a plan for his life, in Jeremiah 29:11.
The LORD has stated, “For I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Isaiah 59:11
The words “hope and future” are translated to “an expected end” in the KJV.
The word “expect” appears once more.
Believe in yourself to find hope. In the past, I had trouble connecting hope with expectation, instead viewing it as a vague desire that might or might not come true. In my mind, hope was synonymous with broken promises. Without faith, all I had was hope. The foundation of hope is faith, I realized as I studied Hebrews 11:1. Hope is the confident anticipation of future good, even if it is not yet visible. For this reason, establishing faith is the starting point. A hopeless person is one who lacks faith. Hope is anticipating what is not yet visible to the senses. For context, consider Hebrews 11:1, which opens the “faith” chapter:
As the author of Hebrews puts it, “Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title dee) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality” (11:1). The Eleventh Chapter of Hebrews.
When we have faith in something, we expect good things to happen.
With patience comes hope.
Hope is frequently linked to the act of waiting in the Bible:
My soul waits for the Lord; in his word does my hope rest; I would rather have my soul wait for the Lord than for the morning’s watchmen to sound the alarm. Psalm 130:5-6
While waiting, one’s faith is tested. Hope that is seen is not hope at all, as stated in Romans 8:24, since one does not anticipate or wish for what they already possess. We must have faith in the process that takes place between recognizing our own needs and actually obtaining those needs’ fulfillment. Between the two, there is hope.
The human heart can’t handle having its expectations continually pushed back for an extended period of time. It’s not always simple to wait. In what ways can we have REASON TO EXPECT anything? The Bible assures us that putting our faith in God’s promises will not let us down or make us look foolish.
You should hold out hope if it takes a while to come about. Trust that it will arrive at some point!
Because the Holy Spirit has been so generously poured out into our hearts, “such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us.” Scriptural Reference: Romans 5:5
God is the source of all hope. According to Romans 15:13, the Holy Spirit enables us to have an abundance of hope:
Overflowing with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, may “the God of hope” fill you with joy and peace as you put your faith in him. Paul’s words in Romans 15:13
God willing, I pray. That which gives us hope is God, and the Holy Spirit. Similar to other Christian virtues, hope is something we can all share (faith, peace, joy, etc.). God’s strength is our source of provision.
The first step toward regaining hope is to restore some degree of faith in the world around you. The Bible guarantees that when you follow its instructions, you’ll experience an abundance of happiness, calm, and hope.
Importance Of Hope In The Bible
Losing hope or feeling like there is no more basis for hope in the promises of God is one of the most tragic things that can happen to a believer. Hope is the hands of faith because it tenaciously holds on to the expectation of the promise despite external evidence to the contrary. And now faith itself is the assurance of things not seen, since it constitutes the substance of those hopes (Hebrews 11:1). To put it another way, if faith is the noun, then hope is the verb that gives faith its expression in our lives. It assures us that our faith is founded on something solid and gives us something to look forward to. Hope is the “amen” that waits to see God’s promises fulfilled in our lives when He wills it for His glory, which is why faith is our “yes” to God’s promises.