Hope In Christ

What event or circumstance would cause you to give up on your faith? Like me, I am sure you know people that have hit that mark. They have come to a place in their life where they could not reconcile their circumstances and their Christian faith so they walked away from the hope in Christ.
 
For others, maybe it’s not a danger of walking away from faith but perhaps it is a feeling as though your best days are behind you. You have no hope for the future and so apathy or even cynicism sets in. Or maybe you have completed a major goal in life and for a while you were able to ride the momentum of that event but that season ended and you’re left wondering if there is a next step. It leaves you feeling aimless, disoriented, uncertain, apathetic or cynical.
 
That could have been the Apostle Paul’s story. See Acts 9:15-16. The season of traveling ministry that Christ had for Paul was very successful and very effective. While his missions work was very effective, it wasn’t without personal suffering. See 2 Corinthians 11:23-28.
 
For Paul, the way he previously accomplished successful ministry had come to an immediate end. He was chained to a soldier, in prison in Rome. But Paul knew something that we all need to hear today.
 

The close of an season is not the end of a destiny.

 
Whether you’re reaching a milestone or facing an unexpected loss, you may not know how to go on, but you have to trust that as long as you have life and breath, God has a plan for your next step.
 
Read Colossians 1:24 – 2:5. Paul rejoices in his suffering and his strenuous contending because He knows that God is still working through Him for a purpose. Christ is with him and in him! This reality is the cause of sustaining hope.
 
After all he has been through, Paul never gave up (see Colossians 1:29; 2:1). These are not the words of a defeated man. These are the words of a determined man who has his Hope firmly in Christ.
 
When we face the end of one chapter of our lives and before we begin the next, it often serves as the catalyst for a battle. Between the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next, is a battlefield.
 
Whenever we feel like we’ve reached the end and can’t keep going, it’s simply a temporary illusion the devil’s trying to maintain. As challenging as it may be, if you want to live a life with ongoing momentum, a life that’s big and full and bursting with joy and meaning, then you need to see God in the end of things as well as the beginning. I have found that when I think life is at it’s worse, God says “The best is yet to come.” See Isaiah 61:1-3.
 
This is why Paul continued to contend. He knew the power of the Gospel of Christ. Those were results worth contending for. Paul didn’t give up or give in to being a victim, or grow apathetic. Instead, he placed his hope in Christ and fought the good fight of faith.
 
He wasn’t striving or contending in his own power. Paul’s labor was energized and enabled by the powerful presence of Christ, who strengthened Paul in any and all circumstances. Christ can energize your life, enabling you to thrive in all situations. Christ’s energy at work in you gives you hope in all circumstances.
 

Hope in Christ helps you to believe the best for the future.

 
See Jeremiah 29:11. Choose to see the right here and right now as where God has placed you and will bless you. Your present, as well as your future, are not unknown to God. In the midst of our end points, we can’t always see it, but God’s got this incredible way of making things work his way.
 
God wastes nothing in your life, and somehow, He weaves everything together for His glorious future and our good, as only He can. See Romans 8:28.
 
In your life right now, something may be over, but Jesus’ work in your life is far from over. Contend so that your hope and faith survives and thrives. But also contend for those who are watching. See Colossians 2:1-2.
 
Paul did not turn in on himself in the midst of his sufferings. He believed that his life had a special purpose for others, and he viewed suffering as a privilege. Paul did not suffer as a private discipline that would bring him some personal spiritual benefit. He looked at the benefits it brought to others.
 
Who is watching you as you go through your times of uncertainty and suffering? What do they see in you — Hope in Christ OR hopelessness?