Name one word that describes your emotional state at this moment?
Depending where you are at in life, your burdens, your zeal for this day, you may be feeling happy, sad, lonely, excited, or frustrated.
I have no idea what you wrote down, but I’d love to hear it in the comments! I can imagine that if we put all our words together we would have a wide and varied list of descriptions. Our emotions change day to day, moment to moment, even when some seem persistent enough to poke at us for a season.
My word would be filled or freaking out depending on the attitudes in my house, the schedule on my phone, and the news on the screen.
Hope is different. Romans 5:5 tells us that Hope doesn’t disappoint us.
And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
It does not shame us.
It does not disgrace us.
It does not confuse us.
Can you imagine what it would be like to live without hope?
I pray you do not know. Without it our emotions and life itself feel so confusing, so broken beyond repair, so disgraceful.
Paul’s heart screamed out to the Galatians that hope was in front of them despite life’s confusion and doubts. Hope was worth gripping onto with all their might, even as someone tried to drag it away. Hope does not disgrace.
Let’s read Galatians 5:2-6 to hear more:
Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
The false brothers, the Jewish believers that insisted on circumcision for the Galatians, were trying to sever their relationship with Jesus, sever their relationship with salvation. Their method of dispensing the law was confusion, so Paul uses straightforward language. Earlier in Galatians we saw his linear arguments about the place of the law in life after Christ Jesus. We saw the place of sonship in Abraham, sonship in Christ, and the technical differences between the two. Now Paul just says it like it is:
Circumcision, not necessary. It doesn’t matter. End of story. (Galatians 2:2)
So often in this confusing world we need someone to do that for us.
And Paul does:
We cannot keep the whole law. (Galatians 2:3)
There is sin in us, sin in the world, and we cannot make it better. We can’t wish it away. We can’t ignore it or it will choke us. It will push us off the cliff, and we will find ourselves watching as grace slips away from our line of sight.
Obviously, this is not freedom.
Satan’s breed of confusing us – whispering in our ears we’re not enough and we’re just fine on our own, all at the same time – it scratches to try to sever us from God and His goodness, His mercy. (Galatians 2:4)
Paul wants better for the Galatians and he wants better for us.
“For through the Spirit…”
The Spirit brings something new into the confusion that literally makes things right. Makes us righteous and changes our lives with hope.
Hope shines Christ into confusion.
Circumcision, uncircumcision – none of it matters. That is hope. Letting Christ be the center is where freedom is.
Just letting Him live out and live loud in our life;
letting Him, through the Spirit already in us by His grace, infiltrate all of our life, all of our heart, our soul, our mind, our strength,
that is freedom.
We aren’t free falling. We are held tightly in His righteousness, in freedom won for us.
We have hope.
Hope speaks over the voices that create all the confusion. Life might look or feel confusing now, or at least some days, but we eagerly wait, Paul says, for that moment, that time when all things will be new before our eyes. We pass on that hope to our children and to our families, to our friends, because who wants to live without hope, without freedom?
Today might be confusing, but Christ lives loud. The Spirit lives loud constantly reminding us…
“Oh yeah, hope.”
Hope deals with the big stuff, so we can bring it into the little stuff. Hope walks into your life shaped like grace and works into the fabric of everything around you.
Hope is loud like that too.
And hope does not disappoint, does not shame, does not disgrace.
What things in life feel confusing or produce anxiety for you? (Like wars, family arguments, etc.)
What emotion is your least favorite to deal with? (anger, fear, excitement, etc.)
What difference does hope make in the day-to-day in your home or work, as you make dinner, talk to your family, do work projects, etc.? Where do you see Jesus living loud in the everyday?
There are a lot of etc.’s in my examples. What hope is there in the fact that Jesus holds all the etc.’s?