I ran from my call to ministry…for years…16 years to be exact. Why? Amongst other things, I did not have confidence in who I was in Christ and struggled to see that God could use me in ways beyond what I saw as my natural limitations. When I finally found myself able to say yes to God it was 1 Peter 3:15 that the Lord used to inspire me.
In your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is in you. 1 Peter 3:15
I had found more and more hope in Christ and that hope was beginning to fill me up to the point that it was spilling over into conversations with others. So, I did it. I published a little letter called ‘Have Bible, will travel’ and sent it to churches and ended up becoming a preacher, then pastor, then church planter, etc. God is good!
Hope. To expect a positive future result. Hope is like fuel. Like a car, we seem to have a reservoir that is filled with hope and thus empowers us to mobilize. As a person can be a conduit for the goodness of God when their ‘Hope Reservoir’ is full, they can also struggle to share hope or even experience hope when that same reservoir becomes empty. Much Christian ministry is done here…where we diagnose a person as “low on hope in Christ” and thus stuck and incapable of sharing a hope they do not possess.
When hope is lost or diminished, the Christ-follower feels insecure. Those feelings, if left unchecked, will derail us from the abundant life in Christ. Peter seemed to know that as he penned his first letter to scattered Christians and thus wrote:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of His great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. 1 Peter 1:3-4
When the “Hope Reservoir’ is low, we can retreat to the security of this promise and be filled. The power of Jesus’ resurrection means our hope in Him is living. We can know that our hope is secure. To help us settle this matter, Peter uses three powerful words to paint the picture. Imperishable – God fills us with a living hope that will never die. Undefiled – God imparts to us a living hope that is untouchable by the evil in this present world. Unfading – God grants us living hope that remains new and fresh in spite of age or use. As you share the ‘hope that is in you’ be sure to share from a reservoir that has been filled by this security.
Many who once had hope have found it waning for one reason or another. They find they have no hope to share because their ‘Hope Reservoir’ didn’t sustain itself. Peter also wrote to this issue:
Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be sober-minded and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13
The biggest reason that people lose hope is that they accidentally or incidentally set some of their hope on something other than Christ and His grace for our lives. Like being ‘a little bit pregnant’, it is impossible to be full of the hope of Christ when our reservoir is tainted by something else. God wants to sustain our hope by keeping us full to the brim of Jesus and our active participation is needed.