Disappointment. Do you know what I’m talking about? Are you currently there or have you been there in the past? Let me share with you one of the major reasons people face disappointment – because they place their hope in the wrong place.
Where do we often place our hope?
The sad reality is this: you can put your hope in almost anything. A person. A church. A pastor. A school. Biblical counseling. A new diet. Exercise. A promotion. A move. A new job. Education. A bowl of ice cream. A quiet evening. A good night’s rest. A vacation. A trip. Government. Justice. Food. A new relationship. Volunteering. Marriage. A new baby. An anticipated event.
It sounds something like this: “When this diet works, I will feel and be different.” “This church is the solution to my miserable life.” “This person (spouse, child, pastor, etc) is just what I need for a whole new life.”
What happens when we place our hope in the wrong place?
Whenever you place your hope in something or someone, you are depending on that thing or person to provide you what you are missing – usually it is a better life, a better attitude, a better day, a fix, a solution to a problem, resolution, encouragement, a way forward, or something similar. Under pressures of various kinds, you look to this thing or person to be the solution to your problem, whatever that is. You place the weight of your life on this other person or thing. The goal is that __________ (whatever it is you that on which or in which you place your hope) will lift you out of the pressure and provide relief, fun, good times, comfort, a better life.
You go for it. In courage you take the step. In anticipation you move forward. In eagerness you make a decision. However, in time you eventually realize that none of those things in which you have trusted has the strength to do what you have trusted them to do. Now disappointment. Sometimes very big disappointment.
The person you thought would do the trick does not. The diet you expected to grant you happiness fails. The church is not perfect. The marriage only brings more pressure. The new baby comes with a whole new set of problems in addition to the original ones. The promotion is empty. All of these things are fool’s gold, provide false hope, and will ultimately leave you worst off than you started, if these are the things in which you place your hope.
Where should we place our hope?
Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only person that provides true hope of life change. Consider what Paul writes in Romans 5:1-5.
1Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
What happens when we place our hope in Jesus Christ?
When you begin a relationship with Jesus through salvation, Jesus provides you everything you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:2-4). Where there was never any hope for change, in Christ there is. The power of the Spirit works in you to enable you, as you follow Christ, to do what honors God (Ephesians 1:19-23). As you do what honors God, your life does get better, even in those times and places where your circumstances do not change (Galatians 6:7-10).
You place your hope in the One who has the power to change your heart (inner man) which ultimately will lead through application of God’s Word to life change. You place your hope in the One who never leaves you or forsakes you (Matthew 28:20). You place your hope in the One who understands you, intercedes for you, and understands your circumstances (Hebrews 4:14-16). You place your hope in the One who does not disappoint.
You may be thinking, “How does Jesus not disappoint?” Great question. He does not disappoint because He loves you and does everything He says that He will do. Does He give you everything you desire? Does He say “Yes” to every prayer request? Does He fix the problem you have? Does He remove the pressure from you? Not necessarily. Instead He, by His grace, uses those things in your life to help you grow and change.
You may also be asking, “What is the change Jesus brings then if my circumstance may not change at all?” This is another great question. Life change begins at inner man change. What changes begins internally in the heart. You process your pressures and circumstances differently – which changes your inner and outer man (what you say and what you do) responses. So, the things you can control change because your response to the pressures in your life changes. The circumstances around which or to which you are responding may not change at all. So, Christ produces by His Word and Spirit change in you and your responses…which may or may not bring about circumstantial changes by God’s grace.
What do you do now?
Ask yourself where you place your hope. Is it a particular person? Is it a thing? Is it a relationship? What do you look to as the fix or solution to your life? Once you identify it, confess that before God and seek His forgiveness for placing your hope in anything but Christ. Turn to Christ. Worship Him. Pray to Him. Walk with Him in your daily living. Read about Him in the Scriptures. Consider His work on the cross, the power of the resurrection, the forgiveness of sins, His love for you. As you think through these things, let them motivate you to follow Him. In addition, get involved in a local church. You need other Christ-followers around you who can help you grow in wisdom, help you understand the Bible, and who will love you in the midst of your struggles.
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Where have you tended to place your hope outside of Christ?
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