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Ask Pastor Kevin Response

Are we as Christ-followers only allowed to hope in the Lord? Is it wrong to hope for other things too? Is it okay to hope for a certain kind of relationship? What about marriage? Can you hope for children? A new job? A different house?  Is it wrong to hope for any of these things, and if someone does, does it meant that you do not have hope in Christ?

These questions are all responses to a recent blog about disappointments in life.

There are three main questions to consider as you think through the issue of where you place your hope.

What is the nature of your hope?

What are you wanting that object to do for you? Notice the intended end of your hope in this quote from my previous blog:

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.

… Jesus is the only person that provides true hope of life change.

The object of hope is that “perfect” thing that will make your life better. You place your hope in that thing that you hope will complete you, make you happy, truly satisfy you. The intended end of your hope is completion, to be whole, total, or satisfied.

If that is the nature of your hope, then as mentioned in the blog, you will only be ultimately disappointed. Christ-followers are to place their ultimate hope in Jesus.

Ask yourself where you place your hope. … 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.

What is the difference between hope and desire?

Hope as described above has as its nature the idea of ultimate satisfaction. However, often people use the term hope as desire. When used as desire, your ultimate hope can still be in Christ even though you desire something as well. There are many great things any particular day that you can hope for or desire.

These two terms are basically synonymous in the following examples:
I hope/desire for a new house. I hope/desire to have children. I hope/desire to get married. I hope/desire for it to rain.

The way that you keep these various hopes or desires from becoming sinful is to consider these desires in light of God’s greater plan. It is not sinful to desire. Desires only become sinful when the person wants his or her desire more than God and His plan. Instead of saying, “God if it is Your will, please give me my desire,” you functionally say, “God I must have my desire if I am ever going to be truly happy, satisfied, or complete.” Essentially, you tie your contentment to an object, feeling, or state rather than being content in Christ and satisfied with God’s plan for your life.

James writes, “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. … You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:2-4).

The Bible calls this person an adulterer because even though he or she is in relationship with God through Christ, the object of desire for ____________ is greater than satisfaction in Christ. Essentially as the bride of Christ, our hearts are to be loyal and dedicated to our ultimate husband, Jesus Christ.

In answer to the question above, “Is it wrong to hope for other things?” The answer is no, if by hope you mean desire according to God’s will. What you must always want more is God’s will to be done. Therefore, hope for the things you desire, pray for them, and ask God to grant them according to His will.

How much do you hope for it?

One other issue to consider is how much you hope for something. These are a series of very helpful questions that are good to ask in regard to testing your hope. If you can answer, “Yes,” to the following questions, then your hope has transitioned into a sinful hope.

Do I want this so much that I am willing to sin to get it?
Do I want this so much that I am willing to sin if I do not get it?
Do I want this so much that I am willing to sin if I am afraid I am going to lose it?
Do I want this so much that I turn to it as a refuge?

If you answer in the affirmative to any of these questions, then you want or desire something too much. To put it another way, if you would answer, “Yes,” to any of these questions, then your hope is misplaced and sinful.

Join the Conversation

Do you have another question or way that you test your desires?