The other day, a 3-year-old pointed me and said ‘Jesus!’. After I made sure that Jesus was not physically in the room, I realized he could see the tattoo on my back that says ‘j’espere’. (P.S. can I tell you that this kid is obviously a genius because he is three and he knows what the word ‘jesus’ looks like on paper) (P.P.S. my tattoo doesn’t actually say Jesus though, so he’s not like a super genius.)
J’espere may look like Jesus to the untrained eyes of a 3-year-old, but it actually means ‘I hope’ in french.
Even before I was walking with Jesus, I’ve always been someone known as a hoper. And in Christ, hoping still defines me. I hope. That’s who I am.
But at the same time, I know He calls me to set my hope fully on the grace to be brought to me at the day of Christ Jesus. Fully. That means all my hope on that one day. No hope left for anything else.
So sometimes I get confused: How can I hope for things I want in this life and then also hope only for the return of Jesus?
Because of prepositions. (I’m on a prepositions kick in case you can’t tell. #wordsmatter.)
I can hope for anything. I think God is totally down with you hoping for marriage, hoping for a kid, hoping for a job, hoping for ministry success, hoping for respect, for love, for whatever your heart dreams up.
But I think He’s weird about what we hope in. (And by weird I mean, obsessively jealous for you to put all your hope in one place: Him.)
How can you tell if you are hoping ‘in‘ something or hoping ‘for‘ something? Look at what dictate what you do and who you are.
What hope dictates what you do?
You will determine what you do today, tomorrow and this year based on what you hope ‘in’. Things you hope ‘for‘ will be laid before God with open hands, but things you hope ‘in‘ will dictate your life.
I don’t think that’s wrong or bad to make plans to pursue what you hope ‘for‘, but ultimately your life will be enslaved to what you hope ‘in’. Look at your decisions – what is the non negotiable driving hope that you build your life around?
Do you build your life around getting married, having kids, getting earthly respect? Do you reject any decision that might sabotage your ability to get those things? Or do you build your life around that day of Christ Jesus, rejecting any decision that might hinder your ability to see His grace fully in that day?
What hope dictates who you are?
Our personal worth and value is determined by what we hope ‘in’, not what we hope ‘for’.
If we hope fully in Jesus, then our value and worth will never waver. That sounds neat, but that’s not what I experience in my life, which lets me know there are things I hope ‘in‘ other than Jesus.
I don’t just hope ‘for‘ God to use me in a visible way, I hope ‘in’ that. I know that because when I don’t see the visible fruit of my ministry, I feel less valuable and significant.
Does your worth ebb and flow with how close you are to having your hopes realized? Do you become defensive, panicked, angry or bitter if something looks like it might get in the way of those things? Do you feel personally rejected if you don’t see them happening? Do you feel less loved or valued by God if He doesn’t deliver?
We feel that way because we are hoping ‘in’ those things, not just ‘for’ them. We are hoping in them for our sense of significance and worth.
At the end of the day, I’m a hoper. I was made to hope. You were too.
God gave you something to hope in that will never fail, which means – as long as we are hoping ‘in’ the right thing, we will never be in despair, we will never be hopeless. We may hope ‘for‘ things that don’t happen, but as long as what we hope ‘in‘ is secure – we will never be hopeless.
Hope ‘for’ anything. Ask for anything. Pray with tears and words and fasting and all your heart.
But hope ‘in’ Christ alone. Hope ‘in’ Him for all your value, all your significance, all your salvation, all your satisfaction. Hope in Him, and your hope will not disappoint.