I simply want to encourage you to live in the reality of the resurrection of Jesus today. His resurrection points to our resurrection and to our being transformed into true and perfect people. I know this world is hard and we are ready for it to end. But, take heart – Jesus is here, the resurrected Jesus is making all things new. The work of transformation has begun. All we have to do is look forward expectantly to the day when we get to enjoy it in full. Paul says it best:
“And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. … everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. … Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. …But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies. Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 15:19-57
May we all live today as resurrected people with resurrection hope. Not as people just waiting for this life to pass and we move on to the next. But as people who are living in resurrected victory today – looking forward to complete and total transformation tomorrow.
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
Take a second and think of three things you truly hope for. What are they? Now, who or what are you depending on to see those things become reality for you? How confident are you that what you hope for will happen?
The Bible speaks of hope quite a bit. In fact Paul lists it among the three greatest gifts the Spirit gives us – faith, hope, and love. But, there is a difference between the hope the Bible speaks of and the hope we talk about. For us hope often comes off as wishful thinking. I hope I win the lottery even though I know the chances are slim to none that I actually will. That kind of hope has very little to no confidence behind it. Partly because that hope is grounded in this world and depends on someone or something from this world to make it happen.
The hope God talks about and that the Holy Spirit gives us is more than a wishful though. Biblical hope carries with it the idea of confident expectation. This kind of hope has an assurance about it. Romans 5:5 tells us the hope we get from God is a hope that does not disappoint. Now, that is the kind of hope we need. It is that kind of hope that gives life, energy, and motivation to keep striving forward.
The biggest reason for the confidence and assurance we have in this hope is that the source of this hope is beyond us. The source of this hope is trust worthy and dependable. Jesus is our hope (1 Timothy 1:1). This hope doesn’t come from within us, it comes from Him. So, if we are lacking confidence in our hope the first thing we need to seriously consider is the source of our hope. Is our hope placed in the right place? Is it in Jesus?
Sometimes we grow frustrated in our hope because of what we are hoping for. Hoping to win the lottery is always going to be frustrating. So, what should we hope for? Should we hope for better? Should we hope for heaven? Absolutely. Jesus said, in Revelation 21, that He is making all things new. That is what we can hope for – better and new things! It is resurrection hope!
If you are feeling hopeless today, know you don’t have to stay that way. Trust Jesus – He will give you hope!
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.
Jesus tells a group of religious leaders a short story in Matthew 21. He tells them about two sons both of which were asked to go to work. The first son said no but after thinking about it decided he better get to it, so he ended up going to work. The second son said, “Yes, I will go” but then never actually does. Jesus asked which son was obedient? Of course, it was the son that actually went to work. You see, our words can only get us so far before they require us to take some action.
The grit God has given us (2 Timothy 1:7) is to be used in our every day lives, not just in the toughest moments of life, but all the time. God expects us to live out our faith and not to just talk about it. He expects us to actually do what we say. If we say we believe in Jesus then our life and actions need to reflect that belief. We need to be doers. He expects us to take what He has given us, the Spirit of grit, and actually do something with it. That means we need to live a gritty life.
Another way He explains this is in the story of the talents in Matthew 25. Three servants are given some talents. Two of the servants do something with the talents given and multiply them. The third servant just protects the one given because he is afraid to lose it. He doesn’t want to take the risk. So, he does nothing with it. He is called the lazy and wicked servant and the master takes the talent from him.
The things God has given us are meant to be used. We are supposed to take a risk with them in order to be obedient to God and be a doer of His word. That is what James mean when he says we need to be a doer and not just a listener. He means we have been given a spirit of power, well we better display that power. We have a spirit of love, well we better love. We have a spirit of discipline, well we better show some discipline. In almost every case it will require some grit.
God has not given us a spirit of laziness or called us to a life of ease. He has given us a spirit of grit – a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. God has given us the necessary talent to expand His Kingdom. We are called to use it, to take the risk, and live a gritty life. God is ready to use that gritty life to change lives and make Kingdom impacts. Be gritty. Live gritty.
Pastor Matt Huff leads Portland Central Nazarene Church. He loves being in ministry and seeing lives transformed by the power of Christ.