Advent: Hope

Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV) – “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Matthew 6:31&33 (NIV) – “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Matthew 6:26 (NIV) – “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Currently, we are in the advent season of HOPE. But what is hope? In the English language, we can use the verb “Hope” to mean both Desire & Trust.

DESIRE: “I hope-for/desire a mouthwatering Crunch Wrap Supreme at Taco Bell.” As we enter into the Christmas season, it is easy for us to “Hope-For.” We desire our treasures on earth–writing our Christmas lists, praying for snow, envying each other’s holiday vacations. In thinking about hope, our thoughts easily wander to the things for which we Hope-For.

TRUST: “I hope/trust you to keep your promise.” We cannot hope for something without putting our hope in someone. We write our Christmas lists in hope that our family or friends want to get us a present, and we pray for snow while hoping/trusting in the consistency of the seasons (shout out to Genesis 8:22). This is the second kind of hope: Hoping-IN. Spoiler alert, this type of hope points straight to Jesus. How do we get there? By seeking first his kingdom.

Hoping-IN Jesus unlocks a new capacity within us. Putting trust in Jesus has the powerful ability to over-write our desires. When we rely on Jesus to provide our daily bread, we care a little less about what fast-food taco chain it comes from and more about the Who behind it. By putting our Hope-IN Jesus, we rely upon Him for the things we Hope-For. By trusting Jesus’ provision, we discover the freedom of letting our desires go.

I know what you are thinking: “Time out, I like Taco Bell? Why can’t I just have that?” Well, you can settle for Taco Bell if you want… but settling for Taco Bell simultaneously tells Jesus that not only do you not trust him to provide for you, you also don’t think He could do any better.

C.S. Lewis said in The Weight of Glory,

If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.

Or as JJ Heller summarized,

I had an image of the life in front of me, and how I was gonna build it on my own. I’ve been settling for mud pies and microscopic dreams. You want more for me.

Jesus loves you infinitely more then you could ever imagine. He also has way bigger dreams for you then you have for yourself. It is scary to push pause on our instant gratification culture and step away from our desires. Putting our hope-IN Jesus, while a difficult journey to be sure, rewards us in ways we could never fathom. You are more valuable to Jesus then you could ever believe. Stop settling for microscopic dreams and start hoping in Christ’s great love for you.

CHALLENGE

  • What is stealing your peace this season?
  • How can you find rest in Jesus?
  • Where in your life do you feel peace?

By Ellie Heethuis | Byron Center, MI

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Posted in Devotionals