Greetings, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series, where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has shared many revelations of spiritual truth with me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we seek to understand the effective use of hope.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Effective Use of Hope
"But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; for an helmet, the hope of salvation." First Thessalonian, Chapter 5, Verse 8
Brothers and sisters, hope is essential to developing trust. "Is hope--the grandeur of trust--desirable? Then human existence must constantly be confronted with insecurities and recurrent uncertainties." But why do we need insecurity and recurrent uncertainties to develop hope?
Because we are experiential beings, we arrive on earth void of all desirable qualities. But these qualities are potentials within that can be actualized. So it is with hope. Living in our environment, with its insecurity and recurrent uncertainties, calls forth the desire for security and certainty. Without the stimulus of insecurity and recurrent uncertainties, no desire would arise within our souls, and our spiritual natures would remain unfurled. So strong is this desire in the face of insecurity and uncertainty that it translates potential hope into actual hope.
And this hope continues to develop in the face of the insecurity and uncertainty. This is very hard on our emotional state and engenders quite bit of anxiety and dread, and sometimes we find ourselves hard-pressed without any means of escaping from our intolerable predicament. In such situations, the spiritual nature begins to assert itself, and gradually filling us with the consciousness that there is more to life than "meat and drink." We begin to feel that there is a part of us that is not subject to the ups and downs of mortal life, a part of us that can experience spiritual qualities. Hope is the manifestation of the assurance of the promise of Jesus to give eternal life to all who believe in him. And this hope appears in all who believe in him.
Sometimes in our journey through life, we enter into the valley of a disagreeable experience. At first, we are unable to do anything about it. It appears that we are trapped and that there is no way out. All of the resources at our command prove inadequate to deliver us from the valley of pain, suffering, and disappointment. Sometimes in the valley of disagreeable experience, our cherished dreams perish, and we sink into a quagmire of depression. At such times we must marshal hope to sustain us as we move through this valley of misery. Time eventually delivers us from the intolerable suspense as we adjust to the new situation. And while we are adjusting, hope functions to pull us through. Hope prevents us from sinking into despair and hopelessness. And when we successfully negotiate this experience, we find that our trust has increased in the goodness of the heavenly Father, for we recognize that he led and guided us out of it. Hope always expects tomorrow to be better than today. And this hope will lead and guide us through every earthly struggle and into the arms of Jesus Christ when the mortal life ends. Hope is the positive expectation that our souls will survive this life.
So we are making a difficult journey through this life, one that is designed to develop our spiritual nature. We must possess ourselves of spiritual qualities that will justify our resurrection, for we know that "flesh and blood cannot see God." Exercising hope gives strength to our efforts and determination to overcome the difficulty. It insures that we will continue to the very end, trusting in the heavenly Father through his Son, Jesus, every step of the way. Thus we gain insight as to how we can use our spiritual nature to turn the drive of our material lives.
No matter how difficult the struggle may be, all struggles in the mortal life are temporary. If we continue to struggle, we shall overcome. We will gain those spiritual qualities that will allow us flourish in the very face of the difficulty; we shall develop a spiritual character. And by combining this hope with faith, that is, by combining an anticipation for better times with the wholehearted belief that we will survive this life, hope becomes effective not only in pulling us through the valley of sorrow and disappointment but also in developing strong and noble characters. By going through adverse experiences, we develop a resilience of character that is further suited to deal with the insecurities and recurrent uncertainties of mortal life.
So often, our focus is fixated on the struggle that we completely ignore what the struggle is doing for us. We forget that the struggle is the raw material out of which the product of our character is woven. Too often, when human beings have everything given to them on a silver spoon, they utterly fail to develop a strong and enduring character. They wilt at the first signs of the storm cloud of trouble. But we acknowledge that sometimes it is hard to exercise hope in the face of what appears to be and is oftentimes a hopeless situation from the material perspective. How do we deal with the depression and the sense of hopelessness that is the result of unyielding fact? We must always remember that this material life is a temporary one but that the spiritual values we are evolving from this life are permanent. They will always be a part of us.
Remember, hope strengthens us so we don’’t collapse and give up. From a practical point of view, when we fail to exercise hope, we fail to avail ourselves of that superior spiritual power that will see us through with our dignity intact. When we are feeling overwhelmed, as we sometimes do, we should remind ourselves that the way we are feeling is a temporary state, and we should exert hope in the face of the situation. We should allow hope to pull us through. We should realize that things won’’t always be this way. Emotions are constantly changing, and we do eventually adjust to our present situation.
But the greatest practice of insuring that hope is effective is to seek the Father’’s will in the very midst of the despair. Seeking the Father’’s will provides the power, determination, the faith, and love, the courage, and all other things that are needful to spiritually conquer the situation that we are momentarily stuck in. It does take time for the outworking of this conquest, but if we will keep our hands to the plow of faithfulness in seeking his will, we will eventually plow the field of potential qualities and harvest the qualities of hope, faith, and trust that are so essential to the well-being of experiential beings who are just beginning the long eternal journey.
This concludes today's message on understanding the effective use of hope. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.