Be Still Know
Romans 15.13 NLT
‘I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.’
Hope is a slippery word and so we need to be quite clear what Paul means by it. Normally when we use the word ‘hope’ there is a maybe in our voice. That is to say, we are not confident about something. So when I say that I hope it will be sunny tomorrow, you know that I mean well and would love to think that it might be sunny, but I also realise that it might not. Or if I say that I hope that the train will arrive on time, once again you will know that I’m not absolutely sure that that is what is going to happen. In order to understand Paul’s use of the word hope, we need to get rid of any suggestion of doubt, because he was absolutely confident that the future was secure in God’s hands. His future hope was built on the solid rock of Jesus’ death and resurrection. He doesn’t have any trace of doubt that what God has promised will come true.
The language of confident hope was so important for the Christians in Rome. Their daily life as Christians was a continual battle. They were few in number and surrounded by a sea of cynicism and opposition. Paul knew that it was crucial that they should be inspired and strengthened by their hope in Christ. But his language is amazing. He doesn’t merely suggest that they should be full of hope as they lived for Christ. He goes much further by suggesting that they should overflow with hope! That is to say that they wouldn’t merely have enough hope to keep them going, but have hope to spare to share with those around them.
In our society there are not many people who speak about hope as they look to the future. The normal language is one of threats and fears. But we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and in the power of the Spirit to overflow with his hope.
Question: Are you hopeful as you look to the future?
Prayer: Holy Spirit, I invite you to fill me to overflowing with hope as I live in your strength today. Amen
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