4 Reasons to have hope in Christ
Gospel work is a process. And there are days when the road ahead feels not just rocky, but downright treacherous. Christians have all had those days and it is in such moments that it can feel difficult to go on with Christ’s work. When all feels hopeless, here are some ideas of what you can do.
Consider the Birds of the Air
We often forget just how holistic God’s work is. God can manage the concerns of His creation; surely He can manage our concerns. Jesus once said:
“For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, what you will eat, and not for your body, what you will wear. Is your life not more than food and your body more than clothing? Consider the birds of the sky, that they do not sow or reap or gather produce into barns, and your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth more than they are? And who among you, by being anxious, is able to add one hour to his life span?” (Matthew 6:25–27 LEB).
Anxiety and worry is easy. Faith is hard. But if we lack faith, we need to look no further than the birds of the air to realise God’s faithfulness. And this isn’t some sort of “easy way out” theology. It advocates that we actually stop and observe — contemplate, pray, and then act. Notice the order: stop, observe, contemplate, pray, and then act.
Once we visibly observe God’s work, trust in Him can become much easier. In the midst of hopelessness, we must realise that we serve a God who shows us everyday that we can indeed have hope (Hebrews 11:1). Plus, through the Holy Spirit’s work of helping us to more clearly see what God does for believers in Jesus Christ, “this hope will not disappoint us”. (Romans 5:1-5)
Consider the Flowers of the Field
It can seem a bit cliché at times, but it’s an important reminder: God’s creation is beautifully clothed, so why would He not also care for you? In the same passage we have already looked at, Jesus goes on to say:
“And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe the lilies of the field, how they grow: they do not toil or spin, but I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was dressed like one of these. But if God dresses the grass of the field in this way, although it is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not do so much more for you, you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:28–30 LEB).
We struggle over our concerns of today, but how often do they merely fade into the background when tomorrow comes. At times, we wonder where God’s provision will come from while we forget what He did yesterday. But think of what God did yesterday — that may change everything about today.
As you do, remember the comforting words above and how the one who spoke them is “The way, the truth and the life”. (John 14:6) The one who is God’s beloved son, “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature.” (Hebrews 1:3) Understanding and embracing Jesus’ unique bond with the God of everything, leads to trusting more powerfully in what He reveals about God’s provision.
Consider the “Value” Anxiety Brings
Anxiety brings no real value to our lives. Instead, it concerns our mind and occupies our time. It’s meant to distract us from what is real and important — what matters, which is our loving God and the work he wants to do through our hands. In Matthew 6, Jesus concludes His remarks about worry and anxiety by saying:
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?,’ for the pagans seek after all these things. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow, because tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:31–34 LEB).
If we seek first God’s kingdom, everything else fades into the background. As we turn our focus from ourselves to Jesus, we see that our concerns about ourselves were really not that important at all. When we place our fate in God’s hands — which it literally is, anyway — our perspective shifts and we realise what’s most important: knowing God and accomplishing his purposes by loving others. Jesus is the perfect example of someone living this out; no wonder he’s the hub of hope for how to battle life’s issues such as anxiety.
Why Our “Concerns” Truly Matter
When we change our perspective from our worries and concerns — from food, clothing, materialism, and even our personal goals — and turn our focus towards God’s goals, we have an opportunity to truly change the world. Around our globe there are people who are suffering in poverty, and people who have never had the opportunity to hear the name of Jesus. If our perspective is skewed, we will never find the strength we need to address these issues. We will lack the courage necessary to do God’s work, because we will be paralysed by fear. But if we have courage, imagine what could happen.
God has incredible things in store for this world. Joining Him means partnering with Him, and partnering with Him means setting our eyes on Jesus.
John D. Barry is the CEO and Founder of Jesus’ Economy, dedicated to creating jobs and churches in the developing world. Because of John’s belief that business can also transform lives, Jesus’ Economy also provides an online fair trade shop.