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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : Hope and Joy by Zac Poonen

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 Hope and Joy by Zac Poonen

Hope

"Hope" is a new covenant word, just like "grace", "gentleness", "poor in spirit", "overcome" etc. Very few believers have thought much about hope. But it is a good word to study in a concordance.

Rom.5:2-4 tells us that we exult in hope of the glory of God. We rejoice in tribulations because if we are patient in those tribulations we will get proven character. That in turn gives us hope. That means that since we have seen from our past life how God has changed us, we have hope that the work will be completed by God in us in the days to come.

God wants to fill us with hope for the future. We are not to face the future with dismay and gloom, like the people around us. We look forward with tremendous hope, believing fully that He Who has begun a good work in us will definitely complete it and bring it to perfection in us (Phil.1:6). Hope is the certain antidote for discouragement and moodiness.

We must hold fast the confession of our hope (Heb.10:23). In other words, we must be bold to confess with our mouths, even if we are defeated right now, that God will give us victory and do what He has promised to do within us. We must rejoice in hope. It is normal for believers to thank God for what God has done for them. But we must also rejoice in the hope of what God will do for us.

"Whatever he does will prosper" is the promise in Psalm 1:3. This is the will of God for our lives, and we must claim it as our birthright in Christ.

Joy

Overflowing joy is one of the ways by which we can know that we are living in the presence of God - because "in His presence there is fullness of joy" (Psalms 16:11). It is also thus that we know that the kingdom of God has indeed come into our hearts - for “the kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom.14:17). This joy can be ours only as we hate sin and love righteousness - for the anointing of the oil of gladness is given to those "who love righteousness and hate iniquity" (Heb.1:9). May the joy of the Lord be your strength at all times (Neh.8:10). Joy will make your battle against temptation much easier.

James says that we should rejoice even in the trials that we face because of two reasons (Jas.1:1-4): (1) we discover whether our faith is genuine or not (That is something like finding out whether the gold we have is genuine or not - so that we don't fool ourselves that we are rich when we are actually poor). (2) Our patience grows to perfection - and then we become perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

It is amazing what results can come forth from our trials - if we rejoice in them. There is a lot of wasted suffering among believers. They don't get any wealth out of their suffering, because they complain and murmur instead of rejoicing.


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