Throughout December, my church has been in a series called, “The Best Hope”. So far we’ve uncovered that Jesus is our best hope. But how do we maintain that hope when the storms of life begin to rock our boat? How do we refocus on our spiritual health? How do we make 2018 the year of renewal?
First, we have to understand that our faith is not something that happens and then is over; our faith is not an event. Often times we can mistakenly see our faith as if it’s a sandcastle: we build, admire it, and guard it. But the waves will always come and crash it down. Our faith is more like a walk down the beach with Jesus than it is a sandcastle. With the understanding that faith is a journey, we can renew this faith again and again in three powerful ways: with God’s presence, God’s praise, and God’s purpose.
Renew With God’s Presence
If we want to renew our faith, we need to spend more time with Jesus. In Psalm 23: David writes that he does not fear because God is with him. Are you making time for God’s presence in your life? We can’t complain about not being close to God if we never call Him. Some new ways to pray and connect with God include setting alarms on our phones to remind us to pray for specific things, going on prayer walks to pray for our neighbors, and keeping a prayer journals. We can also create space for God’s presence in our life by diving into Scripture. You can’t complain that God’s mouth is closed if your Bible isn’t open… make this the year you grasp the Bible in a new and powerful way.
Renew With God’s Praise
Unbeknownst to many local church goers, you’re actually allowed to sing in church. In fact, its encouraged! They don’t even require you to be a good singer… incredible right?! We can find that the physical response of truly singing and lifting our hands will awaken a new response in us. It doesn’t matter what song or the style of music, we can ignite a deeper worship of God and find new meaning in the words we sing making them come alive when we have a physical response of worship to God. This starts with coming to church. We complain that God’s not doing anything for us while we’ve put football, third grade soccer games and sleeping in on Sundays as bigger priorities than putting God at the top of our agenda. Then we go on vacation, and we think we’ve earned the right to vacate from God. We can’t keep saying that we want God to encourage us while we ignore Him. What if you made church the biggest priority for your family in 2018? It might mean we need to adjust our weekly schedules, change our kids sports teams, or show up to the tailgate late. When you worship and praise God, you’re telling Him that He is greater, and you will refresh your faith.
You can’t expect God’s greatest blessings when you keep Him at your lowest priority.
Renew With God’s Purpose
So many times we can be tempted to make our life about our own purposes and desires. The job we’re going to have or take next, who we’re going to marry or how we’re going to date, or how we spend our money and so on. We Christians are great at disguising this as “God’s Will” for our life. “What is God’s Will for my life?” But yet this question has more to do with how these things will benefit us. Henry Blackaby writes, “God has far more in store for your life than merely giving you an assignment to accomplish for Him.” When we go back to the beginning in the book of Genesis, we read that God created Adam & Eve to be in relationship with them. God didn’t need them to create the garden or do anything for Him; God had already created everything and rested. God created mankind to enjoy His creation with and be in relationship. When we truly rely on God’s true purpose and will for our life – a relationship – we will not be disappointed in the hope that it brings by focusing on it.
To push through with hope, renew your hope.
I hope you can push through 2018 with a new hope. But even more important, my hope is that you have the confidence that you can renew this hope daily with God’s presence, praise and purpose for your life.
What’s the best way you like to renew your hope?