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Christ Is Our Hope for the Future

When you trust in Jesus Christ, you are receiving him as your hope for the future.  But we usually believe we need to be the star player and hero of our lives, which only leads to stress and worry.

The apostle Paul was an early follower of Jesus and he wrote a letter to other early followers of Jesus.  He told them that in the message about Jesus they heard of "the hope laid up for you in heaven" (Colossians 1:5) and later tells them that God "has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light" (Colossians 1:12).  Later he summarizes the messsage about Jesus as "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27).  He is assuring them of what the future holds because of what Jesus has done for them.

Imagine you were a basketball player getting ready to go on the court for the biggest game of your life. Minutes before the game, someone comes up and tells you that your team is going to win because one of your teammates scores 60 points in the game and makes the game winning shot.  Whereas before you were entering not knowing the outcome, now you know how the game will end. The worry of losing melts away. You know the outcome, but the game still needs to be played.  You don’t just say, “Oh good, we don’t need to play because we know who wins.”  The game still gets played, but you will play it in a totally different way. You are going to trust the player whom you know scores 60 points. You are going to pass it to them as much as you can. You lose the worry about who’s going to win but there is still enjoyment in playing and curiosity. How is the victory going to play out? What part will I play?

The lie we believe is that we need to be the star player in our lives.  If the victory is going to be won in our life. If our future is going to be good. If we are going to be ok. If everything is going to go as we want it to, we need to be in control. We need to get it done. We need to take things into our own hands.

Our worry and anxiety in life comes from not trusting Jesus as the hero of our story. When we don’t think Jesus can be trusted with our future, we try to control it ourselves and because we know deep down we can’t really control everything, that leads to worry. Often when we consider the future, we don't see Jesus there with us.  We have a Godless imagination of the future. So when we go through all the “what if” scenarios - what if I lose my job, what if we don’t have enough money, what if my spouse dies, what if I lose a child, what if my house burns down - Jesus isn’t in the picture so we are filled with anxiety and stress.  We can do it for smaller, daily things too: “What if I talk to this person about my faith and they get mad at me or aren’t interested. What if my child doesn’t do what I want them to do. What if I don’t get to relax this weekend. What if my day doesn’t go as I planned.” We imagine all these scenarios without Jesus. We are alone and if that difficult thing happens or things don’t go as we want, Jesus won’t be there with us.

Our “what ifs” reveal what we place our hope in. They are our “worst nightmares.” “If I lost my job, if I lost my spouse, if I lost my child, if I lost my house, I couldn’t go on. Life wouldn’t be worth living.” When we say that, we know our hope for the future has been placed in those things. Don’t get me wrong, it would be horrible to lose any of those things! We can grieve and be sad. We should cry. But our hope for the future cannot be in those things. Our hope must always be in Jesus.When we start asking “what if”, we need to change it to an “even if.” Even if I lose my job, I will still have Jesus and he is my hope. Even if I lose my spouse or my child, I will still have Jesus and he is my hope. Even if this person rejects me and gets mad at me for talking with them about my faith, I will still have Jesus and he is my hope. Even if my day doesn’t go as planned, I will still have Jesus and he is my hope. That is how we have a God-filled imagination of the future.

[This is an excerpt from a sermon.  The whole message can be found here.]