Christians have every reason to be optimistic in their witness to others.
Not only can we believe in people, we can be optimistic about their response to the gospel.
Pastor Bob Haines
Love . . . hopes all things.
When I was a child, my mother told me, on more than one occasion, “Can’t never did anything.”
Christians have every right to have a “can do” attitude. There may have been times when you felt there was no use in trying to have a meaningful relationship with someone. You’ve known individuals for whom you wondered, “How can I get to know them? Why can’t we relate? Why is it that when I take the initiative to relate I get rejected or shunned?”
Agape continues to hope despite all things.
The Greek word for hope, elpidzo, means not only to hope in the general sense, but “to expect,” to have a firm anticipation, or that a great prospect of what is hoped for will indeed come about. A connotation is “to foresee,” that one can know without a doubt.
Why is this so? Because Christian hope is based on the gospel, the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of the One who is Infinite Love and is able to work miracles in the lives of people who will yield to Him and His will for their lives.
Christians have every reason to be optimistic in their witness to others. Not only can we believe in people, we can be optimistic about their response to the gospel.
My wife and I have learned this lesson many times.
People we have been sharing the gospel with, and have been praying for for years, have accepted Jesus as Lord of their lives. Many times, we have been amazed at how many people, though it seemed they were beyond hope, eventually came into a trusting relationship with the Lord.
All too often, we have not been as optimistic, and our faith was too small. But God never lets us down with our “mustard seed” amount of faith. We have learned over the years to be optimistic when we really believe in the power of agape – God’s love.
Again, many people are too pessimistic. Even churches can be afflicted with a pessimistic atmosphere – especially when confronted by the need to change. Excuses are made in the form of phrases uttered like, “That’s the way we’ve always done it!” “We can’t do it differently because it didn’t work that way before.”
It should never be the church constitution, set of rules, church board, or even the pastor who rules a church, but rather, the underlying love of God for His people, and His people’s love for a lost, hungry, lonely, and dying world. The fact is, that without a vision – a vision of the truth – people perish.
We ought to have ever-fresh visions for our churches, full of hope, optimistic for what can be done for the glory of God.
If the people of a church are filled with God’s love, then they are optimistic. May the compassion of God flow through His churches to lost people of the world, hungry for the good news of Jesus Christ and His saving grace. Love believes, bears, and hopes all things.
Remember the story of “the little engine that could.”
The little engine faced a tough hill to cross over. He looked at that hill and said, “I think I can, I think I can.” He really believed he could make it over that steep hill. So he got up all the strength and power he could and began to move up the hill, very slowly, with much struggle. It was a long way to the top and he began to get ever-increasingly psyched up for it by repeating over and over to himself, “I hope I can, I hope I can, I hope I can . . . ”
I believe the kind of hope the little engine had was the kind Paul, the Apostle, had – an expecting hope, for the little engine began to say, “I know I can, I know I can.” Yes, the little engine made it to the top, and as he began going down the other side, he rejoiced with these words: “I knew I could, I knew I could, I KNEW I could!”
No, that’s not just a children’s fantasy story. It’s true.
We can be optimistic that the struggles of life can be overcome, and we can enjoy the fullness of life when we have meaningful relationships with others through agape.
Hope is an absolute. With God’s hope, there are no reservations about success for the Christian. However, unlike the little engine, we do not go under our own power, but by the power of the Holy Spirit and His Love. Our hope has its foundation within the Love of God.
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