Read Isaiah 64:5
In our fast-paced and busy lives, we love to see the direct results of our hard work. We have been conditioned to expect the benefits of our efforts immediately. When the outcome looks differently than we expect or takes longer than we’d like, we easily become discouraged. In these moments, we’re tempted to take shortcuts, bend the rules, or compromise our values. These actions may bring immediate gratification, but they ultimately leave us disappointed, feeling empty, and knowing we didn’t remain faithful to the good work in front of us.
As we consider the hope we have in Christ, it can often seem like something far off in the future. We may cognitively know truths about Jesus but still struggle to find joy in our everyday lives. The Apostle Paul writes, “my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV). Paul urges us to keep on doing what is right, to keep on being faithful even when we don’t feel like it. Our hard work is not in vain because we have hope in our new identity in Christ and the reality that death no longer has its sting. We give thanks to God, “who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57 ESV).
When we graciously love others, patiently serve our co-workers, and steadfastly persist in doing the work to which God has called us in each moment, we exhibit hope to our world. Each day, we have the ability to change someone’s life through our actions.
The key to hope lies in our perspective. Through God’s grace, we have a new perspective of joy that overflows into our conversations and efforts. Through God’s grace, we can “gladly do right” as we honor him with our lives even when we can’t see the immediate results. One day, when we’re in the presence of God, He will reveal to us how He was at work in and through us even in the most seemingly mundane activities. In the meantime, we live in this hope as we walk in the way of Jesus, with the heart of Jesus – even when we don’t directly see the hand of God.
Reflection and Response
Use Philippians 4:4-8 to formulate your prayer today. Rejoice in the hope you have. Pray for the Lord’s nearness to permeate your heart, mind, and actions today. Hand over any anxiety you have to him. Give thanks as you make your specific requests known to God today.
By Billy Berglund