What is hope? The dictionary defines it as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.”
Everyone has hope; hope is an investment. We invest our time, and most certainly our money into hope. Many Americans have hope in sports teams, hoping that they can piece together the right formula and reach euphoria. Going to school in the Bronx, I see that many who live in poverty put their hope in playing the lottery. Students put their hope in education, hoping that racking up the degrees will earn them a high-paying career.
Investors put their hope in stocks and bonds, hoping a boom in the market will make them rich. Hope is an awful lot like gambling. You put in a lot but gain a little. Nothing is perfect and tomorrow is always uncertain; therefore you live in a constant state of worry. All the hecticness finally pays off when you hit the jackpot, and the feeling of elation is ecstatic. But that joy is short lived, as it is back to square one the very next day, in pursuit of once again hoping to reach that pinnacle.
Now what if I told you there was something you could put your hope in where you hit the jackpot every single time? What if I told you it didn’t cost a single penny and is free of the highly taxing state of worry? That something is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Imagine if you will, an all-knowing basketball coach that has the secret formula to win every single basketball game. If you were a basketball player, why wouldn’t you want him as your coach? There is an all-knowing coach, and His name is Jesus Christ. And the game He coaches is the one called life. His instructions are perfect and free of error, and if you follow his lead, you too can live a life as free from sin as possible.
In John 3:3, Jesus says, “I am telling you the truth: no one can see the Kingdom of God without being born again.” And He continues by saying, “No one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”
Much the same way an erroneous basketball player deserves to sit on the bench as punishment for his wrongdoing, you as a sinner rightly deserve punishment for your sins. But so long as you trust in Him, the all-knowing coach Jesus Christ, is loving and merciful.
The all-knowing coach is not going to punish you for your sins, but rather He is going to forgive you and He is going to lead you right back onto the court to perform in His name. Fall to your convictions and you will be born again in the spirit. Christ says in Matthew 23:12, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
The all-knowing coach will grant you wisdom. Jesus says in Matthew 7:7-8, “Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks will receive, and anyone who seeks will find, and the door will be opened to those who knock.”
If you’re new to this, you may be thinking, “But Justin, if God is so perfect, then how does He allow oppression, famine, and evil into the world?” Let us then go back to the perfect, all-knowing basketball coach. With this coach at the helm, there is no reason you should ever lose a basketball game. The only reason for you to ever lose a basketball game would be if you didn’t follow his instructions and outright rejected his teachings.
Your errors would not be the fault of the perfect, all-knowing coach, but the fault of yourself as an imperfect pupil. We have sinned against God, and it is precisely for this reason that Christ came down from Heaven to free us from our sins. Our sinful desires lead us down the path of evil, suffering, and death. But when you receive Christ in your life, you may follow the path of good, love, and eternal life. As the angel Gabriel assured Mary in Luke 1:33, before Christ was even born, “His Kingdom will have no end.”
In John 8:31-32, Jesus said to those who believed in Him, “If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Even if you already are a Church goer, you may not have been born again. If you find yourself unable to speak the word of God at every opportunity you get, whether it is socially, spiritually, or politically, I pray that Christ may bless you with the strength to stand up for, and recognize, the truth. And to all who have taken the time to read this, I ask you may open up the Gospel and read the words of Christ yourself.
If you are lost in your pursuit of the truth, I pray that this made sense to you, and I pray that Christ may bless you with His wisdom so that your knowledge of the truth will only continue to expand. For it is only through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior that we as fallible human beings may have hope, “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” It is only through His everlasting and unconditional love that we may have hope, and have life.