Text: 1 Peter 3:13-22 | Listen to Message
We all have countless little “h” hopes. Maybe you hope to meet the right person and start a family. Possibly you hope to get a passing grade, a promotion, or a raise. Perhaps you hope to be healed of some physical distress like an injury or extended illness. Whatever your hopes, we need a big “H” Hope that keeps us grounded and joyful even when circumstances aren’t going our way. We need a confident expectation, not just a whole bunch of wishful thinking.
The heart of our text explains that we have that kind of Hope in Christ – specifically in the good news of his substitutionary atonement and his subsequent triumph and glorification. He has overcome everything that could ever harm us. This is the objective ground of our hope.
But that’s not what I want to write about, per se.
The reality is we need to learn to activate this hope. We need to own it. We need to see it move from objective, but neglected, truth into our everyday experience. So how do we do that?
Let’s start with this admission: When we need hope most, we’re usually focused on something else instead: either problems or problem people. Someone or something is causing us pain, and we naturally tend to focus on that until it completely clouds our vision. We don’t see our capital “H” Hope in Christ because we’re too busy feeding our anxiety, fear, frustration, or anger.
Peter says something really profound – and really practical – about that: “Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy.”
On the one hand, stop fearing or being anxious because of the problem people. Stop getting all worked up. But – instead – regard Christ the Lord as holy. It’s literally more like, “But Christ the Lord sanctify in your hearts.” That is, set him apart in your heart. Reverence him. Hallow him. Rehearse his lordship over and over until your fear or your anger melts into praise.
“God, I don’t have to be afraid if you’re in charge and nothing can separate me from your love.”
“Jesus, I don’t need to keep acting out of frustration. Yes, I want control and comfort, and I have neither. But I acknowledge that you are more than enough for me – and that your past, present, and future plans for me are only good.”
Don’t let your Hope be a beautiful, but purely hypothetical, thing. Stand in your confidence in Christ and reckon it to be true that his lordship is the ground of your hope and joy.