Christian hope is one of the greatest blessings because it increases our joy, assures us of our blessed future, gives us patience to bear burdens, and it helps us keep our eyes above, where Christ is. But how can we strengthen our Christian hope? William Gurnall gave six directions for strengthening hope. I’ll summarize them below; notice how intimately the growth of Christian hope is tied to the Word and prayer.
- Study the word of God diligently. The Christian is bred by the word, and he must be fed by it also. “…Through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Rom. 15:4 NASB). God has provided in Scripture food to nourish every Christian grace, and in it we find particular respect to the welfare and growth of our hope.
- Keep your conscience pure. Sins that are deliberately plotted and committed are to the Christian’s hope as poison is to his body. Faith and good conscience are hope’s two wings that help her fly. If you have wounded your conscience by any sin, renew your repentance so that receiving renewed forgiveness you may revive your hope.
- Pray to God daily and beg for a stronger hope in him. This is what Paul prays about in Romans 15:3, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (NASB). Be sure you humbly acknowledge God by a constant waiting on him for growth. God will surely hear the prayers of his children when they beg for more hope.
- Labor to increase your love for the Lord. There is a secret but powerful influence that love has on hope. Love casts out fear (1 John 4.18). “May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love” and into the patient waiting for Christ’s return (2 Thes. 3:5). Love him, and you will patiently wait for him – this has to do with hope.
- Exercise your hope much. Repeated acts strengthen habits. The promises of God are hope’s object to act upon. Meditate on the promises, set some apart for yourself, and drink in the refreshing truths of God’s promises. David did this when he remembered that with the Lord there is forgiveness (Ps. 130). He exercised his hope by meditating on the promise of forgiveness.
- Fill up your experiences of past mercies, and your hope will grow stronger for future mercies. Endurance works hope (Rom. 5:2-4). A good Christian keeps track of the history of God’s gracious dealings in the past, and this gives him hope for the future. “This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope” (Lam. 3:21 NASB). When God gives one mercy, he opens a door so he can give it, and this open door leads us to expect more mercy through it.
Hammond, WI, 54015