…Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. – Romans 5:5
The beginning of the year is a perfect time to form new habits. A fresh start and an optimistic outlook are great motivating factors for developing healthy disciplines like eating healthy, starting a Bible reading plan, or spending more time each morning in focused prayer. But this motivation can quickly fizzle out once the chaos of the normal sets in. Our optimism may turn to doubt, which will quickly sour any eagerness to pursue good works because we’re not sure why we should bother anymore. Maybe you’re already weary this year.
To avoid this, we need endurance. Endurance is not the absence of exhaustion — It’s the absence of weariness. And what is weariness? It’s the precursor to doubt. To find our strength for endurance, we must look beyond whatever our present struggle is to something greater. This is what the Bible describes as hope. So, in other words, to faithfully endure in the difficult work of perseverance, we must have hope that what we are working for is greater than the immediate pay-off of quitting early. This perseverance, rooted in a real hope, is what ultimately will come to define our character.
To faithfully endure in the difficult work of perseverance, we must have hope that what we are working for is greater than the immediate pay-off of quitting early.
The question is, of course, hope in what? The Bible is clear about what should be the Christian’s ultimate hope: the glory of God, which gives rise to great and everlasting joy. We need not falter in the race toward godliness and obedience because we have a great hope in the glory of God. He is our great prize! And we have been given his Holy Spirit to aid us in our endurance race, who enables us to steadfastly fix our gaze not on our circumstances, but on him who is above them. Only then can we be sure that we are poised to succeed in all of our good works, for the glory of God.