I am sitting outside on this beautiful spring day, wind blowing in the trees, sprinklers running in the distance, the sun peeking in and out. It is peaceful and beautiful and I am so grateful for the time I have had to dig into His Word surrounded by His creation and simply be in His presence.
I’ve been working my way slowly through 1 Timothy lately, trying to dig in and meditate and understand the treasures in the pages. These words struck me:
“Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” 1 Timothy 4: 7-10
Godliness is of value in every way. It holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.
Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes it’s easy to think of the value of godliness only being future. Eternal life for those who trust in Christ is guaranteed and it will be glorious . . . but today? Today can be hard. Sometimes it seems like all we do is toil and strive.
So keep reading. Perhaps hidden in these next words this is the answer: “We have our hope set on the living God”.
Not the God who used to live, or the God who will live. The God who is living. Today. If God is alive today, if my hope is in a living God, what kind of hope is it?
I am reminded of this beautiful passage from 1 Peter:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9
It is a living hope in a living God.
How does that change the way I live?
My hope cannot be in lesser things. Not even in good things, like hoping for a husband or a baby or a job or fill-in-the-blank. My hope must be in God.
Here is what I can hope for:
-An inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for me.
-A salvation that is coming, for which I am being guarded through faith by God’s power.
-A faith that is tested and proved genuine by trials, which will result in praise and glory and honor.
-A love for God, today, that leads to belief and inexpressible joy that is filled with glory
It is future. But it’s not just future. Today, here is what is true about us. We are, together: “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10
Today, we are loved by God. Today, we are chosen, royal, holy, His possession, called to proclaim His excellencies, His people, receivers of mercy.
My heart longs and hopes for many things. I suppose yours does too. But I am struck by how perfectly Christ fulfills the deepest longings of my heart in the most ultimate sense.
What do I really want? To be known and loved. To be pursued and wanted. To be delighted in. To experience intimacy. To be at peace. To have joy.
The dawning of realization catches me.
Today, I am fully known and unconditionally loved. Today, I have been pursued by the Lover of my soul, desired by my Creator, and He has made me His own. Today, the Lord who is Mighty delights in me, rejoices over me with singing. Today, I am invited into intimacy with God Himself. Today, I am promised perfect peace. Today, I am given inexpressible joy.
It is so, so much bigger than any earthly thing I could desire. Even marriage, a picture of Christ and the church, is but rough imagery of the fullness of what I am being offered here, today. The love of a husband can mirror the love of Christ, yes. But I needn’t wait for a husband’s love to know true love. I already have it. Love that sacrificed all to save me.
Oh, friend. This is offered to you too. Today, you are fully known and unconditionally loved. Let that truth sink deep into your soul. It is for this reason that we pursue godliness. It is here that we place our hope. It is a living hope placed in a living God.
God with us. God with me. God with you. Alive. Today.
So walk through the trials. Let them refine you. Toil and strive. Train yourself for godliness. This isn’t hope that all will be easy on earth. No. But it is hope that He will be with you. That He will not waste your suffering. That He will work all things for good.
That, my friend, is a hope worth having.
May the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Rejoice in the hope that is coming. Rejoice in the hope that is today.
I will close with the words of this beautiful song:
“How High and How Wide” by Sovereign Grace Music
No eye has seen and no ear has heard
And no mind has ever conceived
The glorious things that You have prepared
For every one who has believed
You brought us near and You called us Your own
And made us joint heirs with Your Son
How high and how wide
How deep and how long
How sweet and how strong is Your love
How lavish Your grace
How faithful Your ways
How great is Your love, O Lord
Objects of mercy who should have known wrath
We’re filled with unspeakable joy
Riches of wisdom, unsearchable wealth
And the wonder of knowing Your voice
You are our treasure and our great reward
Our hope and our glorious King