01 May 2017

A Hope Filled Reputation

Having a reputation in our culture is generally an unflattering phrase. Popstars and sportspeople come to mind for their flamboyant lifestyles, unruly behaviour and self-destructive tendencies. If you slip up once, people are generally forgiving, but keep it up and soon a reputation is born.

If a reputation describes what you are known for, have you ever asked yourself ‘What am I known for?’ Have you thought about how people might describe you or how they may experience you? And if you are a part of a church, how do you think the wider community would describe you and your church?

At the start of his letter to the Colossians, Paul has a real sense of elation at this young church’s growing reputation. He writes:

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people — the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. Colossians 1.3-6

These Colossians were known for great faith and sincere love. What a report card!

Notice also that those three eternals; faith, hope and love, are present in their reputation. And lastly notice that faith and love actually spring from hope.

Now hope isn’t wishful thinking, rather, hope is a confident anticipation of the future. Without hope, today can feel painful and tomorrow almost pointless. From the bible's perspective, hope originates in someone outside ourselves or our circumstances. Our hope as Paul says, is in the gospel, the beautiful news of Jesus. Of God with us and for us, now and forever. Our hope then confidently anticipates that no matter what we may face, we see someone greater before us making sense of our circumstances. That is, life with Jesus now and into eternity.

And thankfully, that hope is not stored in your brain, where it can be lost in your next crisis. No, that hope Paul says is held in the vault of His uncontested domain, beyond our wins and losses, beyond our trials and disappointments. So this kind of hope can’t be snatched away from you. This hope is, as Hebrews 6.19 says, ‘an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.’

Bringing these two thoughts together, if Jesus is who he said he is, and if he truly is alive — and if I own that revelation personally; daily immersing myself in the implications of this truth — then I suspect the natural outcome of my life would be a growing reputation of hope, faith and love.

I’d like that to be my reputation, but honestly, I know there is still a way to go for me. Nevertheless, God is continually inviting us to see and experience the greatness of the hope we have in Jesus — and to let that hope be the anchor for our mental, emotional and relational health.

How hope filled are you?
What anchors your soul?
What are you known for?