Hope: Win The Battle of The Blues
By Pastor J.D. Link
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Rom 5:1-5 (expounded) “Therefore being justified (regarded as innocent, free, righteous) by faith (belief, trust, confidence), we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace (undeserved, unearned, goodwill, loving kindness, favor) wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope (anticipation or expectation of something good) of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory (rejoice in, boast) in tribulations (pressure, affliction, persecution, trouble) also: knowing that tribulation worketh (accomplishes) patience (cheerful endurance); And patience, experience (consistency, steadfastness); and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed (does not put us to shame or disappoint); because the love of God is shed abroad (poured out abundantly) in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
With all the bad news we are subjected to on a daily basis, it’s no wonder that fear, anxiety and depression tries to creep in on the Christian. However, we are not those that are without hope. The Christian can keep on rejoicing, and win the battle of the blues – if they keep their minds in the right place (Isa 26:3).
Vs. 1-2 – we rejoice in hope. Because we have an expectation of something good from God, it should cause us to be joyful and glad. We should not be depressed and anxious, like those that have no hope. But our hope must be in God and His Word. If we are hoping in anything in or of the world, our hopes will most certainly be disappointed. We stay rejoicing, when we stay our minds on God, and hope in Him alone.
Vs. 3 – now Paul gets into the practical. We are to “boast in” tribulation. We must accept the fact that we will have tribulation in this world – but we can be of good cheer (Jn 16:33). The world does not love the Christian (even hates Christianity), because we are not of the world (Jn 15:19). The spirit of antichrist works in the children of the world (Eph 2:2). We are not to be “friends of the world”, and thus enemies of God (Jam 4:4). The world is a “perverse and crooked” nation, of which we are not to fit in – but rather shine as lights in (Philp 2:15). Reprove the works of darkness (Eph 5:11)
As American Christians, we often miss this. Because our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian values, society has tolerated and even embraced Christianity. However, we are seeing a shift in this. Little by little, Biblical Christianity is becoming “not so mainstream” nowadays. Welcome to the church of the First century, and the church in many parts of the East and Middle East today; where “Persecution 101” is the introductory course for the new Christian. Granted, the scale is small yet; but don’t think it’s going away anytime soon. You might very well be the next Christian threatened/fired/sued/fined/imprisoned for your stand on Biblical Christian principles. Think it can’t happen here? It already is.
What does this tribulation produce? It worketh patience (accomplishes cheerful endurance – 2Co 4:17, Ps 119:67, 71; 2Th 1:4; Jam 1:3-4, 12). Then, in Rom 5:4, patience (cheerful endurance) produces experience (consistency, steadfstaness – 2Cor 1:4-6). As we go through trials, we learn patience. Then that patience produces steadfastness. We become more mature and consistent, able then to comfort others. Though the born again experience is instantaneous, the Christian walk takes a lifetime of faithfulness.
Then, experience (consistency, steadfastness) produces hope (an expectation of something good – 1Sa 17:34-37). For instance, because King David had been tried, patient, and become steadfast in taking care of the sheep; he had hope that he would defeat Goliath, and was qualified to lead the kingdom. If you let them, trials can make you into a king.
Vs. 5 – Hope does not put to shame (does not disappoint – Jer 17:5-8, Philp 1:20, 2Th 2:16-17, 2Tim 1:12). Never, ever be ashamed for any adversity or trials you may endure for the sake of Christ. Count it a light affliction. Our reward is eternal. Our hope is real. Hope never disappoints, because God’s love has been poured out abundantly in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We know God loves us, and is working all things (including tribulation) together for our good (Rom 8:28, 1Cor 8:3).
In summary: How does the Christian win the battle of the blues? Know you are justified by God through faith in Jesus Christ. Know you have peace with God. Rejoice in tribulation, and allow patience to have it’s perfect work. You will then become mature, steadfast and consistent in your Christian walk – and thereby prove God’s faithfulness. This will produce hope (an expectation of something good), and this hope in God will never disappoint. Why? Because we have known and experienced God’s love poured out in our hearts. We know He is faithful. We know He comes through. We know that whatever comes our way, we are victorious in Christ. Rejoice in hope! Don’t be discouraged! Stand on The Word of God! Jesus is the Captain of the Hosts, and His side is always the right side and the winning side. Selah.