Hope Is A Foundation For Joy
8 “Without having seen Him, you love Him; though you do not [even] now see Him, you believe in Him and exult and thrill with inexpressible and glorious (triumphant, heavenly) joy.” 1 Peter 3:8
Peter indicates to us that we must believe to have joy, and not just any joy but joy in Him that is beyond expression. Isn’t that what we want in life, joy unspeakable? But is that what our daily experience is? Here is a sad conclusion, if we are not experiencing joy, if there are no signs of joy from within us, then we do not believe His promises for our lives. Where does that kind of believing, that faith come from that we need before we can live this unspeakable joy.?
If you were to go backward and read five verses earlier in this chapter you would see that Verse three tells us of the importance of hope in our lives and to experience this kind of joy. Verse 4 tells us that hope is your inheritance in Jesus as a born again believer. Romans 12:12 paints the same picture for us telling us this: “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;”
Joy is tied directly to hope, so if this hope is our inheritance why are we not experiencing this kind of joy in our daily lives? Part of the answer is that our definition of joy differs from the Bible’s definition of hope. This summarizes our definition of hope from our life experience, “Well, I really hope something good from God happens”. In other words, we would be pleasantly surprised if something good happened but we might as well try to believe and just see what happens. For us, it is more of an attitude of “let’s give it a try, what do we have to lose”. None of that is Biblical hope and will not get us where we desire, to believe His promises and in that joy experience inexpressible, heavenly joy.
Hebrews 11 tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, so Biblical hope is the foundation upon which faith that works is built. We can go a little further with this verse in Hebrews and look at the word hope in that verse from the Greek. There we find that hope means “to expect with desire”. Does that sound like what you mean when hope in Jesus, do you expect with desire? That is at the heart of Biblical hope which leads to the faith and joy we are seeking.
We can look at the Greek for the word hope back in Romans 12:12 and see what we learn. There hope is, “a desire with an expectation of obtaining it…” These definitions certainly sound different than our idea of hope when we say we are hoping for the promises of Jesus to come to pass in our lives. If we want the joy unspeakable spoken of in 1 Peter, we need to operate in faith, a faith that is built upon hope, a Biblical hope.
J Todd Hostetler