When you buy a product that you see in an advertisement, you expect the product to live up to the expectations set by the ad, right? If you’re at a nice restaurant and the menu shows a picture of a juicy steak, but you end up with a piece of steak that’s dry and tough to chew, you’re going to be disappointed. The advertisement failed to reflect the true nature of what you were going to get. But if you get a meal that lives up to your expectations, you’ll be excited and want to go to that restaurant more often.
Now look at your own life. What is it that you’re reflecting? The people around you—those in your neighborhood, your workplace, your home, your school—can tell what your heart is connected to by just looking at your life.
Titus 2:11-14—For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.
Lots of people have been disappointed by the reflections that followers of Christ have displayed of God. As the Church we’re supposed to be the people of God, living with valor and righteousness and looking to the future with hope and faith, so that when people look at our lives, they see a reflection of their Creator.
Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is something you can see—it has substance. If you look at someone’s life, you can see what they put their faith in. Faith moves us toward action, so we will act upon whatever we place our faith in.
But if what we have faith in isn’t Christ, we will always be disappointed. No one and nothing can live up to our expectations besides Him. If your highest hope is in the relationship that you’re in right now, and it goes bad, then everything around you will feel like it’s crashing down, because you’ve put your hope in something that can’t bring you lasting joy. If your hope is in your money, and you lose it all, where will you be left? Even our physical bodies will be over one day, but God offers us a new heavenly body.
Hope alone won’t move us towards the purpose that God has for us. We have to actively, intentionally, put our faith in the future. Revelation 22:12-14 says, “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life.” Here “those who wash their robes’ means those who have been washed in the blood of Christ’s sacrifice—those who have accepted the proposal of grace He made on the cross.
Anyone can accept this gift from Jesus, and those of us who do can have faith in the fulfillment of these promises that God has made, because no matter how difficult or bad things get here on the Earth, we have an eternity to look forward to with the Creator of the universe. Put your faith and hope in what’s still yet to come instead of what currently is.