“Don’t get your hopes up.”
Are you the sort of person who immediately imagines the worst-case scenario whenever anything happens? An unexpected phone call in the middle of the day can’t possibly bring good news and a talk with your boss surely wouldn’t lead to a positive outcome. If you don’t expect good, then you won’t be disappointed when something bad happens…right?
Maybe circumstances in your life or past disappointments have embedded an expectation of bad deep in your heart.
Yet, the Bible defines hope (in the Greek, elpis) as a confident expectation of good (Rom. 5:5). So, why (and how) can we expect good things to happen in a world that tells us otherwise?
1. Because God has redeemed you from every curse.
The truth is…it’s hard to believe that we deserve good because none of us are saints. The apostle Paul puts it plainly, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells.” (Rom. 7:18) And the world tells us that you get what you deserve. Clearly none of us are perfect. So of course, we aren’t surprised when things don’t actually turn out as we expect.
Yet the Bible tells us that God “made Him (Jesus Christ) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21)
What that means for us today is that the blood of Jesus has redeemed us from the curse. Galatians 3:13 says, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree).”
Today, it is our blood-bought right to confidently expect good in every situation.
If you’re wondering how being righteous has anything to do with you being able to expect good things to happen to you, hear me out. When you are made righteous in Christ…
2. You get what you Jesus deserves.
Oftentimes, we struggle to believe this truth because we know ourselves so well—maybe a little too well. We are acutely aware of our flaws and we are the harshest critics of ourselves when we fail. Bad things should happen to us.
But the truth is, at the cross, Jesus didn’t just take everything that you deserve, He also gave you everything that He deserved.
That’s the divine exchange.
Your sin in exchange for His righteousness. Your poverty for His provision. (2 Cor. 8:9)
Your righteousness in Christ is the sure foundation on which you can build your expectations to receive good in your life. And your past? It no longer determines the trajectory of your life.
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
— 2 Cor. 5:17 NLT
Today, as Jesus is deserving of blessings, peace, health and favor, so are you! (1 John 4:17)
“But what about those days when I mess up?”
Friend, even on the days when you’ve messed up, you can be sure that in Christ Jesus, you are irreversibly blessed because…
3. God has made an everlasting covenant with you
Do you know what a covenant entails? It is like a legally binding agreement between two parties; God has made a binding agreement to never stop doing good to you (Jer. 32:40).
It’s not about what you have to do, but all about what Jesus has done at the cross to secure your blessing. And if there’s one person you can trust a hundred percent all of the time, it’s Jesus. Today, you can have a hope that is not left to chance, not affected by the mistakes you have amassed, and not dependent on your limited knowledge and abilities.
The hope that you have is sure and certain because it’s anchored to something unshakable, immovable, and unreservedly trustworthy—the love of Christ and His finished work at Calvary.
But let’s be real, there’ll be days when what you hoped in God for seems more like a dream than a possible reality—Abraham knew that very well. Yet, we can be like Abraham, who having “[human reason for] hope being gone, hoped in faith that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been promised” (Rom. 4:18 AMPC).
Abraham knew that his hope was not founded in his ability to father a child, but in his trustworthy, faithful God, whose love and promises never fail. How did that story end? After 25 years, God gave them a beautiful miracle baby, Isaac.
On the hard days where hope seems far, we have to guard our hearts with what His Word promises so that we don’t lose our minds to the lies that the enemy throws us.
Expecting good comes naturally when you know the person you’re expecting good from. When you see and know the heart of your heavenly Father, you’ll also learn to expect and to ask big from Him.
It isn’t about willing yourself to expect good to happen. It isn’t a case of positive thinking and psyching yourself into being (almost) slightly delusional. God is not a God of statistical probability; He is a sure hope with whom all things are possible. This is why even when the odds are stacked against you and when the world says not to, you can raise your hopes and expect good things to happen to you because He loves you.
So, raise your hopes for His hope never disappoints—that’s His promise to you!