Day 5: Our Glory
For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.
1Thessalonians 2:19-20 ESV
I was a youth director for ten plus years. Working with teens was a blessing and, dare I say, a curse at times. In the midst of the ministry, it was difficult to see the fruit. Raging hormones and teen attitudes often left me feeling hopeless, like nothing I did made a difference.
Honestly, I just kept plugging along doing what God led me to do. Not perfectly mind you… but to the best of my ability. I loved those teens, I still do.
A couple of years ago I received an email from one of my students. He was finishing up his college education soon to be a husband and father. Tears flowed as I read his words. He reminded of me of his stinky attitude and unwillingness to do what I asked at times. I didn’t remember, but He did. In the end he thanked me for continuing to love him, and planting the seeds of faith he now has.
Every once in awhile I catch a glimpse of what God did throughout those years of ministry. I see young adults making their way. I sit with their children in worship. I watch them overcome hard circumstances. It is truly one of the best things about hope. The glory revealed when seeds grow and strong trees emerge all bearing fruit for His Kingdom.
To be honest, I haven’t given hope a lot of thought since I became a Believer. I abandoned it somewhere along the way.
Hope to me has been more of a charlatan who stirs up desires and dreams then leaves me looking like a fool for believing.
But through the week of study, learning about hope, I’m beginning to see it for what it truly is and not what the world has told me it is.
Christ in you, the hope of glory.
He is our hope and our glory.
From this perspective of trusting Him, putting my hope in Him, I can see hope as my glory. A hope for a glorious future no matter my circumstances here.
With our faith based firmly on hope in God – our One Hope – we find ourselves blessed and boldly loving others in His name. And all for His glory.
Who is Paul writing to? What did they receive from Paul and his companions?
Why did Paul eagerly desire to see them again?
Paul was writing to new Believers at the church in Thessalonica. They received the Word of God through Paul and embraced the gospel. They were suffering for their belief just like those in Judea.
Paul and his ministry team desired to return to them and see them face to face because they had a part in bringing them to Christ. They considered these new Believers their hope of glory and joy before the Lord at His return. Their crown. Their honor and praise before Him.
The apostle Paul was basically saying, “I can’t take anything from my earthly experience to heaven with me except for the spiritual children I’ve had a part in helping to get there.”
─ Steven Curtis Chapman, Between Heaven and the Real World
Steven Curtis Chapman was referring to both his biological and adopted children he introduced to Jesus. But it is true of anyone we help to find the hope of Christ. They become our hope of glory, our crown, our honor before the Lord Jesus. Their presence in the Kingdom becomes one of the eternal treasures we store up in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21).
Read Colossians 1:24-29
In what does Paul rejoice? Why?
What mystery did he want to make known to the Gentiles?
For what did Paul struggle and work with all the energy Christ gave him?
Paul rejoiced in his sufferings for the sake of those who would believe. In his suffering he saw himself as part of Christ’s ultimate suffering for the whole church, to make the gospel known to others.
He longed to make known the mystery of the gospel to the Gentiles: Christ in you, the hope of glory. Paul struggled and worked with all the energy Christ provided him to bring those who believed to maturity in the faith.
This is what we are called to do as Believers, disciples of Christ. Work as He did, with His faith and power to bring others to Him. Because our hope is in heaven and He is the hope of glory, we love others without a thought to what it costs us now. We keep our eyes fixed on the glory to come.
Christ in us, the hope of glory.
Suffering on behalf of others to bring the hope of the gospel to them is the love which glorifies us before Christ. The ultimate glory for Believers is to love unbelievers to Christ, to love immature Believers to maturity, with His hope of glory in us. Pouring out our lives in love, just as He did on the cross for us.
When others see our hope in Him, manifested in the blessings of hope, then their hearts are opened to receive Him as their hope.
Read 1Corinthians 13:13
What three things currently abide? In your Bible, circle the greatest.
Faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love.
These three abide in us only by the grace of the Father, through Jesus by way of the Spirit. It is through faith, hope, and love we fulfill the law: Love God, love others.
Love is the ultimate end, but without faith fueled by hope, there is no fulfilling of the law.
Hope in Him is our glory, because our hope in His love for us moves us to love others in His name. They see the glorious blessings of hope in us and are attracted to Him through us. They become our treasure in heaven, our hope of glory and joy before Him. They are the reason we will hear: Well done good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with the love I’ve given you, and loved others to Me.
Christ in us, the hope of glory, is seen by others through our faithful acts of love.
He is our hope and our glory. Not only ours, but the whole world’s.
Talk It Out
Talk it over with yourself:
We’ve come to the end of our study. What have you learned about loving others for His glory?
Consider what hope of glory you have stored up in heaven at this point in your faith journey. Would you be considered wealthy or poor?
Talk it over with God:
Ask God to open your heart to love others for His glory. Ask Him to use you to love others to bring them to the hope of glory: Christ in them.
Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
Romans 5:2 NLT
Exercise Your Faith
Consider the unbelievers or immature Christians in your realm of influence. Those who cross your path on a regular basis.
After identifying them, each time you see them or interact with them, ask God to use you as His instrument to lead them to Christ, their hope and glory. Be prepared to be used by Him, no matter the cost.
Reflection Scripture: Creative Journaling
Read the Reflection Scripture one more time.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 15:13 ESV
Look at what you created in the reflection process this week.
What do you see? Ask God how this relates to hope in you, in God, in others.
What have you experienced as you returned to the “kindergarten” tools? Were there surprises along the way?
Is there something that kept you from entering into the process? What was it?