Hope as Help

Theological Leaders Program - Part 1

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Chris Oswald

Jan. 14, 2024



Giving Hope

I believe the entire epoch of a counseling relationship has to do with a redistribution of hope.

Those who properly hope in the Lord would have no need of counseling.

Proverbs 10:28 - hope in the Lord produces joy
1 John 2:28-3:3 - hope in the Lord produces purity
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 - hope in the Lord produces renewal

Hope in the Lord is a regenerative thing. It keeps a soul healthy.

Hope in other things is a degenerative thing. It drains the soul, makes it more susceptible to additional temptations, and very often leads to some kind of crash.

The crash produces suffering. And this is God’s way of redistributing hope.

Romans 5:1-5, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

This is how good God is — he allows our sin to produce suffering which in turn leads to us getting back into righteous hope — which brings life.

Understanding Hope

True hope vs. False hope is a major concern of the Lord:

“The biblical writers distinguish between hopes that are ill founded and vain, and hopes that have a sure foundation. The range of ill-founded hopes is as wide as the human capacity for self-deception. It is vain to place one’s hope in military might (Isa. 31:1–3), in one’s own wisdom (Prov. 26:12) or righteousness (Ezek. 33:13), in riches (Prov. 11:28), or even in the temple (Jer. 7:9–10) or the law of Moses (John 5:45). All of these are inadequate bases of hope, and indeed, for the unrighteous person who trusts in such things, there is no hope (Job 8:13; 11:20; 27:8; Prov. 10:28; 11:7). Thus the majority of scriptural references to hope elucidate the only true foundation of hope, God. In this there is a remarkable continuity between the Old and New Testaments.”

The Mechanics of Hope

Let’s make sure we understand the basic mechanics of hope. Hope is downstream of a promise. It helps to break down a few components.

Firstly, people want certain things (feelings, states of being, pleasures, etc…)
Objects, ideas, circumstances get translated (somehow) into promises to deliver on our desires.
Hope happens when we “believe” the promise.

Discussion Question: Let’s try to come up with five scenarios in which people are hoping in wrong things and consider why, what will the consequences be, how might the Lord use that to restore them, etc…

Sin & Misplaced Hope

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” — Genesis 3:6

I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. — 2 Corinthians 11:1-4

Some People Go Numb

When misplaced hopes fail, people tend to make people feel weary, undone, uprooted (Job 19:10). A fairly common response is to abandon hope in general. Rather than simply reevaluate the object in which they placed their hope, they develop a negative attitude toward hope itself. It is as if, out of some effort at self-protection, “they chose to lose hope in hope.” This makes sense from a purely earthly perspective. If you hope in nine different things and they all disappoint you, then it seems “reasonable” to conclude that hope itself is the problem. But it is also a self-defense mechanism of the flesh.

Biblical Counselors are Hope Dealerz

Being a hopeful person:

Have you been born again to a living hope? — 1 Peter 1:3
Do you have reputation for being hopeful? — 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
Could you tell a story of God forgiving and restoring you? — 1 Timothy 1:12-16
Have you experienced the difference God works makes on a problem? — Hebrews 4:12

Giving hope (initial conversation with someone asking for help)

“Biblical hope is the expectation of good that is based on the promises of God.”

“A concept involving trustful anticipation, particularly with reference to the fulfillment of the promises of God.”

Bible Promises:

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling” — Psalm 46:1-3

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” — Psalm 34:18-19

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” — Matthew 11:28-30

“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” — Hebrews 12:11