Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Our God is the God of hope! As Paul draws his treatise to the Roman community of faith in Jesus to a close, he invokes the LORD as the God of hope. Inside of His own existence, there is hope. Though He is the God of all things, Paul is highlighting that he is the God of hope specifically. That should be an encouragement to us! Let us consider this together in our last devotional this week.
As the God of hope, He can fill us with all joy and peace – what a tremendous promise! ALL joy – not just some joy! Joy is a heart response to life independent of our circumstances. James says in the first chapter of his letter to Believers in Jesus from the first century that we should “count it all joy when [we] fall into various trials…” (James 1:2). The God of hope can fill us with joy even when we face trouble and challenges. Hope from God can fill us with all joy!
Peace, too, which Paul prays the God of hope will fill us with, is independent of circumstances. Jesus tells the disciples in John 16 that He tells them of trouble ahead of time so that they might know it and prepare for it in their hearts. He makes them a promise of trouble but also promises them peace in the midst of that trouble. He says, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The God of hope promises a peace that is full in us.
Paul’s instruction continues – “in believing.” The gifts of joy and peace from the God of hope must be maintained in believing. “Believing” as Paul uses it here (and elsewhere) is not giving mental ascent to theological constructs. “Believing” is active – when worry presses against our minds, we confess with our mouths that “[our Lord] has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). Our believing creates an environment in our hearts and minds where the God of hope fills us with joy and peace. We believe that He works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Our hope is not “barely hanging on” in Paul’s declaration to the Roman community of faith. Our hope is one that abounds. Ours is a hope that exists in large amounts. It overflows. And when our hope abounds, it can affect the environment around us. It can be contagious. An inexplicable hope that abounds affords us many an opportunity to explain to a hopeless world the source of our abounding hope. Bless the Lord for a hope that abounds!
Lastly, Paul attributes the abounding hope from joy and peace of the God of hope in whom we believe to the power of the Holy Spirit. This is not something we just decide and try to muster up in our own personality, our emotions or as an act of our will. As the Holy Spirit empowers us to live in nearness to the LORD, the Spirit also empowers us to be filled with hope. We trust Him to pour out His power in us. That power becomes an abounding hope – LORD may it be so with us!
“Now, may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace” in these days! And as your believing is enriched, may you, by the power of the Holy Spirit, abound in hope! A hope that overflows. A hope that overwhelms. A hope that overcomes discouragement. A hope that builds you up. May the hope of the God of hope flourish in your heart and mind by the Messiah Jesus!
- Has your hope been strengthened in this last week? Why or why not? Be specific.
- If your hope has been strengthened, write down why and how so that you can look back on this in future times of worry or doubt.
If your hope has not been strengthened, write down where you still need a touch from the God of hope. Talk to the LORD about it. Don’t be embarrassed but do keep pressing into the promise of His hope abounding in you.