Illuminating the Imagination with a Hopeful Inheritance
This is Day 8 of 31 Days of Hope-filled Living. To start over with Day 1, click here.
“I pray that the light of God will illuminate the eyes of your imagination, flooding you with light, until you experience the full revelation of the hope of his calling—that is, the wealth of God’s glorious inheritances that he finds in us, his holy ones!”-Ephesians 1:18
“Your faith and love rise within you as you access all the treasures of your inheritance stored up in the heavenly realm. For the revelation of the true gospel is as real today as the day you first heard of our glorious hope, now that you have believed in the truth of the gospel … And we pray that you would be energized with all his explosive power from the realm of his magnificent glory, filling you with great hope.”-Colossians 1:5, 11
A famous Bible missionary-guy named Paul wrote several letters back to the early churches he had planted, and these letters make up a large portion of the New Testament we read today. He begins his letter to the Ephesian church and the Colossian church similarly, as we read in the verses above. Having reminded them of their saving belief in Jesus Christ, he explains that what they have now is a powerful hope to uplift and brighten their minds with joy for what God has guaranteed them in heaven.
I believe one of the reasons Paul felt it necessary to remind the believers that the same excitement they first had when hearing about Jesus’s eternal saving grace was just as relevant after the passage of time is that our brains are reliably forgetful and need consistent re-filling of light. Paul knew that the struggles and dark discouragement of this life on earth tend to crowd out the joy and hope, through no fault of our own.
New believers especially face this phenomenon because their fresh faith is so shockingly good, makes them surprisingly joyful, and excites them with a drive to know God deeply, but their sins or struggles or sufferings tend to derail them easily because they are not disciplined enough to know how to face them with God’s help and guidance. They forget that the power that saved them is also the power that keeps them in step on the path of following Jesus. They find themselves losing faith because they try to depend on their own strength to be a part of God’s family and His plan. They lose hope.
The eternal and glorious inheritance you hope for lights up your mind with love, energy, and power today.
“Hope is important for your brain.
Neuroscientists are investigating the science of hope. It turns out that a feeling of hopefulness changes your brain. Your brain pumps chemicals when experiencing the sensation of hope. These chemicals can block pain and accelerate healing. Hope, which involves belief and expectation, causes the brain to release neurochemicals called endorphins and enkephalins which actually mimic the effects of morphine. The result is that the brain can overcome hurdles and move to a place of recovery. In scientific terms, hope and recovery are not causally connected, but they are correlated.
I believe hope is as vital to the brain as the oxygen we breathe.”–Terry Small, “The Brain Guy”, Canada’s leading learning skills specialist, and author of the Brain Bulletin.
The Scripture passages above contain two terms in common and one term that is similar but not exactly the same word. In both passages, the word hope is the same greek elpis/elpida, which means hope, expectation, trust, confidence and the word glory is the same greek doxēs, which means honor, renown; glory, an especially divine quality, the unspoken manifestation of God, splendor. The other term that the passages share that is slightly different is the word inheritance. To the Ephesians, Paul used the word kléronomias, which means possessions viewed in one sense as present, in another as future; a share, participation. In this, Paul was describing the believers as God’s inheritance. We are His, now and for eternity, and we bring Him delight accordingly. However, in the Colossians passage, Paul uses the word apokeimenēn, which means to be laid away, be laid up in store. This is the same word Jesus used to describe what the wicked servant did with his talent—he tucked it away, laid it up in the ground for later, as it was.
In essence, God’s glory is our inheritance, already enough, and guaranteed for us to receive on the other side of eternity, which is also what gives us joyful endurance here on this side of eternity while we wait.
Let me explain it once more, now that we have all of that greek context to help us understand:
According to Paul, as followers of Jesus we have tucked away for us an inheritance, which is God in all of His glory and splendor, and this is our hope—the brain oxygen that sustains us today with joy because of what we know is guaranteed for us in eternity. In addition, we are God’s inheritance, which also delights Him, and fills us with energizing hope just knowing that He treasures us.
I often find myself getting caught up in the distractions of this world, forgetting that my treasure is laid up in heaven and His name is Jesus, as well as forgetting that I am His treasure, which He is in the process of preparing, making me holy and glorious for the day I will see His face. Car troubles, gas prices, utility bills, doctor visits, and what to fix for dinner often crowd out any illuminating thoughts of God or the heavenly treasures He has in store for me. It’s no wonder my hope fades as my mind is dulled.
Have you been there too lately, Sweet Reader? Then these passages penned centuries ago are just for you today. Let Paul’s words sink deep into your heart and drink deep of the fountain of hope found there. Let your imagination be ignited with power and excitement. Your thirst can be quenched and your joy can overflow now because of what is in store for you someday. It is God’s very glory—His riches bestowed that will never be spent and never need to be earned. He is your inheritance and You are His. Interest rates and appreciation need not apply, for it is already infinite.
Hope How-to: Take a few moments to dump your brain onto a piece of paper: everything you’re worried or concerned or anxious about, everything that holds too much real estate in your mind. Fold up the paper and hand it across the table to Jesus. Take a fresh piece of paper and write down some of the gifts you have today and some of the gifts of glory you’re hoping for in eternity. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what it is to walk in imaginative hopefulness and explosive joy as He gets you ready for that day when you enter God’s glory forever.
Prayer: Sweet Spirit, I pray that you will minister powerfully in the mind of my Reader today. Fill her with delight at the thought of the glorious inheritance to come. Let the hope sustain her like oxygen today. Blow her mind with excitement and fill her imagination with the delight laid up in store for her, and let all of today’s mundane troubles fade into a blur as she focuses solely on Your love and glory. Amen.
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With love from my Nest,