What Exactly Do You Mean by Spiritual Hope?

Good morning from Westminster, MD!

A question I often get is, “what exactly do you mean by spiritual hope?” This is a great question as the meaning of this small, yet powerful phrase can vary a lot from person to person. So, what do I mean by “spiritual hope”? I am glad you asked.

When someone says spiritual hope our minds can go in a million directions. For some it may bring back memories of church from their childhood when they would sing songs such as, “Jesus Loves Me.” For others it might seem more mystical, relating to the universe and whether or not it is, “for you.” For others, spiritual hope sounds like something people believe in to, “make themselves feel better.” Still, for others, they would say it is what keeps them going despite the challenges around them.

Understanding spiritual hope often starts with understanding what it looks like when it is missing. When I started working in Nicaragua, I met people who were as intelligent and capable as me. Despite their natural abilities and talents they seemed to be “stuck”, believing nothing could ever change. Part of the problem was the lack of a real opportunity to move forward. However, there seemed to be something more. Beyond the lack of opportunity, there was a belief that they were destined for a life of less than. In other words, nothing would ever change and believing it would is an exercise in futility. The had accepted hopelessness as their permanent state.

The truth is this can happen to any of us, whether we are living in poverty or abundance. We can begin to believe that life is hopeless and nothing will ever change. Sadly, this belief can impact the way we live and our ability to take full advantage of the opportunities presented to us. This is what it looks like when spiritual hope is missing. The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. Hopelessness is a lie, not a permanent state.

The remedy to the lie of hopelessness is the truth—real, all-in hope. While all-in hope is both practical and spiritual, it is spiritual hope that changes the way you see yourself. Instead of destined for a life of less than, spiritual hope is grounded in the belief that you were created on purpose for a purpose by a God who loves you. It is understanding as the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 139 of the Old Testament of the Bible that you are, “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

True spiritual hope is not a wishy washy desire for, “things to go my way.” Instead it is a belief that I was created for more in the midst of the challenges I face in life. This is why real spiritual hope allows someone to persist despite their present circumstances. Instead of being defined by their current reality, they see beyond it, living into their God-given potential. This is what I mean by spiritual hope.

Ultimately, I have found true spiritual hope in the person of Jesus Christ. There is no clearer picture of how much God loves us and is for us. I believe everyone is on a journey and my journey has led me here. Maybe your journey will as well.

What is spiritual hope? It is a powerful, life-changing force—for you, me, and the world. If you would like to read more about spiritual hope and how I have seen it create change, check out my recently released book, Hope Realized.

May you be filled with real, all-in hope today!

James Belt

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