27 Oct Hope Is Needed for Real Change
Biblical change cannot take place without hope. When attempting to help a brother or sister in need, you should make it a priority to instill hope in the individual. You must understand what biblical hope is and work to inspire hope in the person in need.
You must be ready to identify false hope. False hope is based on human ideas of what feels good, a denial of reality, mystical thinking, an unbiblical view of prayer, and an improper interpretation of Scripture. Although it can be difficult, in order to please God, you must be prepared to tell the discouraged individual when he/she has a false hope.
You must understand what true hope is. It must be:
• Based on the expectations of God’s promises.
• The result of true salvation. In the attempt to help unbelievers, you must focus on evangelism first, before true healing can occur.
• Holistic (it must focus on God’s whole plan for the universe, not merely one person’s life)
• Realistic (it does not “imagine” the pain away)
• Renewed daily. It needs to be replenished; you cannot rest on yesterday’s victories.
• Dependent on the faithful study of the Word of God.
• A matter of the will (it is a choice that men are responsible to make)
• Based on knowledge, rather than on feelings.
The minister of healing must understand these truths regarding hope in order to help the wounded individual to understand it. In order to inspire hope you must teach the person in need to think biblically about the specific situation, God’s character, the possibilities for spiritual good, the divine resources in Christ, the nature and cause of his problem, and the words that you use to convey your thoughts.
You must speak in a language the person can understand and relate to. You must make your words come alive in a relevant way. You need to paint pictures, like Jesus spoke parables. You must also inspire hope by being a good example. Also, you should point the defeated individual to biblical examples, since this is a purpose for Scripture (Romans 15:4).
(Jim Ricci was the Associative Pastor and Care and Counseling Pastor at Cranston Christian Fellowship in Rhode Island from 1989 to 2017. He is now the Executive Director at Aletheia Counseling Ministries in Warwick, RI.)