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Bible verses about Hope as Motivation
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Romans 8:25

Hope is important because it plays a major role in salvation. Hope is a powerful motivator. What we love, we pay attention to, and if we hope to get something from what we love, our hope will motivate us in that direction. Hope influences us either to take or not to take certain actions, depending upon what we hope for. We will generally do all that we can to make sure that what we hope for happens the way that we foresee it happening. If we hope something does not happen, we generally do what we can to see that it does not happen. Hope motivates us to move in a certain direction and to do certain things.

What if we hope for something that is beyond our immediate control? We will still pray that what we hope for will happen. If there is nothing else we can do, we will still pray. That is how powerful hope is. It will make us do things even subconsciously, bending us in a certain direction because our hope is so strong. At the very least, even if we do not pray, we will at least wish, fret, and worry about it until something is resolved. Our hopes, whether we are conscious of them or not, are constantly playing on our mind.

Hope is usually defined as a longing, a desire, or an expectation of fulfillment. It can be passive or intensely active. It can be for evil or for good. It is vitally important that we have the right hope because the Bible says, that along with faith and love, it is one of the three timeless and enduring eternal values. There will never be a time in eternity when hope is not on our minds! Think about that! It is that important.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Resurrection From the Dead


 

Romans 15:12-13

The apostle reveals that our hope derives from our calling through the New Covenant and finds its ultimate source in God. Yet, God is more than the source of our hope: He is our hope. In verse 12, Isaiah refers to Him as the object of our hope. In Haggai 2:7, He is called "the Desire of All Nations," and in Romans 15:13, Paul calls Him "the God of hope," that is, hope's source.

Without God, we and this world have no hope except the normal desires common to the unconverted, things like filling our bellies, getting a good sleep, satisfying our eyes and ears, experiencing thrills and excitement, and accumulating money, power, and possessions. None of these is intrinsically evil, but God wants our hopes to be exceedingly higher. Verse 13 supplies a major condition to having this high quality of hope and thus the motivation it provides—believing. Remember, faith undergirds all the elements of motivation, and thus they clarify why living faith produces growth of fruit.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Three): Hope


 

1 Corinthians 13:13

Here, Paul lists hope as one of the "big three" virtues of Christianity. Whereas faith is the foundation on which the other two stand, and love is the object because it enables us to communicate, interact properly, and unite, hope is the quality that motivates, providing energy by keeping us in anticipation of greater and better things to come.

Hope, as used in Scripture, is not difficult to define. It appears as both a noun and verb, and conveys the absolute certainty of future good. I Corinthians 13:13 lists it with those things that remain, abide, or continue. In other words, even in the Kingdom of God, we will always be eagerly looking forward to some blessing or accomplishment as age upon age unfolds before us. This will occur because God's revelation never ends, as He Himself is an inexhaustible resource.

Ephesians 2:12 adds another dimension to Christian hope. ". . . that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world." Our hope is uniquely Christian because no other religion, no other way of life, can give its adherents a certain hope. Why? First, even though other religions may be moral in their teachings, they speak only from man's experiences. Second, their god is not living the life of God. Third, they have no expectation of the Messiah and all it implies.

The Bible leaves no doubt that our hope is a direct result of God's calling: "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling" (Ephesians 4:4). Paul clearly links our hope with our calling, which is God's summons into His presence so that we may have a relationship with Him. In the context of the first paragraph of Ephesians 4, the implication is that this hope is a factor that unites us into one body. Our calling is an end to pessimism, negativity, and despair and the beginning of a confident, bright, and optimistic life filled with endless possibilities because this unique hope gives positive expectancy to life here and now and beyond the grave as well.

All men have hope occasionally, and some frequently seem hopeful. Many peoples' hope changes as often as the weather. The frequent fluctuations of the stock market indices often indicate investors' up-and-down confidence and hope about the future. Yet, our hope can be taken to higher level altogether because Christians can have continuous hope. Our hope is not a "mere flash in the pan."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Three): Hope


 

1 Corinthians 15:1-8

As he opens this chapter, Paul's clear purpose is to show that the hope God has placed before us is not based on men's guesses or possibilities, but on the testimony of many eyewitnesses then yet living when he wrote this in the AD 50s. Paul adds that he did not make up the gospel, but it was what he received from Christ, and what he received was exactly the same as what he had later been told by the apostles when he met with them in Jerusalem. Paul is presenting the resurrection of Christ as a historical fact.

We also have available to us the witness of the apostles' lives following the resurrection. Now, people just do not do the things the apostles did without believing what they saw with their own eyes with all their heart. Thus, in the first eight verses Paul reinforces what Peter says in II Peter 1:16-21, that there is plenty of strong evidence of the proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is not a figment of these men's imaginations. It really did occur, and God did not provide a mere two or three witnesses, but hundreds of them to the fact of the resurrection of the dead.

Paul establishes that our hope is resurrection into the Kingdom of God. However, we must take this hope one step farther if we want to make it a motivating force. The resurrection is, in one sense, merely a promised event given at a point in time. It does not occur merely because we believe it, or even because it has been promised. It occurs because of Who promised it. It occurs because there is a powerful Being of utmost integrity, who cannot lie and who will make it occur. This is where our hope must be, not in what He has promised, but rather Who has promised it. Is our faith in God? So must our hope be in God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Perseverance and Hope


 

1 Corinthians 15:57-58

"Victory" is from the same Greek root as the word translated "overcomes" so many times in Revelation 2 and 3. Overcoming is being victorious over the pull of human nature against God in the self, Satan, and this world that tries to keep us from entering God's Kingdom.

Paul also exhorts us to be "always abounding in the work of the Lord." His work is creating. Then, by using the words "your labor," the apostle draws our attention to our responsibilities. Our labor is whatever energies and sacrifices it takes to yield to the Lord so He can do His work. Scripture refers to God several times as the Potter, and we are the clay He is shaping. The difference between us and earthy clay is that the clay God is working is alive—having a mind and will of its own, it can choose to resist or yield.

Following initial repentance, finding the motivation to use our faith to yield to Him in labor, not just agreeing mentally, is perhaps most important of all. Real living faith motivates conduct in agreement with God's purpose. Clearly, God's purpose is that we grow or change to become as much like Him in this life as time allows.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Three): Hope


 

Ephesians 4:4

Paul clearly links our hope with our calling, which is God's summons into His presence so that we may have a relationship with Him. In the context of the first paragraph of Ephesians 4, the implication is that this hope is a factor that unites us into one body. Our calling is an end to pessimism, negativity, and despair and the beginning of a confident, bright, and optimistic life filled with endless possibilities because this unique hope gives positive expectancy to life here and now and beyond the grave as well.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Three): Hope


 

Ephesians 6:17

The helmet protects the head, the part of the body most vital to quality of life. It is the thinking part where choices and judgments are made, where attitudes reside and surge forth in conduct. It is the part that holds knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and memories of life's experiences, that determines the kind of life we lead. It is that part where Satan aims most of his fiery darts.

In this metaphor, hope is not an offensive weapon but a defense; it is a motivator to protect us from losing sight of the glorious end of God's purpose. Why? The only thing that can really defeat and destroy us is for us to give up. Jesus says in His Olivet prophecy, "But he who endures to the end shall be saved" (Matthew 24:13). Hope's fruit is not just an optimistic and positive outlook but also the drive to persevere, to endure come what may, to propel one forward. Only the hopeful will do this. The hopeless will give up.

So powerful is hope's action that Paul says in Romans 8:24-25 that we are saved by it! "For we are saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance." This in no way conflicts with his declaration in Ephesians 2:8 that we are "saved by grace through faith," because both faith and hope are necessary for salvation. Faith primarily operates in the present as visible evidence of things hoped for but not yet seen. Hope, though it is also operating in the present, primarily does so with reference to the future. Paul then says that, if a person has hope, he is motivated to wait patiently for what he hopes to see. The hopeful are motivated to endure whatever it takes to receive what they hope for.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Three): Hope


 

Hebrews 6:13-20

It has been said that the quality of a person's hope is the measure of any man. Abraham's hope is the illustration here. By this estimation, he was a great man because one cannot possibly hope in anything greater! In Romans 4:18, Paul says of Abraham, ". . . who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations." His hope was so strong that, in spite of having no physical reason to hope for descendants through Sarah because she was beyond childbearing years, he nonetheless hoped to the end. When Isaac was born, his hope was vindicated because he had placed his hope in God.

The writer's hope for the Hebrews is for the better things that accompany salvation. Better than what? The context of the chapter shows he feared they were falling away. He desires them to have the full assurance of hope to the end or, put another way, the full development of hope. Why? So that they will overcome the lassitude he detects in them and begin carrying out their Christian responsibilities.

He wanted them to be diligent and in earnest about their responsibilities to God in heaven all the way to the end—to be fully, spiritually, enthusiastically energized in going about their Father's business. They were on the verge of aimlessly drifting away. No longer were they thinking much about the hope that once burned in their minds and drove them on. Other interests and concerns had pushed the thrilling excitement of our great hope aside in mundane pursuits. Our minds must be systematically refreshed with study and meditation on our hope, or we will fall into the same spiritual torpor the Hebrews did. A movement, ideal, or visionary dream that does not inspire hope will not grip the hearts of people to give themselves in sacrifice and accomplishment.

The Hebrews were going through a hardship that is never fully explained. Whatever it was, through it they had regressed from a higher spiritual level. Oftentimes, we can do little but endure our hardships patiently. We simply cannot change much in this world, and it does us well to accept what we cannot change with hopeful resignation (Ecclesiastes 7:13-14). Patient endurance is in itself a worthy work because it is at least an exercise of self-control.

In America, government officials are sworn into their positions, promising to uphold the office and the laws of the land. We become dismayed because over time so many of them break their vows. Governments promise that their money is good; banks, that their customers' savings are safe, stockbrokers, that their counsel is sound; and insurance companies, that their policyholders will receive their due. These assurances fail all too often in bankruptcy or fraud. After enduring a number of these failures or observing others experience them, we become skeptical, perhaps even cynical.

Our hope, however, is in a Being and a government whose promises are absolutely faithful because it is impossible for Him to lie. Our hopes do not lie in our courage, intelligence, or even the finest of human qualities but in God's promises. He assures us in Hebrews 13:5, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

The danger the Hebrews faced is unknown, but whether or not we consciously recognize it, we, like the Hebrews, are in danger. We may not be in a physical danger—threatened by religious martyrdom, imprisonment, disease, or great loss of income—but we face spiritual dangers. With its manifold temptations and distractions, the world is constantly pressing in on us to turn us out of the way. Our human nature inclines us not to see things from God's perspective. Our pride seduces us. Our passions, tempers, and other weaknesses trip us up, causing failure and despair. What does a person do when he realizes he is in danger? Does he not make for safety as quickly as he can?

That is precisely the advice of Hebrews 6:18: ". . . by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope that is set before us." The author may have had the Israelite cities of refuge in mind as he wrote this (Numbers 35). They were places of safety for those who killed another accidentally. Yet, the killer's only hope was to get to a city of refuge before the avenger of blood got to him! The refuge for those in the Hebrews' spiritual condition involves hope. The Greek word translated "set before" pictures hope lying before us like some inviting treat for us to take.

These people were in danger of falling away through their lethargic, lukewarm, careless, and lazy reaction to life and what it dealt them, yet they possessed the greatest hope a human could possibly entertain! As time passed, it had blurred in their minds almost to non-existence. They were forgetting it!

The author then describes hope as an anchor for our lives. Even as an anchor keeps a ship from drifting onto the rocks, hope keeps us from idly drifting to our spiritual destruction. Hope keeps us safe. It is a major stabilizing force for the whole of life because it has hold of something that does not move despite the tempests around us. Our hope is anchored in Jesus Christ, who as High Priest has entered in our behalf into the heavenly Holy of Holies beyond the veil. Though His blood justifies us, His life saves us. Because He lives, intercedes for us, and watches over our lives to bring us into the Father's Kingdom, we have hope.

Hope motivates, and its primary function is to enable us to endure. We know that our wonderful goal is sure because our hope is in God, who is absolute and all-powerful. If we are to be saved, the means to fulfill this must come from God. The relationship established through God's calling, Christ's sacrifice, and our making of the New Covenant with Him provides that means. Now we must do all we can to fulfill our part of the relationship.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Three): Hope


 

Hebrews 11:10

Abraham envisioned the coming of the Kingdom of God to earth and his place in it. This verse is clearly saying that an element that motivated him to do whatever God required was his vision of what lies ahead. In this case, it was a vivid and wonderful contrast to his unsettled circumstance.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Two): Vision


 

James 1:2-3

We are counseled here by James, who was Jesus' brother. Hardly anyone knew Jesus as James did—he grew up with Him. He was able to watch Him over the course of His entire life, and so he knew the mind of Christ exceedingly well. James says that we are to consider trials as a reason for great joy because trials are capable of producing good results. However, we must understand that trials do not automatically produce good results. They can easily make one bitter rather than better. Whether one comes out better for the experience depends upon how faith, hope, and love are used. How the trial is used is the issue, and whether faith, hope, and love produce a higher level of spiritual maturity. What determines whether they make us better rather than bitter is how we use them.

James describes a person surrounded by trials of many kinds. We live in that period when iniquity abounds, and we are admonished by Jesus that we will need endurance during this time (Matthew 24:12-13). We are assaulted by many kinds of trials, and they will increase. James is concerned about whether they will produce perseverance in us.

The King James version renders this word as "patience." That may be an acceptable translation, but it is not really correct. "Perseverance" or "endurance" is better, as most modern translations translate it. This is because the Greek word that equates to our "patience" is passive, meaning that one is merely waiting something out. But the Greek word used here, hupomone, indicates activity rather than passivity. The person is not just waiting for something to happen, though he is patient in what he is going through.

Commentator William Barclay defines hupomone as "having the quality to stand, facing the storm, struggling against difficulty and opposition." It is a quality that makes progress against a trial, rather than merely waiting a difficulty out. James is focused on the testing of our belief and trust or faith. There is also hope that comes from faith, which acts as a motivator to sustain the struggle against the difficulties of life.

Hope is not directly mentioned here, but James does mention endurance. There is no active endurance unless one actually desires to accomplish something, and he has the hope of good to come from what he is enduring.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Perseverance and Hope


 

1 Peter 1:3

The strength of our hope rises or falls on how dependable we perceive our expectation to be. The reasons we believe our expectation to be dependable are thus decisive to whether we will be motivated.

Ours is a living hope because Jesus Christ and the Father are alive. They exert sovereign control, and They cannot lie. Because our hope is revealed, grounded, sustained, and directed by God, we can know that all things work together for good for those who are the called and love God (Romans 8:28). Our hope, then, should not be ephemeral wishes or dreams based on wishy-washy sentimentality, but the solid realities of God and His Word. Our hope flows from an inexhaustible Source, and therefore no trial should ever quench our optimism for future good. Hope is our response to His work in us expressed in trust, patience, endurance, and eagerness to continue.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Three): Hope


 

1 Peter 1:13

Peter refers to a motivating, emotional quality within one expecting success or good. Hope is a motivating, emotional, internal quality.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Trumpets Is a Day of Hope


 

1 Peter 1:13-16

The apostle Peter provides the practical implications of this wonderful hope. Hope can go to work for us and do wonders. God's calling and purpose are certainly wonderful, but He does not intend that they set us off on a daydream. Peter is declaring a call to arms: "Pull yourself together!" "Roll up your sleeves!" "Give hard thought and wrestle with the practical implications of salvation."

Remember that the church is the community where God's truth is taken seriously, and His mind is being formed in its members. To paraphrase and expand, Peter is saying, "Look, brothers, we should not be superficial about this. Keep cool. Do not be impetuous. Avoid excesses. Live a plain life. Work hard, but set your hope in God's grace, not in your own willpower.

"Remember always that your obedience is to a gracious Person, not to a coldly calculating judge or to society. Holiness is not sanctimoniousness. It is being separated for a special purpose by special instructions and discipline. We have been called to perform a unique purpose. We have been called to glorify God by our lives as a witness to all who observe, and at the same time being prepared for His Kingdom. God wants us to have a passionate love for goodness, so in your mind give Him a unique place.

"Do not fear the enemy, as we would Christ. Use your hope to think about Him, His power, justice, wisdom, goodness, truth, omnipotence, and omniscience. Remember always that He has wisdom without error, power without limit, love without hatred. Our hope is in One who is great in every respect. Quit thinking of God in fleshly terms. He is not a limited man nor even a superman. He is GOD! He is with us, and so who can permanently harm us? Concentrate on being completely devoted to Him, and if we do this, we have every reason to hope. God is not a man that He should lie. His promises are sure."

John W. Ritenbaugh
Trumpets Is a Day of Hope


 

1 Peter 1:20-21

There is no hope in this world. If we are looking for things to be resolved by the leaders of this world, it will never happen. If we are looking for hope from our own abilities to be clever, to think quickly, to say the right things, to skills that we have developed, to education that we have received, to friends in the world, whatever we might put hope in, we will be terribly disappointed because not one of them will be able to save us from what is coming.

Our hope has to be in God. It is hope that buttresses faith. Faith is the foundation; we believe. But because we see something worth driving toward, a worthy goal, it is hope that motivates us to act on what we believe.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Don't Be a Prudent Agnostic


 

 




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