We know what living on overload feels like. It’s a deep kind of tired that goes right down to the bone.
Who needs that at Christmastime? Not you, not me, and definitely not the Lord. He would never ask us to overdo, overspend, overcommit. That’s the enemy of our souls, drawing our attention away from the Child in the manger.
God wants to remake our overload into overflow. To exchange the feeling of being drained into an awareness of being filled. To turn the dread of carrying everything on our shoulders—all the planning, decorating, cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping—into the delight of watching the Holy Spirit work in us and through us to bless the people around us.
Oh, sister, how I love this verse.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
May the God of hope… Romans 15:13
Yes, indeed. The Lord reigns over hope, is “the source of hope” (CJB), and He “gives hope” (WE). When God is in your heart and life, you have access to all the hope you need.
Hope isn’t something we drum up inside us or cobble together from broken dreams. What “the God of green hope” (MSG) offers is new, fresh, vital, alive. Hope doesn’t come from people or circumstances or situations, not for one holiday minute: “our hope comes from God” (NLV).
And look at this! The Author of hope comes bearing gifts.
…fill you with all joy and peace… Romans 15:13
He doesn’t simply splash a little joy and peace in your general direction. He stands before you and pours out all you need, until your arms are filled and your heart is about to burst. He will “bless you with complete happiness” (CEV) and “infuse your lives with an abundance of joy” (VOICE).
Who doesn’t want joy, delight, gladness?
Who doesn’t need wholeness, peace, quietness, rest?
Who doesn’t long for a Christmas that’s truly merry?
If you’re thinking, “I want all that, but God seems to have forgotten me this year,” then the next phrase is for you, beloved.
…as you trust in him,… Romans 15:13
I know. It’s hard to believe in something we can’t see or touch. Yet that’s the definition of faith: “being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).
Faith means not knowing what tomorrow holds yet putting our trust in the God who holds tomorrow. Faith is the biggest, brightest gift under your tree, placed there by the God who loves you and knows exactly what you need.
Look at who He is and you’ll be convinced of what He can do:
- “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:4).
- “Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity (Psalm 93:2).
- “Everyone who believes may have eternal life in him” (John 3:15).
Our trust, our faith, our belief in Him and His atoning work on the cross: that’s what unlocks the floodgates.
…so that you may overflow with hope… Romans 15:13
What a picture! You, “bubbling over” (AMPC) with more hope than your heart can possibly contain. You, with so much hope to spare that you bathe everyone who crosses your path. You, knowing there’s more hope where that came from because your “confidence in His promises” (AMP) means an endless supply.
The Greek word perisseuó means “to be over and above, to abound, to exceed the ordinary.” This isn’t a small measure of hope. It’s enough to make you “brim over” (MSG), spill out, overflow your banks, such that “your whole life and outlook may be radiant with hope” (PHILLIPS).
That’s what we want, Lord. But how is such abundant hope possible?
…by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Ah. So, it’s not our doing. It’s His doing “by the virtue of the Holy Spirit” (JUB). It’s not our effort, our labor, our work, or (heaven forbid!) our virtue, our goodness, our strength.
It is only “through the Holy Spirit’s power within you” (TLB) that you can experience a forever kind of hope that sorrow can’t steal and disappointment can’t banish. A hope that can withstand anything the enemy tries to throw at you because you are “filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit” (MSG).
Yes, that’s exactly what we want. For Christmas and for always.
Lord Jesus, You came to earth to bring us hope, to give us joy, to bless us with peace. Open our tightly folded arms and soften our hardened hearts to receive Your generous gifts. Refresh us with the living water of Your Word. Renew us with the living presence of Your Spirit. Restore our faith. Refill us, Lord. Amen, amen, amen.
P.S. With all I’ve been going through personally this month, opening God’s Word with you has been a beautiful oasis in the midst of our mourning. Bless you for your encouraging and comforting words. They mean so much.
Your grateful sister, Liz