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I Set My Hope on Jesus

Kim Melnick

Jan 17, 2024

Finding Hope in Life's Most Difficult Battles

This week, we will sing a new song in our Lord’s Day worship. It’s one of those songs that can bring Scriptural truths to mind in an intensely personal way and cause us to praise the Lord, the one who truly is our only hope in life and death. 

The song is, I Set My Hope on Jesus - A Song for a Deconstructing Friend.

In spite of the subtitle, I believe that, as you listen, you will find that the lyrics echo common struggles that every follower of Christ can expect to face. As we confront our most difficult battles, this song beautifully calls us to set our hope on Jesus, while reminding us of the true hope we have in Him.

So, what are these difficult battles?

The first verse tackles the trials, questions, doubts and wounds that each one of us will experience in this world...

“When this life of trials tests my faith, I set my hope on Jesus When the questions come and doubts remain, I set my hope on Jesus For the deepest wounds that time won’t heal, there’s a joy that runs still deeper There’s a truth that’s more than all I feel, I set my hope on Jesus.”

God’s Word does not shy away from the reality of all sorts of trouble in this world- in fact, Scripture is full of painful circumstances, songs of lament and prayers of desperation and doubt.  We can, indeed, bring these to the Lord who bears our burdens. 

But, sometimes these burdens feel overwhelming and crush us with their weight. In those moments, the last line in this verse ought to fill us with glorious hope. Even as we face the deepest wounds of life, the song tells us....

….There’s a joy that runs still deeper. 

God’s word reminds us that in the presence of the Lord, there is a fullness and an abundance of joy. While the believer looks forward to the eternal joy to come, we must know that we can experience the joy of the Lord in this life as we set our hope on Him, seeking His presence as we engage with His word and as we pray, praise and worship Him.

The song continues....

…..There’s a truth that’s more than all I feel.

There is a truth that is more than all our deceitful hearts feel!  While our culture tells us to follow our hearts, God’s Word (and this song) direct our hearts to the truth that is found in God’s Word in the person and work of Christ. And, as we set our hope on Him, our beautiful, glorious, eternal Savior, we will see that our hope and our joy can begin to be restored. 

As we move on to verse 2, the song addresses our battle with sin….

Though I falter in this war with sin, I set my hope on Jesus. When I fail the fight and sink within, I set my hope on Jesus. Though the shame would drown me in its sea and I dread the waves of justice, I will cast my life on Calvary, I set my hope on Jesus. 

For some of us, the weight of our sin is heavy. Perhaps, even as you’ve grown in holiness, there are hidden sins of your heart that you seem to fight over and over again. Perhaps, like David, these sins are always before you.

Or, maybe you have ignored these sins, instead of fighting them, and you know, in the deepest recesses of your heart, that you are growing prideful. Maybe you have grown content living in your sin, but you know that you are moving farther from Christ and from your brothers and sisters in His church.

The truth is, God’s Word teaches us that our struggle with sin will be with us until we meet Him in glory. The Bible calls us to bring our sin into the light, admitting it to ourselves and to others, repenting before the Lord and battling against our sin by the help of the Holy Spirit. 

Only Jesus can set us free from the penalty and power of sin in our lives. When we seek Him in our struggles with sin and when we set our hope on Him, we will find help in our time of need and freedom from the guilt and shame that sin brings. This leads to renewed fellowship with the Lord and with other believers. In all this, he restores our joy as well.

And, one day, when He comes again, we will be freed from even the presence of sin! This is the hope of Christ that sustains us as we fight the battle against sin in this world.

The song’s final verse speaks to the constant pull of the world on our hearts...

Though the world calls me to leave my Lord, I set my hope on Jesus. Though it offers all its vain rewards, I set my hope on Jesus. Though this heart of mine is prone to stray, give me grace enough to finish. ‘Til I worship on that final day, I set my hope on Jesus.

The world screams boldly to our flesh every single day. We know that we are called to deny the flesh and live by the Spirit. 

This can be complicated to discern because we all have both material and personal needs and wants. The Lord provides generously for us, often with more than we need. But there are times in our lives,  when the world pulls on our hearts in a way that our desire for worldly things trumps our desire for the things of the Lord. Deep down, we all know this pull. 

For some, this pull is found in insatiable desires for more of the finer things in life - a nicer car, house, clothes or bigger bank accounts. The discontentment never ends and the latest and greatest never seems to satisfy for very long.

For others, the world pulls with a desire for comfort and convenience, perhaps physically or maybe relationally. Again, discontentment reigns and gratitude is hard to find.

And, for still others, the desire for power, influence, approval and status may be the root of the worldly pull. The pursuit to get ahead, to please men over God, or to obtain fame, power and influence, can be disastrous to those living in service to a God who calls us to humbly glorify Him. 

The truth is that Jesus calls us to deny ourselves and follow Him. He reminds us that our treasures on earth will be destroyed. He calls us to walk in the Spirit, not in the flesh. 

This song reminds us to keep our priorities in check. Its lyrics serve as a reminder that a life transformed by the presence of God seeks his Kingdom above all else, yet it recognizes that each one of us is prone to stray in our walk with the Lord. Once again, we are called to set our hope on Jesus, the only one who truly satisfies and gives lasting joy.

The final words of this verse call us to ask the Lord for grace enough to finish - til we worship on that final day!

And, that’s where the chorus, which is repeated throughout the song, brings us to a full measure of hope and reassurance in all of our struggles.

I set my hope on Jesus, my rock, my only trust. who set His heart upon me first, I set my hope on Jesus.

The ultimate answer to all of life’s struggles is to set our hope on Jesus - He is the one who is our rock, our only trust. He is the one who chose us, setting His heart on us before the foundation of the world. 

Christian, He has chosen you, He has saved you and you are secure in His hands.! 

In your struggles, turn back to Him. Hold fast to the confession of your hope without wavering, knowing that He who chose you and saved you is faithful! 

Set your hope on Him.

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, 

for He who promised is faithful."

Hebrews 10:23

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