Read: Proverbs 13
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12)
Hope is an incredible motivator in life, a powerful sustainer of love, and unquestionably, the most effective instigator of spiritual growth. On the other hand, the loss of hope is arguably the greatest devastator of life a human being can experience. That’s how profound powerful hope is.
The Contemporary English Version translates our proverb this way: “Not getting what you want can make you feel sick, but a wish that comes true is a life-giving tree.” That’s so true, isn’t it? We’ve all been there—the loss of a job, the breakup of a relationship, the crushing of a dream—it takes your legs right out from under you. It tempts you to give up, shrink back, curl up in a ball and just quit on life. There is no pain quite like the loss of hope.
On the other hand, when you have hope you can survive and actually thrive through just about anything. When hope is stoked, even when what you’re hoping for is still a far off expectation, suddenly there is energy, drive, focus, and patient endurance.
That’s how powerful hope is, and that’s why we’ve got to practice it. Huh? Practice hope? Yeah, that’s what the Bible says. I Thessalonians 5:8 says we’ve got to exercise hopefulness…we’ve got to practice being hopeful…we’ve got to put on hope:
“But since we belong to the day let us be sober and put on the breastplate
of faith and love, and, for a helmet, the hope of salvation.”
You see, hope is not just some vague and lofty concept; it is actually a very practical thing. Just like a football player puts on his helmet for the game, or a soldier puts on his helmet for battle, we’ve got to put on the helmet of hope, particularly the hope of our salvation, because it is what enables us to endure life’s battles and come out victorious at the end of the day.
So how can you literally put hope on as a helmet? First, quit being passive about hope. It’s not just going to happen for you, you’ve got to practice it. How? By, secondly, developing and nurturing patterns of thinking that are founded in hope. The fact is, not only are there ways of thinking that will kill hope, there are ways of thinking that produce hope.
Let me illustrate: Suppose you were to receive a phone call today from an old friend who enthusiastically says, “I have good news. You can take a 7-day trip to Hawaii with my company that won’t cost you a dime. We have room for two more…but here’s the catch: we leave tomorrow evening at 9:00 PM. The boss is taking us on his private jet, and we’ll be staying at his beachfront villa in Maui.”
You tell him you’ll call him right back, and the minute you get off the phone, you and your spouse, who was listening in, start thinking and planning. Out comes the pen and paper, and you begin to prioritize what you need to do to make this happen. Then you call the friend back, and tell him you’re in.
Now here’s the deal: I’ll guarantee that you will begin to ruthlessly align your life over the next 24 hours to pull this off. Am I right? You see, the hope of Hawaii tomorrow will change the way you live today.
There’s something even better and more permanent that Hawaii. It’s called heaven. The most important hope of all—the hope of your salvation—is promising you a better tomorrow. So start aligning your life today for eternity with Jesus—and be ruthless about it—and watch what hope will do for you!
It is what Christians were meant to do, by the way!
“We have this hope as an anchor of the soul, firm and secure.” ~Hebrews 6:19
Winning At Life:
For the next seven days, right before you go to sleep and then again when you first wake up, think about what heaven will be like. That’s practicing hope.