Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. -Romans 15:13
If you are discouraged or in doubt, it is easy to give up and just lay in our puddle of pity all day. Or all month. (Or all year...yikes!)
It TAKES WORK to stir up our hope when we feel hopeless.
It TAKES WORK to fight against unbelief.
If the enemy of our souls can get us to looking at our mounting problems, instead of the Mountain Mover, then he wins. You will wallow in discouragement and self-pity and God's plans for you could be derailed.
You'll begin to believe that God is not good, that God is not for you, and that maybe He doesn't even care about you anymore.
God's promises are specifically for believers, so if unbelief sets in, you can be sure that God's promises won't work!
So how do we stir up our hope?
How do we fight against unbelief?
Choose one scripture to meditate on
Meditating on the Romans 15:13 scripture above is a sure-fire way to combat unbelief. I just recently went through a period of discouragement and self-pity, and boy, am I glad that's over!
I decided to wake each day and give this day to the LORD. I had gone for a while without even acknowledging Him in the morning. No wonder I was so out of whack!
First thing out of bed, I get on my knees, face to the floor, and say, "Lord, this day is yours and so am I. You have my hands, my feet, my mouth, my body. I worship you and honor you today with all I have."
Easy, peasy, right? It is an acknowledgement that I belong to Him, and I can do nothing (good) on my own.
Then, I meditate on Romans 15:13. Now, I'm not saying you should get in your yoga pose and say "oooommmmm"! Meditating only means pondering on something. I read the verse a few times to commit it to memory. Then, I think about it. I ponder it. I chew on it all day, so to speak.
I'll pray in tongues and ask the Holy Spirit to show me what it means.
It's amazing what a difference this makes in your day!
Find more scriptures
There are a plethora of scriptures about hope.
Did you know you can use Google to look up scriptures? Make sure to include the word "Bible" in your search, because you are looking for actual scriptures; `not someone's interpretation of them.
Here are a few that I googled just now:
The familiar verse about hope that we all know is Jeremiah 29:11,
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future."
Here are a few more.
"Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken." -Psalm 62:5-6
"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." -Isaiah 40:31
"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:21-23
When we fix our mind on the goodness and promises of God, it stirs up hope!
Heroes of the faith
There are two incredible examples in the Word that overcame great obstacles by stirring up their hope.
Consider Abraham, who had a very big and specific promise from God. Do you realize it took 25 years before Isaac was even born? Could you wait on a promise from God that long?
Thank God we have a new, and better covenant through the Holy Spirit! Think about it...Abraham didn't even have the comfort of the Holy Spirit to guide him and keep him grounded during this time. He didn't have a prayer language to edify himself when things got a little cray-cray. Seriously!
Now, Abraham did some silly, stupid things, like pretending Sarah was his sister. And Sarah was a little cooky too. (I mean, who wouldn't be if you were married to Abraham?) She took a short-cut on God's plan and did it her own way. She had to have been really discouraged to suggest Abraham have a child with her servant.
Did Abraham get it right all those years? Nope. Unbelief makes you do some stupid things!
But at the end of the day, Abraham hoped. Abraham believed, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.
Take look at what Paul said about Abraham in Romans 4:18:
"Who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”
Another version describes it, "Without hope, Abraham hoped."
Abraham showed us this important truth: hope is a choice!
Another incredible story of someone who hoped against all hope was David.
In 1 Samuel 30, David and his men had just arrived home from war to find that the Amalekites had attacked their families! They had burned the entire town and taken their wives, children and loved ones as prisoner!
4 Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. 5 And David’s two wives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite, had been taken captive. 6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters.
Now, I know many of us have gone through some hard times. But have you ever experienced someone burning down your house, taking your family prisoner, and all your friends wanting to kill you?
Didn't think so!
And yet, verse 6:
But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.
David showed us that we can strengthen ourselves "in the Lord." We can choose to focus on the goodness and promises of God. We can abide in His love for us, and in the peace of His presence. David sought the Lord for every decision, every step.
We can too!
Don't stay on Pity Island
Some people think they can power through the tough times on their own. Why is that? Honestly, I think if you're not willing to ask for help, you're just walking in pride.
You don't have to stay on the island. You don't have to go at it alone. Find help and accountability through your local church! Walk over to your elderly neighbor and ask if you can do something for them.
I have found that self-centeredness and self-pity are the root of all my grief. Once I stop thinking about myself and my problems, and start thinking about and serving others, then I can begin to climb out of that hole.
The Word of God is so life giving. Why not partner up with a buddy to pray for each other and the needs of your families? Did you know that if one can put a thousand to flight, two people who agree in prayer can put 10,000 to flight? (Check out this promise of God in Deut. 32:30!)
The We have a choice every day to choose life. Choose the living, active Word of God that gives life, simply by reading it.
Most importantly, stir up your hope. Snap out of it! Don't allow unbelief to rob you of the promises of God. We have a choice every day to choose life. Choose the living, active Word of God. There are many self-help books to read, but this is the only book that will GIVE you life. And its FREE! All you gotta do is read it!
Have any of these scriptures on hope encouraged you? Or maybe you have found other scriptures that brought you through a difficult time. Feel free to share them in the comments below! We'd love to hear how you have been impacted by the Word of God!