When you think about the future, are you hopeful? Or do you struggle with a sense of dread when you think about the coming days? People who have seen God's faithfulness in the past tend to be very hopeful about the future. They know a bad situation can turn into a wonderful testimony in a matter of minutes. They know how to hold on to hope and refuse to give up.
On the other hand, people who have lost all hope view life from the perspective of dread. Dread, which is closely related to fear, steals the ability to enjoy ordinary life and makes people anxious about the future. It keeps them from looking forward to the next day, the next month, or the next decade. Their thoughts about the present are negative and their outlook on the future is filled with fear, pessimism, doubt and worry.
Hope is the opposite of dread-and a close relative of faith. When we have hope, our outlook on life and the future is positive. We can have hope because we trust in God's love, His power to provide for us, and in His ability to lead us in every situation.
Hope is what keeps us from worrying, allows us to leave our unanswered questions in God's hands, empowers us to remain at peace, and enables us to believe the best about the days to come. Generally, people who have hope are happy, optimistic, and full of strength and courage.
Because hope is such a powerful force, your enemy, the devil, goes after it with a vengeance. If he can steal your hope, he can set you on the path toward total despair and depression-and that's his intention! He will work hard to plant thoughts like these in your head…
• You have always been this way. You will never change.
• No one will ever want to marry you.
• You might as well buy some larger clothes-you'll never lose weight.
• You will not have enough money for retirement.
• You will never get out of debt.
If you read these statements carefully, you will notice they have a common thread running through them: self-pity! The devil puts thoughts in our minds to make us feel sorry for ourselves and resent the people who have what we are convinced we can never have.
Self-pity is a very destructive and negative emotion. It makes us blind to our blessings and the possibilities before us-it steals our hope for today and for tomorrow. People who pity themselves think, Why would I try to do anything? I'll just fail.
I used to love to sit and drink my coffee, feeling sorry for myself and thinking about how mistreated I was. But I finally realized that my self-pity is actually idolatry because it is "self-focus" carried to the extreme. When I allow myself to fall into self-pity, I am essentially rejecting God's love and His ability to change my circumstances.
I encourage you to be determined not to waste one more day of your life in self-pity. When you lose hope and begin to feel sorry for yourself, stop right that minute and say, "I refuse to feel sorry for myself. I may be in a difficult season of life right now, but I will not stop hoping for better things!"
The enemy wants you to be consumed with hopelessness and will tell you all sorts of lies about yourself, your life, other people, and even lies about God. But you must remember…the devil is a liar. You must not believe anything he says.
Remember, God has thoughts and plans for your good, to give you hope for your future (see Jeremiah 29:11). If you will hold on to your hope and fight for it when the enemy tries to take it away, you will see amazing things take place in your life. Being hopeful helps you to press on instead of giving up.