by Joyce Meyer
I define hope as "the happy anticipation of good things." Are you aggressively hoping for something good to happen to you? Do you wake up in the morning excited and expectant about life? You can do that by learning how to celebrate and enjoy this journey called life.
Everything in life is a process in motion. Without movement, advancement and progression, there is no life. Once a thing has ceased to progress, it is dead. In other words, as long as we live, you and I are always going to be heading somewhere, and we should be enjoying ourselves on the way. God created us to be goal-oriented visionaries. Without a vision, we become bored and hopeless. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, according to Proverbs 13:12, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.
There's something about hope that makes people lighthearted and happy. You're not going to be happy if you don't have hope. The more hope you have in God, the happier you become. Biblical hope is a close relative to faith. I don't see how you can have faith without hope because hope is the foundation on which faith stands. Hope believes everything is going to turn out all right—hope is positive! To enjoy life you must maintain a good, positive attitude. God is positive, and He wants positive things to happen to each of us, but that isn't likely to happen if we're not filled with hope and faith.
Some people are afraid to hope because they have experienced so much hurt and disappointment that they don't think they can face any more pain. They refuse to hope so they won't be disappointed. Disappointment is painful! Rather than being hurt again, they simply refuse to hope that anything good will ever happen to them. This type of behavior sets up a negative lifestyle. Everything becomes negative because their thoughts are negative. Proverbs 23:7 says, For as he [a person] thinks in his heart, so is he....
Your Future Has No Room For Your Past!
Many years ago I was extremely negative because of the devastating abuse that had taken place in my past. The result was that I expected people to hurt me, and they did. I expected people to be dishonest, and they were. I was afraid to believe that anything good might happen. I thought I was protecting myself from being hurt by not expecting anything good to happen. When I really began to study the Word and trust God to restore me, I began to realize that all of my negativism had to go. In Matthew 8:13, Jesus says that it will be done for us as we have believed. I believed everything was negative, so naturally many negative things happened to me.
I needed to let go of the past and move into the future with hope, faith and trust in God. I had to get rid of the heaviness of despair, depression and discouragement. And I did, once I dug into the truth of God's Word! I found out that God is ...a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head (Psalm 3:3). I began to turn my negative thoughts and words into positive ones! Now, I am not saying that you and I can get whatever we want by just thinking about it. God has a perfect plan for each of us, and we can't control Him with our thoughts and words. But we can think and speak in agreement with His will and plan for us. We can practice being positive in every situation that arises. Even if what is taking place in your life at the moment seems negative, expect God to bring good out of it as He has promised in His Word. You must understand that before your life can change, your attitude must change.
Hope is a powerful, spiritual force that is activated through our positive attitude. We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose (Romans 8:28). What Satan means for harm, God intends for good. All things work together for good for those who love God. Satan wants to hurt you and have you spend your life distrusting everyone because somebody hurt you when you were a child, while you were in school, in your marriage, on your job, etc. The list of who, what, where and how you can be hurt is endless. You have to say, "No! That is subject to change! I am a child of the living God! Something good is going to happen to me!"
[After all] the kingdom of God is not a matter of [getting the] food and drink [one likes], but instead it is righteousness (that state which makes a person acceptable to God) and [heart] peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). What this means is that after all the painful things that have happened in your past have come and gone, God still wants you to enjoy every single day of your life. This won't happen, however, until you make up your mind to take hold of the abundant life that Jesus' death and resurrection purchased for you. Until then, the devil will always try to take it away. Jesus said, The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows) (John 10:10).
You are a new creation. You don't have to allow the old things that happened to you continue to affect your new life in Christ. As a new creature in Christ Jesus, you can have your mind renewed according to the Word of God: And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], and put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God's image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:23-24). Things will change for the better when you keep your thoughts filled with hope.
Rejoice In Hope
The Bible is full of hope-filled promises for you and me.Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God's favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God (Romans 5:2). Good things begin to happen to you when you rejoice in the hope of experiencing God's favor on a regular basis. Luke 2:52 tells us that ...Jesus increased in...favor with God and man. You and I are introduced to the favor of God by faith. All of God's promises are activated by faith. We shortchange ourselves when we believe in Jesus but don't believe in His blessings. Believe that you walk in holiness and righteousness (see Ephesians 4:24), believe that you are anointed (see 2 Corinthians 1:21), and believe that you are blessed with every spiritual blessing as promised in Ephesians 1:3. Believe Romans 8:37 when it says you are more than a conqueror!
Everything that is promised in the Bible is for us to rejoice innow. Be glad! Raise your expectancy level. Rejoice in the hope of experiencing God's glory right now. My husband and I believe for many things, but beyond them all, we believe in Someone—Jesus. We don't always know what is going to happen. We just know that it will always work out for our good! The more positive and hopeful we are, the more we will be in the flow of God. In Ephesians 1:17-18, the apostle Paul prayed, [For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him, by having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones).
This glorious inheritance is for you and me! Second Peter 1:3 says, For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue).
The Hope Of Seeing Change
If there is anything in this world that you can be sure of, it is change. Something is always changing. Why is it, then, that we find ourselves thinking, "Nothing will ever change... I'm always going to be like this... My situation will never change... He'll never change... She'll never change... I'm never going to be as good as so-and-so"? The only thing that will never change is God. For I am the Lord, I do not change... (Malachi 3:6). Everything else can change. If you have no hope of seeing change in your situation, change probably isn't going to come. We endure so many things emotionally that we really wouldn't have to suffer if we put our hope in God and stopped looking at all of the circumstances we can't control. We will never enjoy life unless we decide to! In order to live as God intends for us to live, we must truly believe that it is God's will for us to experience continual joy. Then we must decide to enter into that joy, which is essential to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Proverbs 17:22 says, A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. Hope makes joy available, just as a lack of hope produces misery. We can choose to enjoy righteousness and peace or stay in the midst of condemnation and turmoil. There are blessings or curses available, and that is why Deuteronomy 30:19 tells us to choose life and blessings. What do you do while you wait for change? You pray, believe and expect to receive. Maintain a positive attitude, knowing that God is working on bringing your change and that you will see it. Throughout your waiting time, the devil will scream, "It's not going to change; it's going to get worse!" Don't listen to this and become discouraged. Instead, wake up in the morning and say out loud, "This is the day that the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad! Something good is going to happen to me today! Everything in my life that is not right is subject to change! The One who never changes is changing my situation. And while He's doing it, I'm going to enjoy my life!" Put your confidence in God and stop wearing yourself out trying to make things happen. The decision to have a good attitude while your change is coming can change you! Now is the time to decide to enter into the full and abundant life that God wants you to have.
God Is Working Right Now!
Most of us have a hard time believing that God is working on our behalf until we see something happening with our natural eyes. This usually isn't the way God works. He works behind the scenes much of the time. Right now He is changing hearts and drawing sinners unto Him. Right now He is working in our government. Right now God has a plan for your promotion. He may be speaking to your boss about giving you a raise. God is busy working in your life as long as you believe. Hebrews 11:1 says, Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].
This scripture begins with the word now. Although the Greek word from which it is translated actually means "but, and, etc.," rather than "at this point in time," I still believe the term can be used to describe faith and hope. Faith and hope operate right now! Without them, life isn't enjoyable. Every time I lay aside faith and hope, I stop believing and I lose my peace. And as soon as I lose my peace, my joy goes with it. Make a decision to be a now person. God has a good plan for your liferight now. Trust Him today. Believing God brings you into His rest and puts an end to the torment caused by impatience and anxiety while you're waiting. No matter how hopeless your situation seems to be or how long it has been that way, I know you can change because I did. It took time and heaping helpings of the Holy Spirit, but it was worth it. It will be worth it for you, too. Whatever happens, trust in the Lord and trust in the power of hope! My hope is in God who never changes. Nothing is impossible with Him. He is a big God, and I'm believing Him for big things. How about you?