10 Ways to Hold Tight to Hope When You Are Tempted to Lose Heart
As Christians, we live in the tension of of our present reality and future hope. It is easy to grow discouraged as we try to navigate our way through this upside-down place. We know it’s not supposed to be this way, and yet, we live frustrated and impatient with our temporary circumstances. Just like a child who can’t sleep in anticipation of Christmas morning, we too have a hard time managing our expectations to wait patiently with the hope of Christ.
This earthly life feels long until we are looking back wondering where it’s all gone. If you have kids, you know this from experience. If you are waiting for the next big milestone, you know the feeling too. Time feels slow in the moment but lightening fast as we look back at the growth and change that has occurred. Scripture says that in light of eternity, our life is a vapor that vanishes away. Remembering this perspective leads to hopeful anticipation and not bitter frustration in our Christian life.
Our inner man, our flesh, craves instant gratification and comfort. It’s a very real struggle. According to 1 Corinthians 10:13, it is also common to us all.
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.NLT
I don’t know about you, but this gives me courage to know that I am not alone in my wrestling! All of us face internal struggles, natural consequences of the world in which we live, and the darts of our enemy. While our trials come packaged differently, we all face trials of various kinds.
This is why God calls us as His body to encourage, watch over, and grow together in our pursuit of God. We should be meeting the needs of those within the Church as a cohesive team, as we are united in our love for Christ and our human condition. Comfort one another through sharing in the burdens of this life. And know that Christ experienced it all on our behalf to one day make it all right.
Satan would love nothing more than to tempt us to lose heart and give up on our pursuit of God’s holiness reflected in our lives. We can be doing all the right things and yet stop before the harvest arrives, missing out on the abundant blessings of God, due to our internal battle with weariness, discouragement, and fear.
How do we hold tight to hope when we are tempted to lose heart?
- Stand tall. Take a posture of belief. We already stick out if we are walking with God, so stand confidently in the truths we believe. When the world is shifting under our feet, we can plant our feet on the unshakable kingdom of God. (Hebrews 12:28; 1 Cor. 15:58)
- Do one act of love and service for someone outside of your sphere. Shifting our focus off our struggle grows us in hope. Live counterculturally on purpose. Get excited about being on mission for a leader that always wins. (Galatians 5:14)
- Reach out to someone who has wrestled through hard things and lives as a hope-filled wrestler. One who is willing to share their frailties and battles and how God strengthened them in the hard. (Galatians 6:10) We can encourage one another toward hope. Read Alex Fly’s story here.
- Praise. Worship. (Psalm 42:11; Psalm 57:7) God has put a new song in our hearts. Worship connects our hearts to His. He delights in us and our praise which strengthens us to hold tight to hope. Romans 4:20-21 gives us an example of how to hold tight to hope when situations seem hopeless. “He (Abraham) staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” Abraham worshipped God in the wait. Praise has the ability to remove our fears and remind us that God is in control. Acknowledging the power of God renews us in faith and patient hope.
- Believe that you will see the goodness of the Lord. Dare to imagine. (Psalm 27:13; Romans 8:24) God is a creative being and instills a sense of wonder and imagination in the minds of all image-bearers. When we lose our eternal vision, we lose our ability to hope for more than we can see. Dare to believe God for big things and use the creativity He gives to redeem broken and distorted images in the world…one small corner of the world at a time.
- Read and rehearse God’s words to you. Know the promises of God and hold tight to them in moments of doubt. We grow in character through imitating His. Building character builds hope. (Psalm 130:5; Romans 5:4)
- Give thanks for the Holy Spirit’s presence in your life, for it’s by His power that hope will overflow. (Romans 15:13)
- Start by trusting Him with the smallest of things and watch Him build your faith. (Romans 15:13) Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Without faith it’s impossible to hope. We can grow past a saving faith to an enduring faith and in turn, grow our hope. Look for God in small ways today.
- Forget what is behind and press forward. (Philippians 3:13,14) Letting go of what we thought would be but isn’t, is hard, but if we hold tightly to unrealistic expectations and past disappointments, we will get stuck in bitter hopelessness. Ask God to help you release what was for what is and move forward in faith. Believe He is for you and wants to use your life for good. Don’t look back with regret but forward with hope. Don’t miss out on the promised land like the Israelites for grumbling against the provisions and timeline of God.
- Keep your eyes on the eternal. (2 Cor. 4:18) Nothing brings hope like knowing we are sealed by the Spirit for the day of full redemption in Christ. Heaven and the full presence of Christ is the harvest we eagerly wait for. If you are discouraged and frustrated with the wait, spend time meditating on the future glory of your inheritance. We can’t even imagine all the goodness God has prepared for us! Keep looking forward with hope.
The book of James tells us that true faith moves us, through the power of Christ in us, to live out the truths we believe. Works are a result of the transforming grace and power in a believer’s life. We have to be intentional to hold tight to the hope, because our enemy wants us ineffective, bitter, and discouraged. The spiritual forces of this world only have power over us where we yield and let it in. But, we can be disheartened if we don’t make every effort to grow in the knowledge and grace of God through a persistent pursuit of God.
Join a community of believers who desire your faith to flourish and grow through encouraging one another to live in confident hope and joy in believing. Together we can endure and even flourish in the wait.