“The nature of human beings is to be inactive unless influenced by some affection: love or hatred, desire, hope, fear, etc. Those affections are the ‘spring of action,’ the things that set us moving in our lives, that move us to engage in activities.” — Jonathon Edwards
“We have this (hope) as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul…” –Hebrews 6:19
I never intended to write more than one post on fear and hope, but as I’ve gone about my days I’ve found that many people need hope in a very real way in their lives right now. I need hope. Let’s be honest, we live in a world where fear can easily be an influence in the way we live our daily lives. If it’s not personal fears specific to your day, it’s Ebola or the Islamic State!
Currently, as a youth pastor and a dad of two young girls, I need hope. I’ve seen enough and been in enough counseling situations to know what this world is capable of. I’ve seen the students who are truly good kids get swept away in the currents of adolescence. And here’s where it gets tricky: If I allow fear to rule the day on this as I think about my own kids, I will go crazy! I mean that as genuinely as possible. I would go crazy.
I have no choice but to surrender to God my worries and fears and declare that I ultimately have no control over the future. But this isn’t a passive surrender, it’s a daily surrender, it’s a ‘spring of action’ that allows hope to grow into confidence and confidence into rest and trust. It becomes an anchor that can handle the realities of this world, knowing that God can influence the future and ultimately already has!
“Happy is the one whose hope is in the Lord” (Ps 146:5) isn’t just a scripture to be memorized, it’s a real state that motivates how we live our lives. Sure, Ebola and ISIL gives pause and cause for concern, but “I have this hope that anchors my soul.” I will not be shaken.
An Exercise to Determine Your Motivations
In the above quote, Edwards states that we would all be inactive if it were not for our “affections”, as he calls them. What motivates your actions – love, hope, fear, hate or a softer version of hate?
Examine your actions, simply writing down the things you do without any judgement. At the end of the week sit down and pencil in a probable motivation for each action. Try to be honest as you examine why you did what you did.
I would love to hear what you discover!
(Exercise taken from a great book I’ve been trying to wake up and read before the kids wake. If you are looking for a book to stir your affections in your spiritual life, this book is a great option –