“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
This post was originally written in 2014, but seems appropriate to post again.
While written as the final part of a 3 part series to encourage us to parent out of hope instead of fear, the quote above is helpful in understanding this last season in American life as well. Many finally felt heard (hope) under President Obama, while many felt threatened (fear). Many feel finally heard (hope) with the election of President Trump, while many feel threatened (fear). It would have been the same had the white house gone the other way.
A quick glance at the news or your Facebook feed shows us how these affections, as Edwards call them, lead us to action. That’s not to say that these feelings aren’t justified at times. However, the question we have to answer, in both parenting and politics, is it possible to cultivate affections (the kinds we want to determine our actions and therefore our lives) apart from current circumstances? Or for the purposes of the post here, is there a source of hope that speaks louder than any fear we might have?
I think the quote above is right that we are naturally inactive unless provoked by the above affections. What ‘springs of action’ are you allowing to take root in your heart and life?
“Every decision we make today will be driven by fear or love. Who we toss the keys to determines a lot about the destination.” –Bob Goff
October 7, 2014
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 (now three!), 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 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 daily choosing hope over fear. It’s actively letting hope determine my thoughts, motivations, and actions. And this hope brings about drastically different results than fear.
It’s a ‘spring of action’ that allows hope to grow into confidence. 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 ISIS 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. If you are looking for a book to stir affections in your spiritual life, this book is a great option –