21 Days of Hope - Day 18 - Hope is Focusing on the Prize
The Bible teaches us to look at life like a journey, a race, and even like a pregnancy. We are always in the process of going to something and through something. Hope comes when we are focused not on what we’re going through but what we’re going to. We go through the valley of the shadow of death but we’re going to goodness and mercy and dwelling in the house of the Lord. I believe that people either get pulled back by fears, disappointments, and failures or pulled forward by hope. I want to share on how to get pulled forward by hope.
In Philippians 3 Paul says in verses 13-14 that there was one thing he was continually focused on doing, he says, “forgetting what is behind and straining forward toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
There is a principle that says whatever we focus on we enhance and increase and what we put behind us we decrease. Hope grows through a daily process of choosing what to put behind us and what we choose to put in front of us and truly focus on. If I’m looking towards the finish line and the trophy I get filled with hope if I’m looking back at the runner about to pass me I feel anxious and defeated. When I was young my parents would often encourage me as I was doing my homework with things like when you push through to the finish line we will have some ice cream or play a game.
Let me suggest three things to intentionally put behind you and 3 things to put in front of you that will help you possess winning hope.
Put behind you the failures and hurts of your past and put in front of you the lessons and promises of God. Someone asked Clare Barton, founder of the Red Cross, if she would recommend a certain nurse for a promotion. She quickly did and lavished praise on this woman. A friend of hers was surprised because she had heard this woman bash Clare. She said, Clare don’t you remember the horrible things this woman said about you? Clare said, “O I specifically remember forgetting that.”
Hurts and regrets don’t have to steal our hope because God forgives and God redeems. He uses failures and hurts to teach us wisdom and to discover the truth about His grace.
Some of us instead of reliving over and over our hurts and regrets need to have the funeral for our failures and disappointments and by God’s grace choose to move on and begin to focus on how God has promised us we can forget the old and be free to possess the good that is going to come out of that bad.
Another thing to put behind you is the discouragements and disappointments and to choose instead to put in front of you gratitude for what God has done. The Bible says that “many are the afflictions of the righteous person but the Lord delivers him out of them all. I can spend time absorbed with the afflictions or become absorbed in thanking and praising God for all the ways He has delivered me.
Thirdly, put behind you your personal ambitions, expectations, and wants, and put in front of you the needs of others. I heard someone recently say, “Quit focusing on what you can get from people and focus instead on what you can do for people.” The reason is simple. The more we sow into others, the more we will see God pour back to you. I love the thought that Zig Ziglar said, that “we can always get whatever we need if we help enough other people get what they need. Go on a mission to sow hope and you will see the prize of hope coming towards you soon.
To watch a short video on the subject, please go to: https://www.facebook.com/143479478999897/posts/3510920708922407/