Thursday, August 11, 2011

Are We Cultivating Hope in Others?

Sometimes I have to chase after hope before it slips away from me.  And it’s bad enough when I don’t have much hope for myself, but when I start trampling on the hopes of others, that’s inexcusable.

Thinking of all the possible bad things that could happen in any given situation is a snap for me. I often have to explain to someone that “I’m playing the Devil’s Advocate” because so many of the comments I think of as a response to what that person is saying are negative—all the “what ifs” that could possibly crop up, and all the “yes, buts.” Every caveat starts floating through my head.

In all fairness, this tendency has been useful in my line of work, where it’s important to be aware of what the “other side of the coin” will be. But outside of work it is mostly a real downer. I could smack myself when I think of the times I may have burst someone’s balloon filled with ideas and hopes.

As I have mentioned before, over the years I became a hardcore negative thinker. I have to continually immerse myself in prayer, praise, and inspirational literature to help keep my negative thoughts at bay. My hope for the future begins to burn down if I don’t keep stoking the flames and adding more fuel.  ...Especially if I don't keep singing. 

I ask myself now, why would I want to be the Devil’s Advocate anyway? Why would I want to help him out by dwelling on the negative in other people's lives or in my life? The Devil must love it because it renders me ineffective, and maybe I’ll even knock someone else off track, too.  Instead of being the Devil's Advocate, may I promote Jesus.  May I look on the bright side.  May I edify and encourage.  (But if I see someone is getting too close to stepping off the edge, then may God help me or others pull that person back to safety.)

I keep stockpiling my arsenal, my tools, so that I can fight my tendency to assist the Devil in his work. I want to leave nothing about my walk with God and my goal to become more like Jesus to chance. I aim to build up and increase my hope even more, so that I “might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).  When I do that, I can "do unto others..." and be more supportive.

Although I’m pretty "low-key" these days, I do want to stay excited about life. I want to "make a joyful noise."  As I continue to feed on the hope that comes through knowing Jesus, may my whole life be a joyful noise!

(Note: The above was some of my older writing, with some updates.)

1Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
2Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
Psalm 100  (KJV)

Giving myself a little encouragement by buying a tripod today and hoping it improves my photos!

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