Hope is a dangerous thing to lose.
We can face the hardest of circumstances – persevere through seemingly unending trials – as long as we maintain our hope.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
But what if we lose our hope?
Losing hope causes us to lose so many other things. For example, the fruit of the Spirit becomes almost non-existent. There is no love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness or self-control. When all seems lost, why bother anymore? And when we get to this point, it makes it almost impossible to receive anything from the Lord!
When life, and all its circumstances, begin to be pushed through the lie of hopelessness instead of through the Truth of God’s Word, it can even make us physically ill.
I know this all too well.
Chronic illness is something that I have had to live with for well over twenty years. Some days, months, years were worse than others, but pain and fatigue rarely ever left my body. It is very difficult to maintain hope when you can’t see an end to the pain…whether physical, mental or emotional.
At the same time, I had hopes for my life…things I wanted to accomplish. I had dreams! But my health, and life circumstances, destroyed many of those dreams. Its difficult to maintain hope when faced with that kind of loss.
And then there were the people in my life who hurt me. Those who fed the lies that I had already received from the enemy and had accepted as my own. Its difficult to maintain hope when those who are supposed to love you confirm the lies that you already believe about yourself.
Oh, the devastation the devil has wrought through the lie of hopelessness!! Satan comes to steal our dreams, kill our bodies, and destroy our identities as children of God…and oftentimes, we just let him! Whether through ignorance of how the enemy works, or not knowing how to cast him down, we are destroyed for our lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6).
For the last few months, the Lord has been giving me a deeper understanding of how the enemy works…and where I have allowed him to wreak havoc in my own life through his lies – and my acceptance of those lies. God has also reminded me that He has already given us the tools to pull down strongholds and destroy the work of the devil.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,which is the word of God.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
So, what does that look like, practically?
If there is any place in your life where hopelessness is found:
-renounce the lie(s) and cancel the assignment of the spirit of hopelessness
-repent (ask forgiveness) for accepting the lie(s) as your own
-look to Jesus – where your hope is found
-prayerfully, turn to Scripture and see what God has to say about you and your situation
-write those passages down and speak them out loud (use that double-edged sword the Lord has equipped you with)
-keep speaking TRUTH until the lie is banished and you remember who you are, in Christ!
And then I like to just ask God to seal up the prayer of deliverance and protect me from any backlash that may come from the enemy.
I have to confess that I have been living under a spirit of hopelessness for years. I have yet to see where I first accepted that lie as my own, but it had become so ingrained in me that I couldn’t even identify that it was a stronghold. It took the discerning prayer of some amazing people of God to help me to actually see it. (This is why community with fellow believers is essential!) I have renounced and repented. I have replaced the lie with God’s Truth. And I have been set free!
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
The pain and fatigue is leaving my body…and I am remembering just who I am, as a daughter, in Christ. I am now free to receive from God those things that the spirit of hopelessness hindered me from receiving.
I am so grateful.
And if freedom wasn’t enough…one of the people who prayed for me felt led to give me a song to listen to. She felt it stirring in her spirit as they prayed. The next morning I listened to it…and I was undone. (Oh, how God knows me and what speaks directly to my heart!) It continues to be a healing balm to my body, soul and spirit. You can listen to it here: Overtaken by Molly Kate Skaggs. I pray that it blesses you as much as it has blessed me.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Beloved, if there is ANYWHERE in your thoughts about yourself, your circumstances, or other people that is not lined up with what God says in His Word – that is a stronghold. Pull it down! You have the authority to do so, in Jesus’ Name and by the power of the Holy Spirit, who resides in you! Be free!
All Scripture is NIV unless otherwise noted.