Monday, October 31, 2011

The Discipline of Hope: the true head-covering

More and more I'm realizing why Hoping is a virtue. By "virtue" I mean a spiritual skill one has acquired. Not a gift of the spirit, but a "fruit" of the spirit which one has tended and pruned and trimmed.

In one place in the Bible, we are told to use hope as a helmet. In another place we are told to put on the helmet of salvation. So -- combining the "helmet" precept verses... precept upon precept-- we have "putting on the helmet of hope of salvation."

Hope means a confident expectation of good. To believe we have a wished-for end, to believe the promise of all things ending well. Thus, when we put on the helmet of the hope of salvation, we have the hope to be saved. This is a brave hope.

But it is something one has to continually put on. (Although I suspect one can keep it on one's spiritual head all the time) Or at least, one has to be very aware of this head-covering.

It's a discipline, then, to remember. The Psalmist says when something bad happens, he will not be greatly shaken. Oh, sure he's shaken when something horrible happens. But then bingo, he remembers the Lord is his rock and he "decides" to choose to rejoice. He decides to choose to believe that God is working. This decision is where the discipline of hope comes in.

I've been thinking of this because I'm inclined to mulling over possible negative outcomes. And it really is not difficult to train one's self to simply trust that God is indeed doing something. And really, as Jesus said, "worrying is not gonna do anything creative."

In fact, more often than not...the psalmists and Bible writers (through the Holy spirit) tell us worrying leads us to do the wrong or desperate thing. We fret about evildoers and become like them. Psalm 137. Psalm 73. Psalm 79. And poor sweet confused Saul got into trouble and lost his kingdom because he worried. We have power to turn our eyes to the left or to the right. Therefore we have power to turn our minds to hope and our spiritual hearts to looking at the invisible but sure-to-come Salvation from our Lord.


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