Prisoner of Hope

Joyce MeyerBy Joyce MeyerMay 16, 20224 Minutes

It was just three weeks into my marriage to Dave when he asked me, “What’s wrong with you? You have such a negative attitude!” I said, “Well, if you don’t expect anything good to happen, then you won’t be disappointed when it doesn’t.”

This is the way I used to live … before I became a prisoner of hope. Because of past experiences, I had a very negative outlook on life, so I spoke negatively about it. But as I grew in my relationship with God, I learned how to trust Him, how to stand on His Word, and how to stand my ground in prayer when circumstances got tough.

God put big dreams in my heart regarding my ministry and my life, and most of them took years to come to pass. Hope is what helped me hold on in those early years when it got hard.

Today my outlook on life is completely different from what it was many years ago. Now I enjoy my life and I encourage others to enjoy theirs as well. Jesus died for us to live an abundant, fulfilling life (see John 10:10), and hope is the confident, favorable expectation of this life.

I realize there are many things that can happen to us that aren’t so enjoyable, making it difficult to grasp the idea of enjoying life. So, think of it this way: What are you hoping for or expecting in life? What are you looking forward to? Focus on that.

My negative outlook was due to my attitude about all the bad things that had happened to me. I was stuck in the pain of my past, so I didn’t believe anything good would happen in my future. I had no hope.

But God was with me. He kept loving me and dealing with me, promising me what Isaiah 61:7 (NIV) says: “Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.”

That’s a promise for you, too – a promise of double for your trouble! Double the blessing, double the joy, double the peace. Doesn’t that inspire hope in your heart?

Now, this double-blessing promise isn’t for the double-minded. When you walk it out in everyday life, there will be times when doubt, fear, unbelief, and weariness will come against you. It’s in these times that you’ll need to fight the good fight of faith and guard your mind against negativity.

Find out what God says in His Word and then stand on His promises. We must hold on to whatever He promises us and be confident that He is working in our situation no matter how things look, how we feel or what we think. It’s our hope in God that releases the power of the Holy Spirit in our hearts when we’re going through painful or difficult situations.

Make a decision to cultivate an attitude of hope in your life. You may not always feel hopeful but don’t give in to your feelings. Catering to bad feelings feeds and empowers them. But standing your ground and not giving in to negative feelings starves them and causes them to lose their power over you.

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you and get excited about serving God. Then your life will inspire others to become prisoners of hope!

This article is excerpted from Joyce’s teaching resource Living with Hope, Joyce Meyer Ministries, joycemeyer.org