Habits of Hope

We’ve been at this lockdown thing since St. Patrick’s Day – enough time to drop old habits, and pick up new ones. I therefore invite you to begin assessing the habits in your life, and make wise plans for exiting the lockdown with the right ones. 

How do we determine if a habit is “right”? 

Consider first the following cycle – every person is being shaped by these forces: 

Heart Humility Habits.jpg

Our hearts are constantly either bending away or towards God, in worship of Him or other things. This then creates or squelches humility. By “humility”, I mean biblical humility – where we think less often altogether of ourselves, lost in thinking of God and others. This essential, inward humility (or its opposite – to be consumed with self) then affects and determines our habits in life – how we spend our time, what we consume, literally, literarily and digitally. 

Note that there are arrows on both sides of the word “HABITS”. Our habits are both formed and they form. Our hearts (and the resulting stance in life, whether it be humility or hubris) shape our habits, AND our habits shape our hearts. 

We can see these forces at play, shaping David, in Psalm 71. He is under pressure, under threat. In that threat asks God to be his refuge, especially in his old age (v. 9). He rests his heart at the feet of God: “But I will hope continually and praise you yet more and more.” (v. 14) 

This refuge-taking in God leads to an outward-leaning humility – he begins to imagine praising God to others, especially to a generation yet to come (v. 15-18): “So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation.”

His heart and his essential being are shaped by hope – hope in the strong power of God continuing into the future (v. 19-20): “You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again.” This is what spins the wheel, the cycle – hope in God, in our King Jesus. 

And this heart and humility then result in a remarkable change – a life of habitual praise, even in the midst of threats (v. 22-24): “And my tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long, for they have been put to shame and disappointed who sought to do me hurt”. 

That praise will no doubt cause his heart to bend yet still more, toward his strong refuge. Today, pray for a heart that takes refuge in God, confident in Christ; that humbly rests in Him, and that turns outward toward Him and the world; in habits of praise and love.