Reject Shallow Living, Refuse Small Dreaming
A study reported in the May 2010 issue of Atherosclerosis, said participants who were persistently depressed had a twofold increased risk of narrowing of the arteries. The study took place over a period of ten years, with participants being assessed at least three different times during that ten-year period for depression symptoms.(1) “This is the same magnitude of increased risk that one sees in comparing a pack-a-day smoker to a nonsmoker. (2)
Incredible. Hopelessness, if not checked, is a death sentence.
A recent study in the British Medical Journal confirms this, reporting that people with serious depression were two-thirds more likely to die prematurely; even those with mild depression had a 16 percent higher risk of dying compared to individuals who were distress free.(3) You can die from sorrow!
God told us this a long time ago. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Most of us think only of our emotional or spiritual heart when we read this, but science is now proving that the verse is true of physical hearts as well. Hope deferred creates a diseased heart, both emotionally and physically. And with a diseased heart, no one can run life’s race effectively.
“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” we are exhorted in Hebrews 12:1. Lack of endurance, however, is one of the first results of heart disease. We may run, but we won’t run far. The loss of hope is crippling, making us little more than spectators in life. “Run in such a way that you may win,” the Lord urges us through Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9:24. You’ll never do that with a diseased heart. When hope deferred sets in, not only are we unable to win - sometimes, we can’t even finish the race. There’s no doubt about it: hope-deferred “heart disease” is a killer.
The Lord doesn’t want the pain, frustration, or disillusionment of hope deferred to affect our hearts in any way. He wants us to run the race of life enthusiastically, effectively, and with pleasure, enjoying the journey.
We live in an era of incredible challenge and unprecedented change. Technology is increasing at astounding rates of speed; the global landscape is in an unstable and volatile state, with the possibility of nuclear war once again in the news; famine, disease, and violence are on the rise. The number of humans trafficked and enslaved is higher than any time in history; the insanity and depravity of leaders in America and around the world have reached shocking levels; the hearts of people are failing them from fear. Thoreau's famous quote, “The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation,” has never been more apropos.
And yet, desperation - humankind’s inevitable realization that there is no human answer - always becomes the womb of God’s opportunity. His unstoppable march through history forces its way through the chaos and resistance of fallen humanity and into the opportune time of breakthrough and harvest. When this occurs, the body of Christ must recognize it and take action. Every generation of the church must have its own “for such a time as this” epiphany, a corporate revelation of a corporate purpose, and that this reason for their existence has arrived. You and I have come to ours.
The church of 2023 is now staring at the greatest opportunity ever afforded the body of Christ. The stage is set. The full restoration of Christ’s gifts and anointings has been accomplished; the revelation being released from Holy Spirit is at profound levels; our incredible technology and modes of travel give us the ability to reach all the world with the gospel; and the desperation of a confused and hopeless populace has created a ripe harvest. We’ve been called to participate in the greatest Kingdom expansion in all of history.
Like Esther, we must recognize and accept our moment, rise to our reason for existing at this specific time, shake off all fear, and cast off all limitations. We must reject shallow living and refuse small dreaming. We must not measure success by temporal, human goals, nor bow to the reprehensible idol of personal kingdom building.
Determine that you will be part of God’s answer, a difference-maker, an agent of change. Be a voice - He must be heard through you. Be a giver of life - part of God’s answer to a desperate and hungry world. Stay low, but dream high.
There is no Plan B.
Pray with me:
Father, decades of complacency, disengagement, and lack of discernment in the church allowed evil forces to gain strong footholds in our land. Through the catastrophic election of 2020, these forces intend to finish off America’s strength and her partnership with You. Once again, we repent on behalf of our nation for 50 years of choosing darkness over light. We repent for electing people who do not know or honor You. And we repent for acquiescing to satan’s strategies. Forgive and cleanse us.
In these troubling times of darkness and abounding evil, our hope in You anchors our souls. Our faith in Your love and grace is steadfast and immovable. You are using the difficulties we’re experiencing, the lunacy of seared consciences, and the fragile state of the world to create great desperation. This is producing a ripe harvest. You told us that when we discern the time for spiritual rain, an outpouring of Holy Spirit, we must ask for it (Zechariah 10:1). We do so now: send Your rain.
And we pray for a great awareness to come to Your people, an awareness of the opportunity of our times. We pray for faith to arise in the church regarding Your heart and purposes. Help us keep our focus on You. We ask You to awaken in the church a sense of destiny. We join our faith for this now, and also for the breaking of fear and hopelessness off the body of Christ. We bind spirits of fear and confusion, and release the spirit of revelation to the church.
In Christ’s name.
We decree that hope, faith, and strength are rising in the Ekklesia. Fear will not rule us.
Portions of today’s post were taken from my book The Power of Hope published by Charisma House.
Click on the link below to watch the full video.
Mark Hamer, Mika Kivimaki, Avijit Lahiri, Michael G. Marmot, and Andrew Steptoe, “Persistent Cognitive Depressive Symptoms Associated With Coronary Calcification.” Atherosclerosis 210, no. 1 (May 2010); 209-213, http: //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2877780/ (accessed October 1, 2013).
New York Times, “Despair and Risk of Artery Disease,” September 3, 1997, http://wwwnytimes.com/1997/09/03/us/despair-and-risk-of-artery-disease.html (accessed October 1, 2013).
Tom C. Russ, Emmanuel Stamatakis, Mark Hamer, John M. Starr, Mika Kivimaki, and G. David Batty, “Association Between Psychological Distress and Mortality: Individual Participant Pooled Analysis of 10 Prospective Cohort Studies,” British Medical Journal 345 (July 31, 2012): e4933, http://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e4933 (accessed October 1, 2013).