Our beliefs and attitudes are a key component in determining our health. In this regard, hope plays an important role. A person’s faith, grounded in principles they believe to be true according to scripture, can be a source of hope.
When we set out to make a change in our lifestyle it’s important to have a certain degree of belief that we can make the change. This is called self efficacy. Many ingredients contribute to us having a high degree of self efficacy. Let’s say a man wants to lose 30 pounds. To be successful, he would have to believe he could eat healthier. He would need to know he could prepare meals differently. He would also have to believe that he could increase his level of physical activity. It would be important that he believe that when obstacles were to get in his way that he could overcome these obstacles. The more he felt that he could be successful in engaging in these various behaviors, the more likely he would be successful in his attempts to lose weight.
One additional important component for success would be the level of inner strength that he has. When things get tough how “tough” would he be? This is where faith can play a significant role. Our faith can be a foundation upon which we stand in difficult times. It can be a huge resource for us.
In this week’s scripture Paul writes “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” He points out that God should be the source of our hope and that a Christian receives power to have this hope by the Holy Spirit. We can chose to believe that God’s Holy Spirit will empower us to make the changes we are trying to make. This ought to gives us an additional degree of hope.
This hope can help us to be more optimistic that we will be able to do what we are trying to do. In the case of the man who is trying to lose the 30 pounds, this hope in God and in His Spirit to provide him with additional power should better enable him to make all the lifestyle changes he’s trying to make.
Sarah Young writes in her devotional booklet, Jesus Calling, “This hope keeps you spiritually alive during dark times of adversity; it brightens your path and heightens your awareness of My(Jesus) Presence.” In his book God, Faith and Health, Jeff Levin suggests “Those who take these messages (in holy scriptures) to heart may have an increased resistance to disease, decreased risk of depression and emotional distress, and hastened recovery from illness. This is because faith leads to hope, and hope has physiological consequences.”
I believe that hope does have a positive impact on our health. As a Christian knows God better and better, he can have a higher degree of hope and optimism in living life in a way that will help him to be healthier.
I would offer to the person who does not have a personal relationship with Jesus that believing in Him and placing your trust in Him to guide you and to empower you in living life will impact you in many, many ways and among them would be your ability to make lifestyle changes that could improve your health.
In whom do you have hope?
Go have a great day!