Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. It is involved in motivation, pleasure, and movement. It is the highest form of “currency’ in our brains. Hope may be related to dopamine in that it involves positive expectations for the future, which can lead to an increase in dopamine levels and a sense of pleasure or satisfaction. A high level of dopamine enables us to initiate and persist toward our goals even though we have to persevere through many hardships, such as achieving a gold medal through a rigorous sport endeavor. What is interesting is that the highest level of dopamine is reached, when we are just about to receive the object of our anticipation, and it starts to decrease back to base level once we actually receive it. This is why people chase after goals, only to seek after the next one immediately after they received it.
Our faith in Christ also enables us to go through many hardships in our journey of faith knowing that we have our rewards waiting for us in heaven. However, there are differences between our worldly rewards and our heavenly rewards:
- We see our heavenly rewards with our eyes of faith, not with our senses. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1, ESV
- Our heavenly rewards are eternal. “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” – Matthew 6:20, ESV
- We will be forever satisfied. “Jesus said to her (the Samaritan woman), ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.’” – John 4:13-14, ESV
There will be times in our journey of faith that we will feel depressed but take heart. Through the eyes of hope, “see” that your rewards are almost here. If you see your rewards from an eternal perspective, you will not be disappointed. Remember these words, “and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5