Does your walk of faith seem not to be working as well as promised? Are you even “faith tired”? It’s possible that you’re missing a vital ingredient in the activation of your faith.
Your missing ingredient may be hope.
Another word for hope is the word anticipation. The New Testament version of hope includes another word, ‘confident’. In other words, hope is ‘confident anticipation’.
There is also a natural (or world-view) description.
The view of hope in worldly wisdom has two sides:
- Wishful thinking. I hope so thinking.
- Negative anticipation.When we have either (or both) of those feelings about hope, then we are not functioning with hope as the Bible puts forth. It is important that we adjust our thoughts and feelings about hope to harmonize with God’s supernatural description.
Faith vs. hope.
When I was first learning about the importance of walking by faith and not by sight, I felt like I had just been born again…again. The message of faith was so revolutionizing in how I approached my relationship with God. But, mixed in with the ‘faith message’ was often a negative slant on the idea of hope. What many of the faith teachers – I listened to – emphasized that faith is not hope. The idea was that hope looks to the FUTURE, and faith is NOW.
In a real sense, that is true. However, as with many spiritual principles that are taught, the thoughts are not inaccurate, but they are, often, incomplete.
Faith AND Hope.
The tricky part to get one’s head around is the fact that Western thought likes to separate concepts for individual examination. Truthfully speaking, that method doesn’t work well with many things spiritual.
The Bible description of what hope (as we said above) is ‘confident anticipation.’ That sounds a lot like a description of faith, doesn’t it? We use the word confidence as a way of describing faith. Anticipation describes hope. Like bacon and eggs, faith and hope go together.
When I write, I use the program Grammarly to as a spelling and grammar ninja. If it ‘decides’ I’m overusing a word, it will point it out. Case in point, it advised me that I was over-using two words; faith and hope. It suggested alternatives. Do you know what they were? For faith the word hope, and for hope the word faith. Even a computer program realizes the mixture 🙂
Faith and hope must be ‘peas in the same pod.’ One without the other effectively cancels out the other.
A quick word about negative hope (anticipation).
Anticipating the negative i.e.: ‘something opposed to a promise’ will deep six the ability to receive the promise.
Somebody who was trying to believe for the healing of a leg condition said to me one time, “When I’m laying down I feel good, but I know when I get up my leg is going to hurt.” We’ve all been there – and are there – in some area in our lives. Instead of criticizing ourselves, or someone else, for not being in faith, we would be much further ahead to examine the reason behind the statement.
A deep-seated habit pattern from negative experiences.
In the case of the person in my illustration, they had a childhood filled with anxiety over the actions of a parent who had been mentally disturbed. During their formative years, they were alway on edge about what the parent was going to do next. That fear developed a pattern of thinking and feeling that acted as a barrier to positive anticipation. As a result, hope became more of a “hope so” without confidence. Although the individual was sincere in their desire for God’s healing, their ingrained default always pointed them to current negative experience (let pain when pressure was applied).
It sounds rational to think that way.
The leg hurt whenever weight was applied. That was real. That was rational. But, it is also logical that the negative anticipation would road-block faith to receive something outside of current experience.
The revelation of hope.
A person can’t ‘get hopeful’ just by trying hard. The God kind of hope (being spiritual in nature) takes the work of the Holy Spirit to make it real and receiveable. Only with the Holy Spirit’s gift of spiritual insight (revelation) will a child of God receive the necessary ‘hope beyond hope’ that it takes to change the way a person thinks.
One of the first places to start is by meditation on hope scriptures. Here are just two:
Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (or a hope-filled future)
Psalm 25:5, “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
We receive what we focus upon. If we set our faces like flint on the area of our need, and take the Gospill “Hope” pills (from His Word) for at least 10 days, then the virus of negative anticipation will weaken until it disippates. This is, of course, by way of illustration. There’s now 10 day law here. However, the principle of focus (as we do in many thing natural) will bear the benefits.
Hope Changes Everything. You likely don’t need more faith (cuz you’ve actually got all you need already). You need the God kind of hope that comes by the working of His Spirit with His Word.
Finally, as you meditate on hope, do so not as a doctrinal belief, but as a emotional reality that the Holy Spirit’s work begins producing in your heart.
May the eyes of your heart be flooded with His glorious hope! Faith will cease being such a struggle!