You might get discouraged in your faith sometimes. When it doesn’t seem to be working like it should. Or, when you pray and it seems like little or nothing happens. Then, it’s easy to feel down and alone. Almost like there’s something wrong with you, because “everybody else” prays and gets answers.
We teach a lot about faith. We try to teach the whole counsel of the Word of God. I know how it feels when we’ve believed for something and it doesn’t come. I know the sting of disappointment and how it feels to be discouraged.
But, those are times that you and I need to link another dimension to our faith. Faith and action usually are enough to bring to pass even the most difficult answers. But, there are times when you need to operate on an additional level. That level is the arena of HOPE.
See, hope isn’t the same as faith. Faith is a spiritual substance up in your heart, or your inner spirit, but, hope is a product of the renewed mind. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:25 to “be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” The prophet Jeremiah told the secret of maintaining hope. It’s what you think on, or feed your mind on continually. He said, “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.” (Lamentations 3:21).
This is why 1 Thessalonians 5:8 talks about the “breastplate of faith…and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.” Faith pertains to the heart and hope relates to the head.
Hope is “a believing for good; a certainty that things will improve” or get better. Hope is the essential ingredient of optimism. Hope has to do with confident expectation.
Hope is forever. Hope is one of the three eternal substances mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:13. “Now abideth faith, hope and charity… “it says, “now abide.” Hope is for NOW.
FAITH ORGINATES IN YOUR HEART, IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM. HOPE IS A PRODUCT OF THE RENEWED MIND, OR THE THINKING PART OF YOU.
Hope has to do with a present way of interpreting the unseen, or dealing with the future. Romans 8:24-25 says, “hope that is seen is not hope, for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for what we see not, then with patience we wait for it.” so, hope deals with the unseen and causes us to have enough patience to receive the promises that God has prepared for us.
Hope is the stabilizing force that establishes your faith. Hebrews 6:19 says, “Hope we have as an ANCHOR of the soul.” That means it’s a stabilizing influence in your soul.
When you give up hope, you begin to drift and faith has nothing to give substance to.
That’s what gives you the right direction in life. Remember, the word “righteousness” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “right-wiseness”, or going the right direction.
You can’t run the race if you’re heading the wrong direction. That’s why you need hope. Hope helps you to run in the right direction. 1 Corinthians 9:24 says, “Know ye not that they who run in a race all run, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” Hope sets the direction so you can run in a way that wins the prize. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, (Philippians 3:14).
Both of these verses emphasize that you have to be heading the right direction. Without hope, you just run randomly, and in circles, like a dog chasing its tail.
In all these Bible metaphors for making it in life, there is the sense of direction; going somewhere, instead of just staying in a rut. They’re drenched with feelings of hope and the promises of rewards for effort.
Walking in faith, being filled with hope is all about having a clear sense of direction, a vivid picture of what you want to see come to pass. When you’re walking in the Spirit, you have direction in life; you have goals.
You and I couldn’t even drive, if we didn’t have a sense of direction and a knowledge of where we wanted to go. Hope is like the steering wheel in your car. It sets the direction of the wheels. Faith is like the wheels. It gives substance to the movements of the steering wheel.
The Word of God, the Bible, is the map – it gives you the fixed direction to set your hope by.
Here’s how you fit it together. You’ll find that 2 Corinthians 4:18 says “…we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
When you read the map (your Bible), it points you to some place you might not have seen yet. Because you believe the map, you steer your wheel in the direction it tells you. You can’t SEE the place you’re heading, but you make certain turns and get on specific roads because you’re following the map. You’re literally dealing with the unseen.
Those actions based on that road map are what takes you from the place where you are to the place that you had only seen by faith.
Romans 12:2 “…Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” As your mind becomes renewed to the Word of God, hope comes. You begin to understand how good life can be with God ruling your life. You begin to understand that, no matter where you are in life, you can get to where you need to be, by renewing your mid, and walking in faith and hope.
The Word of God gets down in your spirit and produces another substance, called faith. Faith, Hebrews 11:1 says, “is the substance of things hoped for.” So, in your mind you have hope and in your heart, you have faith. In the passenger part of your car, you have the steering wheel. On the outside, you have the wheels that take you where you want to go.
You have faith, the substance of the things you’re hoping for, in your heart. And, “out of the heart are the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23). “From reading the Word of God, your mind gets hope, which is what leads to faith in your heart. Your renewed mind tells how to ACT on what’s in your heart by faith. “…Do all that is in thine heart, for behold, I am with thee according to thy heart (1 Samuel 14:7).
Doubt and unbelief say, “Don’t get your hopes up.” Faith says, “Read the Word, get your hopes up so I can rise up and bring it to pass. With God, all things are possible.” Let your faith cause you to ACT with determination, to act with diligence and to sow abundantly.
Sowing in Hope. Hope is what causes you to SOW. A farmer who KNOWS he has good ground sows bountifully. Since he knows his ground is good, he wants to make certain, to be diligent that EVERY seed gets sown.
In more urban terms: If I showed you a place where they would give you $50 for every $2 bill you could find, I bet you’d trade in every $2 bill you’ve ever saved. Then, you’d go and try to get them from your bank. You’d mention it to your friends and neighbors. You might even offer them $5, $10 or even $20 for their $2 bills!
Why? Because you’d have hope, you’d have faith and that would make you act with determination; it would make you as diligent as possible. “The thoughts (where hope is) of the diligent tend only to plenteousness (Proverbs 21:5).”
Give your mind to the cleansing thoughts of the Word of God. Be filled with Heaven’s thoughts! Dare to believe God that you’re saved, and shake off that old carnal behavior! Dare to hope in God that He’ll fulfill every word He’s spoken to your spirit! Dare to ACT on the hope that God puts in your mind and the faith that He fills your heart with…and be BLESSED IN YOUR DEEDS!