By Teena Myers
Hebrews 11:1 NAS95
(1) Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
The Greek word translated faith means persuasion, and the word translated as hope means to expect. Therefore, I can paraphrase the definition of faith this way:
faith persuasion is the assurance/substance/certainty of things hoped for expected, the conviction/evidence/proof of things not seen.
If I have faith, I have a reason or reasons that persuade me that what I hope or expect can and will happen. There is nothing complicated, mysterious, or magical about faith. Our faith is the reasons we possess to believe God can and God will do what he promised.
Faith and hope are inseparable partners, because the object of our faith is our hope. Something we want but do not have yet. Hoping for something that we have no reason to believe will ever happen is a recipe for depression.
Faith does not act blindly. Faith is not gullible. Faith has partial knowledge. Faith understands that knowledge and why it is valid. Our faith is at its weakest when we don’t know why we believe.
If you feel that your faith in God is weak, ask yourself some questions.
What are you expecting from God?
Once you have established what you are expecting, ask yourself if you have a persuasive reason what you are expecting is possible?
Then ask yourself, who chose the hope you have set your faith on. Abraham did not choose the object of his faith. God gave him something to hope for when he spoke to him before he left Ur.
Ephesians 4:4-5 AMP There is one body [of believers] and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when called [to salvation] – one Lord, one faith, …
There is ONE hope for ONE faith that was once for all handed down to the saints.
The question is which hope?
My sister lived a tragic life that taught me a lot about faith, hope and love. I was the big sister. She followed me when I took drugs, and when I got saved, she followed me to church, too. We ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink. She also had a boyfriend, who was not a Christian, that she could not let go of after she became a Christian. He was in his early 20s when he received a life sentence for murder. He told my sister he was present when it happened, but he did not commit the murder, and if he had not been there, the guy who did it would have killed the girls that were with them, too. Whether he was telling the truth or not is debatable.
She accepted a popular teaching at the time that claimed you can have whatever you hope for if you have enough faith. False doctrine contains elements of truth. It is true that if you know what you want, believe it’s possible, pursue it with all you heart, and never give up most will one day obtain it. But you can do that without God. The New Orleans Saints are a good example. The national football league awarded New Orleans a franchise in 1966. They were not a very good team. Their fans that wore paper bags on their heads and called themselves the “aint’s”. The Saints did not have a winning season until 1987. And they did not win the Superbowl until 2010, forty-four years after they became a franchise.
If you set your eyes on a reasonable goal, never give up, and the pursuit of it does not destroy you along the way, you can obtain the prize. There are principles of hard work that work for the sinner and saint alike. But those principles can bring into reality evil desires as well as good ones. At the tower of Babel, God himself acknowledged that the people who rejected him had everything they needed to bring into existence anything they could imagine.
Our hope can be anything we want it to be, but if we only hope for what we want it will corrupt the one and only faith that pleases God.
Hebrews 11:6 AMP Without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that he rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek him.
There is one hope and one faith. Whose hope should be the object of our faith? What we choose to hope for or what God gave us to hope for?
To find an answer to that question, answer this question. Who is good?
Matthew 19:17 ERV Jesus answered, “Why do you ask me about what is good? Only God is good.
Jesus said only God is good. If only God is good, anything I can imagine, even the good I can imagine, will be tainted by our flawed human nature. If we want something truly good, it will be something God give us to hope for.
My sister served God for one reason, to get what she wanted. What she wanted was good. Her hope that she set her faith upon was the day God would set her boyfriend free from prison. She often told me they would have a miraculous testimony and travel like evangelist sharing God’s mercy and goodness. For more than a decade she prayed and believed God would give her what she wanted. Eventually, she started comparing herself to Abraham. He waited a long time and so would she. But she grew weary, returned to drugs, and died in a drug induced stupor in her own bathtub. Her boyfriend is still in prison and will probably die there. My sister’s problem was rejecting the God who loved her, for a man who never loved her. He was on a date with another woman the night the murder happened.
Unlike many Christians, Abram did not choose his hope. God initiated contact with him and gave him the hope everyone will be blessed if he obeyed. That hope and that hope alone was the object of Abram’s faith.