You can’t be a Christian for very long before you become familiar with the scripture in Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. And I don’t know about you but I didn’t really go “Aha! Now it all makes sense.” after reading that. In fact, for a long time it seemed like a riddle that I was never really able to solve. It was like describing something I didn’t understand with something else I didn’t understand! In our culture hope has become like wishing…standing at the edge of a fountain, holding your coin and your breath as you toss it into the water making your wish. And then walking away not really expecting much to come from it but not wanting to miss the chance just in case it might. Sound familiar? Under that context I certainly don’t have any confidence in faith if that is what its substance is…a kind of wish! In reading the Bible we know that is not what it means and to have more confidence in faith we also have to have a revelation of what is meant by hope.
Hope in the New Testament is the Greek word elpis, which is defined as a “favorable and confident expectation” or “the happy anticipation of good”1. When we make a wish that is not what we feel, so I think it’s important to think about under what circumstances do we have confident expectation and a happy anticipation of good? For me, that happens when I know that something I want is coming. My husband is wonderful about getting me things that I want (he tried it the other way, getting things he wanted to get me, and somehow that just never produced the excitement he wanted!), so when a special occasion arrives and I’ve had my eye on something I have the hope described here that even though I haven’t actually received it and it’s not actually in my possession I have confident expectation and happy anticipation of being the recipient of my special gift. If we apply that concept to Hebrews 11:1, that faith is the substance of having that confident expectation and that happy anticipation of good, that begins to provide me a glimmer of what God is wanting to express in His Word about hope.
Like we talked about previously when we studied peace, the gifts God gives us in the areas of love, peace, and joy are not how the world has translated them to us. Instead, they are each life giving/life changing fruits of the Spirit. The hope that God gives is also a gift that is meant to empower us and connect us to Him and through it He is able to move and do the very things that are His intent to do. Where I think we’ve struggled, and I can say for sure that I have struggled, is we have focused our hope on the outcome not on God. Let’s go back to my example of my husband and his gifts. When those special occasions come around I’m not telling everyone that I know what I want and “hoping” that someone will have enough sense to get it for me, no, instead I have all the confidence in the world in Ed and my knowledge of his character and faithfulness and desire to bring me joy and because of that I have confidence in him providing me a wonderful and beautiful gift. How much more our Heavenly Father, than an earthly loved one, to have that type of expectation of? In fact Jesus says in Matthew 7:11 (NKJV) If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! where He’s also telling us that if we truly understood our Heavenly Father’s character and great love for us, we would have confident expectation and happy anticipation of good!
The whole premise of this blog, the reason I started it, was because I knew that I needed a purer revelation of my Heavenly Father’s character because religion, trials, and earthly junk had warped my view of Him. We’ve probably all heard the saying that someone’s perception is their reality, whether it’s the truth or not. I, frankly, was tired of living in my own reality, I wanted truth because I knew that without it I was not going to be able to be all He had created me to be and do all the things He had designed me to do when He planned for me when He was creating the world. I was tired of the enemy and the world defining for me who my Heavenly Father is and robbing me of the joy, love, peace, kindness and power that belong to me as a daughter of God. I say all that because we will continue to see that if we truly get to know our Heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit we will realize that they are the answers to our ability to accomplish what is written in the Word. My faith becomes substantial (meaning, “
Resources: During this unusual time God has had Ed & I in, one book that has been transforming how we see God’s character is Joseph Prince’s, “The Power of Right Believing”. I have seen major changes in my view and even larger transformations in Ed’s view and personality as we’ve read this scripture filled, excited about Jesus, book. Here’s the link if you would like to read it too, it will change your life. In fact, our daughter, Ashley, just started it! http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_18?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=the%20power%20of%20right%20believing%20by%20joseph%20prince&sprefix=the+power+of+right%2Caps%2C294
A Daughter’s Prayer: Abba, in a world of wishful thinking and dashed expectations I have lost the meaning of true hope. Jesus came that I might have life and live it more abundantly and You desire for me to have my hope firmly and securely set in You. I do not need to be concerned about my circumstances, my situations or any problem that I am in because You have promised over and over in Your Word that You take care of me, my family and those You have given me. Holy Spirit, continue revealing to me the lovely character of my Heavenly Father and increase my ability to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and not the distractions of this world. In You I have hope and in You I do hope. In Jesus’ holy name, amen.
Notes: 1NT:1680, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words. Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.