If we live by faith as believers in Christ, then what is faith? Hebrews 11 addresses this in-depth. The chapter starts off with a definition of faith before giving us examples of those who lived this faith out in their lives.
The definition has two parts. The first part is being sure of what we hope for. Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. An archaic use of the word was a sense of trust. Faith then has to be laced with expectation and desire. It also needs to be focused correctly. If you put your faith or expectations upon a person you will be disappointed. Clearly the use of “a sense of trust” is now archaic because modern society doesn’t put much store in a “person’s word being their word” anymore. Too often lying is common and accepted. I’ll tell you what I think you want to hear or what is convenient at the time. So our trust must be in God and His unchanging nature.
Hope for something happening is essential. The bible says that hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12) Scripture is quite clear we need to put our hope in Him. If we think we have, how can our hope be deferred? James probably explains it best in chapter 4 when he says we don’t ask, or when we do, we ask with the wrong motives.
Have you ever had the debate with yourself over why am I asking God for things He already knows I need or desire? Its true He does know but He still wants us to ask because He responds to faith not to need or desire. Then we ask with wrong motives and get no response. That is so frustrating because I am quite capable of convincing myself that my motives are pure in what I am asking for. We, mankind, don’t really know what’s in the depths of our heart. There is only one that searches the hearts and knows what our motives are. I have recognised over time that my motives were wrong and realised that was the reason for the deferred answer.
For faith to be vital we need to have hope for the answers we are looking for. If we have had a period of deferred hope, we often lower our expectations and live at a diminished level of faith. This isn’t God’s heart for us. He wants to bless us for the word is clear that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. We need to rekindle our hope and ask again. Psalm 139:23, 24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” He will show you if you are off track, then change your thinking so it’s aligned with Him. Put your hope in what He shows you and you are on your way to having faith that moves mountains.
We need to keep it in mind that being sure of what we hope for is only one half of the equation. You can hope and hope and hope and still not be moving in faith. There is more to faith than an assurance of hope.