Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 New King James Version)
Hope is something the world craves, our soul craves, we were made for hope. We die without hope, we thrive with hope.
Hope is a positive expectation of future good. Hope is a smile at the future, it is a joy of the possibility of something we see coming to pass. Hope is deeper than a wish. A wish is something we would like to happen because it would be nice wouldn’t it? Hope is connected to deeper desires, somewhere connected to your purpose and call in life. Hopes have their roots in Christ. Because He is the designer of hope.
Hope is the most recognisable characteristic of faith. We need no convincing that hope is a quality demonstrated by the personality of faith. We don’t need much convincing that faith and hope are partners in the same mission, essentially connected, intertwined from birth! They are not distant cousins they are inseparable twins. They dress the same, they travel everywhere together, they have the same ambition, so many characteristics are recognisable one in the other.
Hope is the most identifiable part of faith. The attractive and recognisable nature of hope, draws us to the thought of living by faith. Except for one factor! To live by faith means we have to not respect our sight quite as much as we are often tempted to do! What do I mean by that? Well we have hopes and desires, dreams and possibilities in our minds and hearts; but then we look around us, we observe the natural circumstances and see that they do not suggest our hopes can be realised. Our sight overtakes our hopes.
Yet the Apostle Paul does not stop at the suggestion that our hopes and dreams could be realised he goes onto to say that God will do immeasurable MORE than we could ask or even think (Ephesians 3:20). My gosh what is he suggesting? Is he really suggesting that God does not hold back from our hopes? Yes. Is he really suggesting that God will do way more than my hopes can be visualised or thought about? Yes, that’s exactly what God is suggesting!
So what is often the sticking point in a life of faith?
Clearly learning the discipline of mind to keep seeing the invisible rather than the restrictive natural circumstances is essential. In fact the New International Version says faith is confidence in what we hope for … so maintaining a confidence in the midst of doubts is faith. However, there is another vital thing we can do that so many people underestimate the power of …
Faith is the ‘substance’ of things hoped for. It is the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see (New Living Translation). This tells us there is something we need to do, that makes our hope have some reality. Substance is felt and experienced, substance is evidence of a hope being alive, substance is activating what we see inside, substance is tangible. Instead of waiting for God to act, how about us making a move.
It has been my experience that in my movement God moves. In my action God acts. My ideas have the seeds of faith in them, but unless I do something with those seeds, faith like a grain of mustard cannot grow into something.
To put it another way “big doors swing on small hinges”.
A small action initiated by a hope, a small step in the direction of a dream, an action in the direction of what you are believing in might just open a door that would never otherwise been opened.
This has been the story of Lizby and I’s life.
20 years ago I had a thought to take a day off work and spend it cold calling all the companies in the area I would like to work for. I fancied a career change. From this I got the job that facilitated our move into ministry 3 years later.
A random (although thought through) idea to move to the Netherlands turned into something historic for us.
A thought I had that I should follow-up on a business card sitting on my desk led to a huge and miraculous property deal for our Church.
A thought to give an extraordinary offering unlocked a new house for our family.
I have had several thoughts about needing to call certain people that has sometimes been significant timing for them.
Big doors (that you didn’t even realise were there) open when you keep making small decisive, creative steps. Actions create movements!
God loves movement. The prophet Ezekiel (chapter 47) talks about an incredible scene. A scene where healing is readily available, where the seasons do not negatively effect our fruitfulness, but enrich our fruitfulness, where an abundance of true life, and harvest exists. What does he say is at the center of this scene? A river. He says wherever the river goes everything lives. There is life where the river flows.
A river has movement. Still water easily stagnates. This is why Ezekiel doesn’t talk about a pool of water, still, settled, unmoving. No it’s a river. It moves, it is going somewhere, it’s heading toward something much bigger than itself – an ocean.
When we live our life in motion, going for something and someone bigger than ourselves, our life has meaning, we activate the hopes we have and we find doors open, some of which we were not even expecting.
There are reasons we don’t get moving :
1. The fear that our idea will fail
2. The comfort of our current situation
So now we realise that faith isn’t simply faith – it is courage, it is discomfort, it is active, faith does!
All I feel I have ever done is kept activating the ideas that come to mind (mostly!) 3 things have happened when I have done this:
1. Nothing! Some thoughts come to nothing! But do they? The outcome may not be what I was expecting, but in the process we grow, we learn, we keep moving, which makes us ready for something new.
2. Small doors have opened. Some ideas have opened small doors. Nothing wrong with that! Doors opening is, after all, the movement of life. It’s the life that continues to unveil God’s purposes for you and through you to others.
3. Big doors have opened. Whilst this may not be an everyday experience, it happens. God moves in your moving. These situations are miraculous. They are designed to reveal the glory of God and reveal a necessary advancement in the plans and purposes of God in your life. His plans for you are good and large.
Some of you have a dream to write a book but never seem tot get started. Start by writing a few hundred word blog. Get moving. Then write another blog on a different aspect of the same subject. Before long you will have the chapters of your book. Actually if writing is your dream, try this blog.
Can I say kindly to you – don’t die in inactivity, don’t get paralysis in analysis. Do something. Bring movement to your world. Let the river flow. Let’s see what God can really do in and through you to bless this wonderful world of ours and show off His magnificence.