If a poll were conducted, the results would probably indicate the vast majority of the population says they have faith to one degree or another. What I have learned, however, is people can confuse faith with hope. There was a time I did, just because I didn’t know enough about faith.
Until the pressures of life are bearing down on us, faith, at best, is a concept with which we are merely familiar. It is when life requires us to walk in and live by faith that we find out just how much we truly have! Until then, it’s difficult to grasp the meaning of faith in its fullness.
Most likely, we operate from hope more so than faith. With hope, though, often comes worry. Have you ever asked someone about a situation they were facing? When they answer, there is a look of concern on their face as they say, “I’m hoping everything will turn out okay.”
Faith fixes our countenance and allows us to speak more positively about a matter. The answer from a person standing in faith may be more along the lines of “I don’t know how God’s going to fix it, but I know He will!” You can hear the anticipation and excitement in the person’s voice.
When we are in faith concerning a matter, we are not sulking while we wait for the Lord to work things out. We are confident and optimistic. Faith gives us a spirit of expectancy. Hope leaves us with a measure of doubt. Faith does not mean everything will work out the way we want it to. It means we believe everything will be okay regardless of how things work out.
So I ask you: Which do you have; faith or hope?
Considering the current climate in our country, I highly recommend faith. Without faith, even the daily affairs of life can be overwhelming.
School will be starting soon. Shootings on school campuses have become a growing concern. As parents, do we hope our kids will be okay or are we living by faith that they will be? What’s the difference? If we are simply hopeful, it opens the door for worry each day as our children leave the house headed to school. The worry we feel will change our demeanor. Children are perceptive.
They will be able to recognize our concern and internalize it. We certainly do not want to transfer that to our children as they start their day.
When living by faith about their well-being. we can send them off to school cheerfully each morning with the expectation that God will cover them and bring them home safely at the end of the day.
Regardless of what we say, it is how we act, how we maintain and conduct ourselves, that confirms for us and others whether we have faith or hope. Anyone can profess faith but, if their actions do not line up, what they really have is a level of hope.
Faith should help us sleep better at night than hope. The worry-factor associated with hope can keep us up pondering all the possible outcomes of a situation. Faith, on the other hand, means we’ve turned the matter over to God and we trust Him to work it out for good.
Examine your responses to the pressures of life. You’ll be able to determine if you’re living by faith or hope. Scripture reminds us that “the just shall live by faith” (Hebrews 10:38) and “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). These two reminders alone make it clear we should choose faith over mere hope.