Friday, May 6, 2016

What to do when you have hopeless faith or faithless hope!

Follow this train of thought with me...

If answered prayer requires faith, and faith is the assurance of things hoped for, then we need hope to get answers to prayer. So, how do we get hope?
"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
Hope comes by being filled with joy and peace, in believing. Believing what? The promises of God--His words to us. So we can summarize that answered prayer begins with an attitude of joy and peace concerning the promises of God to you.

Let's look at this in more detail... Answered prayer requires faith. When the blind men came to Jesus asking for mercy, He asked them if they believed He was able to do this. They said yes, and when He touched their eyes He said, "It shall be done to you according to your faith" and their eyes were opened. (Matthew 9:27-30). Faith was required on their part in order for them to be healed of their blindness.

A father brought his boy to the disciples to cast a demon out of his son and the disciples couldn't do it. When Jesus got there, He said to the man, "All things are possible to him who believes." The man said, "I do believe; help my unbelief." (Mark 9:23-24). Jesus then cast the demon out. When His disciples asked Him why they couldn't do it, He said "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you." (Matthew 17:20). Even though Jesus also said, this kind of demon only goes out by prayer and fasting, He specifically states that the reason they couldn't do it was not because of that, but because of their lack of faith. Faith was required for this boy to be delivered from the demon. The disciples didn't have the faith, but Jesus did.

There are other instances where Jesus responded to the faith of people, resulting in miracles.
  • Matthew 8:10, 13: Of the Centurion who came to Jesus seeking healing for his servant, Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel.....Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed." The servant was healed at that very moment.
  • Mark 2:5: Regarding the paralytic let down through the roof by his friends we read, "And Jesus seeing their faith..." Not only did he immediately get healed, but his sins were forgiven as well.
  • Matthew 9:22: To the woman with the hemorrhage for twelve years, He said, "Daughter, take courage; your faith has made you well." She was made well at once.
  • Matthew 15:28: To the Canaanite woman seeking help for her daughter, He said, "O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish." Her daughter was healed at once.
Most of us probably realize we need faith to get miraculous healings and such in our lives, but we don't often recognize the importance of hope. We might wish, but not with true hope. We fall short by not clearly defining what we are hoping for. Hope is the details of our desire--healing, provision, protection, etc. Hope is the specific word that gives life to our faith.

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for. 
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1
Throughout the 11th chapter of Hebrews we read the stories of those who had great faith. The evidence of their faith is the results they received. Things like Noah building the ark, Abraham leaving his home town and going to the Promised Land, Sarah conceiving a child, and many more--Abel, Enoch, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses etc... The thing that gives substance to faith is what the person is hoping for. There are specific things listed in this chapter that define what exactly their faith produced. The things hoped for are specific things, they are the "things not seen" that we mix our faith with.

James wrote that "faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself." (James 2:17). Faith requires something to fill it so it can take shape. Kind of like a balloon--hope is like the air in the balloon and faith is the balloon itself. The air (hope) without the balloon (faith) won't result in anything visible, and the balloon (faith) without the air (hope) won't come to life and take the shape it is supposed to.

If you have a problem going on in your life, you don't just need faith to get your answer, you also need hope. You need hope to see the end result you desire, and your faith works with that hope to bring it to pass. We know that faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17), but how do we get hope?

Hope comes from being filled with all joy and peace.

Once again the Bible says, 
"Now may the God of peace fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
The God of peace fills you with all joy and peace, in believing, so that you may abound in hope! Go to the God of peace and ask Him to fill you with all joy and peace. He has already given you His Word which is full of words of promises--words of hope. If you are filled with His Spirit, you have joy and peace in you as fruit of the Spirit. Cultivate this fruit! Meditate on His Word so that "in believing" you will abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit!

There is a cycle here we need to understand. You could call it a miracle cloud. Being filled with joy and peace causes your hope to abound. Your hope continues to grow as you stay filled with joy and peace. Your hope grows stronger and gives shape to your faith. At this point where your hope unites with faith, there is a shift in reality. There is a shift in the spiritual realm and the quantum field that surrounds you. Like the woman who said, "If I can just touch the hem of His garment, I will be made whole," your hope--regarding a specific promise or word--gives life to faith. (Matthew 9:21). When you inject patience into all of it, then you understand that these things are happening outside the realm of time. God is outside the realm of time. You can remain in joy and peace because your focus is not on "when." Patience is like the knot in the balloon which enables you to stay filled with joy and peace. Your patience maintains the joy and peace, which produces more hope, which gives life to faith, to which you add patience, and the cycle continues. This is a miracle cloud--the place where miracles happen!

We get disappointed when we go looking for hope in all the wrong places. We look to our family, our friends, our pastor, or anyone other than the God of peace. He is the source of the joy and peace that creates hope--true hope--which His Word is full of. Prophetic words spoken to us bring the joy and peace that fills us with hope. The Word of God, written or spoken, gives us promises--gives us hope!

Make this your profession of faith concerning the biggest need you have today:

"The God of hope has given me great promises that fill me with joy and peace. I will keep my mind on His words of promise to stay continually filled with joy and peace. This joy and peace causes me to abound in hope.

This hope grows, inflating my faith, giving substance to it. This faith is the assurance that the unseen things I hope for are a reality.

With patience, I trust the Lord for the proper timing of all things, knowing the reality exists in the eternal realm. I maintain patience and stay filled with joy and peace continually, remembering His words of promise, which strengthens my hope--inflates my faith--and renews my patience, so I can remain filled with joy and peace at all times."

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