Faith is absolutely essential to your walk with God.
1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT (13) Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.
In saying it this way, Paul is telling us that there is a difference in hope and faith.
Hebrews 11:1 NIV Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
There are a lot of people who think they are operating in faith but they are not. Hope does have some limitations. There are certain things that it cannot do. The two do work together and are connected.
Hope is a positive expectation of things in the future.
“I see good coming to me. Something good is going to happen to me this week…”
“I believe things are going to get better.”
God always builds our hopes before we actually begin to operate in faith.
Abraham is the father of faith. He is the classic case study of faith. Nobody matches him in terms of the quality of their faith.
What we see is that God did not begin Abraham in faith. He began him in hope.
Genesis 12:1-3 NKJV (1) Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. (2) I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. (3) I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Genesis 12:7 NKJV (7) Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.
Notice the tense of the words that God is using while He is speaking to Abram. They are words like, “I will…, shall be…” This is all hope.
We see that God is instilling hope into the heart of Abram first because faith has to work with hope.
Faith and hope can be broken down like this:
Hope is a blueprint or a model.
It is not the building; it is the expectation of the building.
Hope is the ability to imagine what is going to happen.
This is where you start.
God began to build Abram a picture of what He is planning to do not only for him but this people that He is going to make.
Genesis 15:5-6 NKJV (5) Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” (6) And he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
Abraham did not walk a walk of faith for 25 years. He clung to hope for all that time but he walked in faith for the last year of the time he was childless.
God wanted Abraham to arrive at a place where it was completely and totally hopeless for him to have a son.
If they are going to be our model of faith, they needed to believe for something that is completely and totally hopeless.
We face problems in our lives every day that are not complete and totally hopeless. Very few of us face situations that are completely hopeless.
This means that if the principles of faith that we learn from Abraham worked for Abraham, they will surely work for us.
All of a sudden in God’s dealings with Abram, something changes.
Genesis 17:1-4 NKJV (1) When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. (2) And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” (3) Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: (4) “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.
Genesis 17:5 NKJV (5) No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations.
God says for the first time, “I have made you a father of many nations.” He says to Abraham, if you accept this, change your name and get circumcised.
Romans 4:16-17 NKJV (16) Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (17) (as it is written, “I HAVE MADE YOU A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS”) in the presence of Him whom he believed–God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;
When God wants to change something, He calls those things that are not as they were.
Hope is the blueprint. Hope says, “It is going to happen…” But faith is the construction crew.
Faith is like an invisible construction team; a team that works while you are at home asleep and does not want you watching them work but yet you show up each day and are amazed at how much has gotten done behind the scenes.
Faith works in the invisible arena where God lives.
Romans 4:18-20 AMP [For Abraham, human reason for] hope being gone, hoped in faith that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been promised, So [numberless] shall your descendants be. [Gen. 15:5.] (19) He did not weaken in faith when he considered the [utter] impotence of his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or [when he considered] the barrenness of Sarah’s [deadened] womb. [Gen. 17:17; 18:11.] (20) No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God,
You will not be able to stay strong in faith if you continue to look at the natural negatives.
If you look at the natural negatives, you will talk yourself out of the promises that God has made to you.
Abraham DID NOT CONSIDER his body.
Some think that God always works in measurable degrees. We think that there should be measurable progress as you go along. But there also may be times when things get worse instead of better.
Abraham stayed strong in faith even when the news did not get better. He does not deny it. He refuses to focus on it.
Romans 4:21 NKJV (21) and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
Romans 4:21 AMP Fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised.
Who was it that fully persuaded Abraham? Did God do it? If that is the case then all God has to do is persuade everyone that they need to get saved and they would receive it. Who then persuaded Abraham? Abraham persuaded Abraham.
You and I have the responsibility to persuade ourselves to believe what God has already said.
Mark 11:24 NKJV (24) Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
We need faith to receive those things that we cannot see. Faith reaches over into that other realm and grabs hold of the answer.
When we pray, we are tying our faith around the answer. The only thing that connects us to the things we pray is our faith.
Do I have it in my hands? No, but I have it by faith.
Hope says I will get it someday. Faith says that I have it now. Hope does not connect me to it but faith is my connection.
The Bible tells us that there is another force that works with faith called patience.
Hebrews 6:12 NKJV (12) that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Patience is what pulls what we have believed for toward us. It is remaining constant during that time.
Hebrews 10:35 NKJV (35) Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.
The enemy is a master that will try and get you to let go ahead of what you have already laid hold by faith.
Have you ever realized that when someone would receive from Jesus or get healed or get their miracle that we really don’t have any record of Jesus running, shouting, or even dancing a little bit?
The reason for that is when you live the life of faith every day, you are grateful every day that God’s promise is true to you. Jesus rejoiced at His time of prayer in the middle of the night.
When you walk into a room and switch on the lights and they come on do you stop and celebrate and dance? No, because you expected them to come on. People on the Price is Right get so excited when they get picked and perhaps win something because they are hoping that they will get picked and it is a surprise to them that they do.
People of faith should never be surprised when God answers their prayer because we believe that it is already done.
When you operate in faith every day becomes a day of rejoicing and excitement and not surprise.
When you get this way, you become a person that Satan cannot mess with and does not know what to do with you!