Hope. Everybody has it. Christians, agnostics, skeptics, and even atheists. We all have hope in something. For some, they place their hope in a salary or job title. Others may put their hope in a relationship or political system. Everybody wakes up in the morning hoping and longing for something. We reach for surety, security and safety in the things we hope for. We all want to know that what we build our life on is firm ground and stable. But as Christians, our hope is different. Our hope is married to faith, which is the assurance of things hoped for IN Christ Jesus (Heb 11:1.)
Christians are not different because we have hope, everyone has hope. What makes Christians different is the OBJECT of our hope, which is faith in Jesus Christ. In Hebrew 11, we find a clear definition of what Christian faith is (and how it’s tied to hope), along with a historical account of several Old Testament faith filled stories.
In verse 1 the writer of Hebrews gives a definition of faith, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” It is through this faith we understand that God made the world (things that are visible; Heb 11:3) out of nothing (things not visible; Heb 11:3.) To have biblical faith in God, we must acknowledge God as Creator and submit to being His creation. This act of surrender places our faith in Christ, and once we do, we sign up for a radical journey. You see, the stories the writer chronicles in Hebrews 11 are all life-changing faith journeys of people doing wild things because of their faith and hope in God. Faith in God makes you live a very different life. Let’s look at a one of these radical faith filled stories.
The song “Here Now” by Hillsong United includes a challenging perspective for our proof-hungry culture - “Faith makes a fool of what makes sense, but grace found my heart where logic ends.” When faith is accompanied by action, these actions appear counterintuitive and even senseless to the carnal world. In Hebrews 11:7 we see Noah was warned about the UNSEEN flood and responded by faith - in a way that made no sense to others. It did not flood for over 100 years, but Noah spent nearly half a century building an ark that would save and preserve the bloodline of Christ. Genesis 6:9 tells us that Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. His faith allowed him to first, LISTEN to God’s warning and instructions and second, ACT on his faith by building an ark even when there was no visible need for it. Noah had confidence in what he hoped God would do, and he acted on it in faith.
The people of old in Hebrews 11 radically lived by faith when it made no human sense at all. They based their actions on things they couldn’t see in hope of a future glory. What is God calling you to do by faith? Maybe it is continuing to or increasing your tithe when you just lost your job and hoping God will lead you to a better paying position. Or maybe it’s asking the cashier at the grocery store if you can pray for her hand that’s wrapped in a cast and telling her you believe God will heal her. You may not see that better paying job or that healed hand right away, but the action of faith will produce a HOPE in you that will not disappoint! Today I charge you to continue the faith in Hebrew 11 and to strive to live out your very own faith journey.