“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” ~ Hebrews 11:1 (See also: Romans 8:24; 2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
Assurance of hope; conviction that the yet-to-be-seen will be: people who are functioning in this realm of life will show it in at least two major ways:
One ~ they will live life in a way that reveals they have hope for a better tomorrow, living life in a way that reveals the things they hope to see can and will happen as God inspires their heart. Such hope builds to direct one to see that desire as worth chasing after and working toward, no matter how difficult the journey may be.
The second is the fact that people of such hope talk different. These may go through moments of negativity in times of discouragement’s temptation, but it will be short lived. God will use something to remind them of their hope for the future, and they will begin to speak about those truths of faith, often as if the thing they are waiting for has already happened. It is a sure thing for them because they receive God’s inspiration of heart desire with belief that says, “I know You can if it is Your will.” And they hear Him respond, “I am willing. Let’s do it.”
The confession of our hope is vitally important, both the spoken confession, and the actions we call life that move toward the desired reality. Two things have me thinking about the confession of our hope, speaking out of promise, today.
One is a family issue that has me grieving and concerned over one I love dearly. Most days I get up and press forward with faith in God who assures my heart that He is working in the situation and in the life of this one I love, accomplishing His purpose and bringing all to His glory. On those days I have strength, joy, and ability to function. But some days I get hit by the grief of the situation and find my function robbed of strength and joy. Today as I write this first draft has been one of those days when grief over the situation fights against what I know God is telling me is His truth and my hope for this situation.
There is a teaching in the church that I believe in practicing, but I believe we must be careful how we practice it. It is the teaching found in such passages as of 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 coupled with that of Philippians 4:8 that is used to teach us to speak what is not yet as if it already is. It is a teaching that intends we speak with faith in God’s word to us regarding life issues, even when life is not visibly in alignment with God’s word, while trusting Him to work to bring all in alignment to His expressed will. I believe we are to do that, express our hope and faith in God, trusting Him to fulfill it; but I also believe we must take care that the positive we speak has its basis in faith in God’s promises to us, not just some good outcome we prefer to see. God’s way is not name it and claim it; it is receive it and believe it.
I have a friend whose daughter turned from the Lord. Every time her daughter would deny God, she would tell her, “That is not truth, for scripture says, ‘Assuredly, the evil man will not go unpunished, But the descendants of the righteous will be delivered.’ You will return to God.” Now first off, my friend’s righteousness she was trusting in that made her able to claim this verse was not her own, though she worked hard in the strength of God’s supply to live a righteous life, but her trust in her proclamation was in the righteousness she possesses through her relationship with Christ Jesus. And God was faithful to fulfill the promise He gave her heart through His word. It was not long before her daughter turned back to God and began to grow in Him anew.
Today I read the following post on one of my friend’s pages:
“Today’s Family Confession: My family is saved because I believe in Jesus Christ. My children and grandchildren are taught of the Lord. Great is the peace of my family and God’s spirit is upon them. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” ~ Sebastian Weaver.
God used this confession, all of which I recognize as scripture based confessions, to remind my heart that on days of grief, it is vital that I keep speaking out with assurance the promises I hold to easily on days of strength, for “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” and faith boldly confessed gives strength and new life to weary, dry bones. So it is important for me to have written out the truths God has highlighted for me in Scripture with regard to this loved one, so that when the emotional onslaught of grief hits my flesh, my heart and mind can continue to remember God’s word and choose to believe Him over what my eyes are seeing in the life of my beloved right now.
The other thing that has me thinking on this subject is a dear friend who expressed frustration when others keep speaking “negative confessions” on an area of his life where God has given him clear promise and hope. It has me wondering why we would have cause to fear or be frustrated over what others say if our faith is in what God says.
We have scriptural precedence revealing how often God will speak a true, prophetic word of promise to one person. Others, some false prophets who have no part in God, and some true prophets of the one true God who are not hearing him on that subject or out of some fear of others, they are not speaking truly. The one who is hearing and speaking truly has no need to fear, fret or fume over the negative words of others if the word they are trusting is truly from God. Why? Because God promises that the word that is from Him WILL be fulfilled, proving to all the truth of the word spoken. We know the prophetic utterance is from God when it comes to pass. And He will do what He wills despite what unbelievers in His word to us think or say.
Most of the things God gives me are based on Scripture. I can point to what I am seeing and receiving from God in the Scripture, and others can see and believe it for themselves, along with me. But sometimes God will speak something to me in which I have no clear directive in His Word that I can point to.
I shared in previous writings that as I draw near to my 60s, finding myself in a season with ill health had me concerned that I might not be long for this life, I began to fear dying. Every time my health would fail me, a fear would come up in me, hindering me from enjoying the days I have. Then one day the “voice” of His presence that I have always understood as God speaking to me, began to say three words into my times of concern over my health: “at least eighty-two.” Every time it happened, I knew He was telling me to not fear, for I still have many years of life to live. That assurance from God has come to me so many times now that I no longer question or doubt; I just believe and trust the Lord for my times and epochs. I asked God once, “Why ‘at least’? Why not just give me the age outright?” He revealed to my heart “I know you. If I tell you exactly when, you will pack your bags, say your goodbyes, and sit to wait for Me. I want you to live life to the full until the instant I take you home.”
Now I have enough assurance in me from God that I tell people of this prophetic promise, but I have nothing that I can give them as proof. Used to that would bother me, but I have learned that God is the protector and completer of His word. Others may not believe me and may even argue with me. But I just smile and go on in assurance because God has me convinced.
Trust God, beloved. Learn how He works with you to instruct your heart. Know His voice, the voice of the Good Shepherd (John 10). And trust His word to you with faith filled assurance and hope. Let Him convince you of things you do not yet see. Dive into the water with Him and see what He will do. Those who disbelieve will see. You just keep smiling with the joy of your assurance.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” ~ Hebrews 10:23.