In my last two posts I wrote about the real (biblical) kind of hope that God gives. Hope is a substance that is a crucial part of the love of God. When we receive the love of God, it invariably includes hope.
But hope is not the end goal. Hope is a downpayment, a guarantee of something that is to come.
How does hope become real and tangible in our lives?
This requires faith.
Faith is given by God; it is a gift. God will give faith along with hope. Faith makes what is hoped for actually real and tangible in our experience. When God’s time is right, faith will be released to pull the thing hoped-for into tangible reality.
Many versions of Hebrews 11:1 say that faith is the substance of things hoped for. However, a less well-known translation that I grew up with (Darby translation) translates it as “faith is the substantiating of things hoped for.” Faith itself is not the substance. It is the substantiating. The reality of the thing that you hope for is the substance. And faith brings the substance out of the conceptual into the tangible.
Why do we need to exercise faith to receive things from God? It is because He is spirit. Faith gives ‘spirit’ material reality. Faith gives material reality to what we hope for. When we hope we have not yet received the substance. When we can touch the substance, hope is fulfilled and is no longer needed.
How does faith work?
Let me put it like this: If I had a rich and loving father and I wanted a new camera, I would ask him for one. He would respond in one of three different ways:
1. Either by saying “Go and get what you want and I will reimburse you,” or;
2. He would give me the money first and I would go and buy the camera I wanted, or;
3. He would buy me the camera that I wanted and give it to me.
In the first two scenarios my faith is active, I perform the action. In the third scenario, I am passive; my rich father does the action.
God works in the same way. If God gives me a genuine desire for a new camera and I need to acquire it by faith, how will it actually come to me? How will it be manifested?
God will either tell someone to give me either the camera or the money beforehand, or I will buy it first and expect that He will reimburse my expenditure. Father can provide in many different ways and by different methods. Some will require our action, some will require waiting and resisting the temptation to act.
I have found Harry Greenwood to be very helpful here. He needed a new car and asked God for it. He had peace that God wanted to provide a new car for him. He received biblical hope, in other words, God gave him a detailed word about the exact car that God would provide for him. As Harry prayed, he got a very specific inner vision of what the car would look like--make, model, engine size, paintwork, even the colour of the seats.
He continued to test that this was genuine vision from God and not his own humanly imagined hope. He carried that hope for a period, and then he phoned the car dealers and put the order in.
Now this is amazing! When Harry ordered his car, the car manufacturers told him that that particular model was no longer in production. Harry, confident that God had spoken to him, would not compromise and stuck to his guns, looking very foolish. A few days later, the factory phoned him and informed him that they had discovered one final chassis and body of the discontinued model. It was the exact type that Harry had ordered, right down to the correct colour! They agreed to put it on the assembly line and Harry got his promised car.
This is a good example of faith ‘giving substance’ to things hoped for.
The substance was not Harry’s faith.
The substance was the new car.
But it took Harry’s faith (ordering the car before he had money to pay for it) to bring the hoped-for car into tangible reality.
Specific Requests and Definite Answers
I have a leather-bound notebook, which I use as a faith-grower. It is for developing faith for material things. I had to discover the specific love of the Father in my life, by receiving material things, because I had always believed that God was only interested in me being 'spiritual', and that He did not care for my human needs and desires.
In my notebook, I mark one page 'Specific Requests' -- I mark the opposite page 'Definite Answers.' Under 'Specific Requests' I write the detail of what I am believing God for. When I receive a definite answer (one that cannot be denied) I write the date and "Thank You so much" on the opposite page. Leafing through my book it is amazing how many pages are filled with the definite answers to my specific requests.
I do this because faith has to be measurable. Faith cannot work in a vacuum or in vagueness. Faith has to be specific and able to be measured. My faith has really grown through doing this.
Even if you do have enough money for everything you need and want, I still challenge you to extend your faith. Believe beyond your natural ability and capacity. Give money away, sow seeds into the kingdom, extend your boundaries. People who have regular and abundant income are still called by a supernatural God to live above normality.
Some people like to say, "Give until it hurts." Jack Winter turned this statement on its head and declared, "Give until it no longer hurts." ...When you can give and it no longer hurts, you are really free!
I hope this is helpful and life-giving. I hope it releases you to enjoy life more and have greater confidence in God and in the Spirit within YOU.