FAITH: the kind of belief that forces me to act on my belief and this strengthens and gives substance to my HOPE.
HOPE: the active inner discussion of, picturing of, appreciating of, the promises that I can’t yet see but (because God cannot lie) are absolutely real. This HOPE empowers and pushes my FAITH, which causes me to act on the promises and builds my FAITH and strengthens my HOPE and round and round.
There are lots of things that we believe that do not demand action. We believe that it is 186 million miles to the sun, but are unlikely to do anything different as a result. Faith is a specific type of belief in a cause and effect world that if we obey then God will do something wonderful. The devils have faith in God that causes them to act. James 2 19 “the devils also believe, and tremble.” They react in the certain knowledge of their doom. We act in the certain knowledge of God’s love and promises. If someone said that they believe that they will be given a million dollars if they went to the bank today, but they did not go. They:
- don’t believe it
- don’t have any sense of needing money
- don’t have any picture of how much money that is
- really don’t want to be in the position of having to be grateful
- don’t think that they deserve it
- think that they can earn even more money on their own by not wasting time picking up the million
So what do I believe? How should I then live? 2 Peter 3;11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of person ought I to be in all holy conversation and godliness?
How can you tell if a body is alive? It breathes! Even so, James 2;26 faith (the body) without some form of action (breathing) is dead. If you say you believe that there is a bomb in the room and you sit there. You are either suicidal or frozen or don’t believe it. If you hide under the desk you are unwise but at least you believe what you say. Even so faith does not always result in wise action but it always results in action. I find that if I try feebly and imperfectly God meets me in my obedience and empowers it, gives it good results and teaches me to act even more wisely.