Encouragement From The Word

Faithfulness

Faithfulness:  literally, it means to be full of faith.  But in context, it also can mean the same thing as fidelity or loyalty.

We talk of being faithful to our spouse, or being loyal to the monarchy.  But when it comes to God, there’s more to it than that.

Faithfulness is about more than having faith; it is also about practising faith.

As the writer to the Hebrews puts it, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11.1, NLT).

That sounds a bit ethereal, but it’s true:  faith does show us the reality of what we hope for, and it gives us evidence of things we cannot see.

To put our faith into practice means taking risks, sometimes.  

When I plunk myself down on a chair, I’m acting in faith that the chair will hold me.  (I’ve been known, on occasion, when visiting someone’s home, if the chair in which they invite me to sit will hold me – particularly if it is an antique or is somewhat rickety-looking.)  Every day, I act in faith in ways I don’t even think about.

But when it comes to our faith in Jesus, acting on it means living in daily relationship with him, in the same way we would with a spouse.  In that sense, faithfulness to Jesus is fidelity to Jesus.

Take a step of faith today.  You will find that God is even more faithful.

Encouragement From The Word

Hope

Hope.

It’s one word that nearly everybody can identify with.  For many people, it’s what fuels their lives.  Hope is what makes people put one foot in front of the other, what makes people decide to get out of bed for the day.

I hope I will have a better day at work than I did yesterday.

I hope I will do well on this test. 

I hope my spouse will not get cancer.

Sometimes, hope is misdirected, though, isn’t it?  We can hope for something that we think might solve our problems.

I hope I will win the lottery.

I hope I will get a big inheritance so I’ll never have to work again.

I hope that nasty so-and-so falls into a pit and is never seen again.

Even hope can have its ugly side.  But that’s not what God intended.

Hope is invariably tied to faith.  What we hope for is often what we place our faith in.  If you re-read those “I hope” statements, they can all seem pretty vapid, even when the best of intentions are behind them.

There is a lovely little gospel hymn that reminds us where to direct our hope:

My hope is in the Lord

Who gave himself for me,

And paid the price for all my sin

At Calvary.

For me he died, for me he lives,

And everlasting life and light he freely gives.

Jesus is the one on whom we rightly place our hope, because it is in him that we rightly place our faith.  Is your hope in Jesus?

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11.1, NLT).