You can’t have faith without hope…and hope without faith…they go hand and hand together. When shattered human emotions come to the point of hopelessness, there’s nothing left but disillusionment and a broken spirit. But if we have faith, we are lifted up and supported…encouraged and assured that God is there. Isaiah 46:4 says, “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He Who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” The Lord is always there to comfort the brokenhearted and grief-stricken. For faith will give way to hope…and hope will usher in faith.
Whether you agree we’re in the end times or not, this verse points out the subtle and indirect way we can be lead astray. We don’t have to rebel outright…turning our backs on the Gospel, to be caught up in deception. In fact, in casual listening, what we hear may not sound wrong at all. For twisted and corrupted “religious beliefs” are all around us…with new and even more Holy Spirit grieving ones popping up everyday. As a Believer, you need to carefully discern what you hear…does it line up with the Bible, not just a little, but totally?
Jesus Christ came to earth and died on the Cross to fulfill the demands of the Law. He freed us from the impossible observances of those Laws…giving us instead His perfect Law that offers freedom from sin and guilt. For anyone who puts their faith and trust in Jesus…the old Law-keeping vanishes, as the new covenant is activated in their heart.
In James it says to not merely listen to the Word…but do It. In order to put your trust in the Lord, you must take what you hear and apply it to your life. You need to take that head knowledge and internalize it into heart knowledge. The Word of God is powerful and alive, but if it goes in one ear and out the other, it’s of no use to you. For just hearing God’s voice will never cause change within… unless you do something with it.
The scripture today is a continuation of the thought from yesterday…a encouraging thought for all of us… that we are stronger than we think, braver than we can ever imagine, and only need to trust the Lord in order to succeed. We are exhorted here that we arenot of those who shrink back, but rather have faith. For what hangs in the balance is simple…eternal life, or eternal damnation.
I’ll be the first to admit…I’m not a patient person. But patience is exactly what God wants from me. He asks that I steadfastly pray for unsaved loved ones…even if I don’t see change. He asks that I not give up on dreams He’s given me…even if it’s been years. God only asks that I be patient in my faith…unwavering in my trust of Him, as He works towards His divine purpose in my life. For if you think about it, it’s very little He’s asking.
Have you ever been mocked for your faith? Maybe it was something general like, “It’s only the weak that need religion.” Or maybe it was pointed like, ” You’re stupid to think that there’s a God!” Either way, when someone ridicules and laughs at our belief in God, they’re treating our precious Lord with contempt. So stand strong when you’re scoffed at for your beliefs… don’t be tempted to compromise or cave in when poked fun at, for God’s shoulders are very broad and He can take the taunts. And besides, as this verse reveals, He can and will not be mocked.