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The Difference Between Faith and Hope: A Christian's View

Photo by MarinaZg/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by MarinaZg/iStock / Getty Images

I remember doing a study on this a few years back for a Bible study at my church. It was such an eye-opening class, but I feel like I just recently received that message in my heart—years later. Many Christians ask about Faith—how to have it, grow it, maintain it—but not many Christians ask about Hope. I think it is insanely important to know about both because, much to your surprise, many Christians get them mixed up.

In the last article, How to Have Faith, I explained the definition of faith with the scripture Hebrews 11:1 NIV “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

By definition, Faith is confidence or trust in something or someone not based on proof (believing in things unseen).

Hope is an optimistic attitude based on expectation or desire.

What exactly is the difference here?

Biblically speaking, Faith says whatever you are hoping for is here now. Hope says there is a chance of it happening sometime in the future.

The Word tells us to Hope in the Lord, the Word tells us God has plans to give us Hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). But nowhere in the Bible does it say that Hope brought on a miracle from the Lord. It wasn’t by Hope that Jesus raised Lazarus from the death. It wasn’t with Hope that Jesus fed the multitude. All those acts were done in Faith.

Don’t get me wrong, Hope is not weak or useless. God wouldn’t tell us to have hope if it were so weak. But we must take notice when we are using Hope in place of Faith.

There are thousands of Believers walking around with their hopes up but ultimately pouring in zero faith when it comes to their prayers. Not long ago, I was one of those Believers. When I first began writing I wanted to be the best I could possibly be. I knew the Lord had promised to deliver the desires of my heart, (“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 NIV), and I knew the Lord cared about my writing just as much as I did: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” I Peter 5:7 KJV. So, I was walking around with these scriptures in my heart and my dreams in my head but no real faith.

I would hold my breath every time I opened an email regarding the blog. I fasted for days hoping my original writing would go somewhere. I pleaded with family members to join hands in prayer with me. Hoping, waiting, wondering when the Lord would answer me. But I didn’t truly believe.

On paper, I was doing everything right. I was applying the Word in my prayers. I was fasting. I was going to Church. I was living righteously. I never gave up. I never stopped writing. But I also never believed in anything I prayed or anything I wrote or anything I published. What I had was a desperate hope that someday things would work out in my favor. I never had faith that I would actually see God’s favor. It was all a very exciting dream to me—it wasn’t reality.

You have to make sure you aren’t just hopeful. HOPE IN THE LORD! Don’t stop having hope, don’t stop having an optimistic attitude. But don’t stop checking yourself. Make sure what you have is hope and faith combined.

How do you know if you don’t have faith?

Stop and ask yourself, do you truly believe? No matter the circumstances? Or are you just burning gas right now, living on a dream you hope will work out someday, but you don’t really think will happen?

If you can’t honestly see yourself accomplishing your dream, then you won’t accomplish that dream. You must have faith because God doesn’t work with faithless Christians.

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 NIV

So, what do you do if you realize you have hope but no faith?

Don’t worry, just fake it til’ you make it!

As Christians, our words have power! Speak faith into your life and over your situation.

Lord, I don’t see a way, but I know you have a way. I’m choosing to have faith, despite my circumstances. I’m choosing to stand on the promises you made me: good health, prosperity, a long life, rich faith, etc. I may not have it now, but I know its coming today in Jesus’ name.

Its that simple. It may seem odd at first but before you realize it, those words will have a deeper meaning to you than you think. Apply the Word to your prayers, continue fasting, continue going to Church and continue walking up righteously. But make sure you say those words each day. Make sure you take the time to let Christ know you are trusting in Him no matter what. Soon, you will see the manifestation of your prayers. God will answer you in such a way that you know it was nobody and no thing except Almighty God who came into your life and moved things around in your favor. Most importantly, do not confuse delay for disregard. Just because it hasn’t happened now doesn’t mean it won’t happen ever.

Have hope in the Lord. Have faith that He will answer.