Yesterday, I jokingly referred to Hebrews 11 as the Hall of faith because we read account after account of some of the most noteworthy acts of faith by God’s sons and daughters. Through their testimonies we come to better understand the magnitude of actively walking in faith with God.

But without faith it is impossible to walk with God and please Him, for whoever comes near to God must necessarily believe that God exists and that He rewards those who earnestly and diligently seek Him. Heb 11:6, Amp

You see, God desires our faith because faith is our functional engagement and participation WITH Him. It’s what we were created for, to engage, fellowship and actively partner with our Creator

For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 1 Cor. 3:9

Here in 1 Corinthians 3:9 Paul is referencing how he and Apollos are coworkers with Christ. Paul says he plants the seeds of the gospel and Apollos waters it in encouragement and then God grows it. Paul is providing an illustration of how he and Apollos are working in faith along WITH God based on the hope of promises God had provided (Paul’s promise is seen in part in Acts 9:1-19)

But for us to walk with the Lord and work in faith alongside Him we must first have something to tie our faith to. We need a promise from God, and those promises from God are our firm hope, it is the anchor to which our faith is tied to.

But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way. For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.” And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil. Heb 6:9-19

God lovingly yearns to bless us with great things in our lives and He desires to have us work in faith alongside Him concerning those things. But He also realizes that we need to have a desire or motivation (HOPE) that fuels us into faith filled works with Him. So, He gives us a promise for our heart (a desire).

Now this promise (or heart desire) He gives us can come through scripture or perhaps through something He’s shared by way of prayer, visions, dreams, or in some other fashion. What is of greater importance than how we receive the promise is WHO it is that made the promise. God!!! And that’s what we see here in Hebrews 6 as the author says God gives us His promises which is His oath. And there is no oath greater as it impossible for God to lie. So, when God gives us HIS promise, we can confidently take hold of it as our expectant hope as it is now the anchor of our heart’s desire (our soul). From that anchor our faith can tether itself and begin to go to work.

Now I think we can all agree that a promise from God is an AMAZING gift. Also, the opportunity to work alongside Him in faith is an AMAZING blessing. That said, when God presents amazing gifts and opportunities, we MUST be diligent to properly nurture and protect them. In Hebrews 6 we read a subtle yet critical warning about seeing the promise of hope through to its fulfillment.

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
In this scripture we are warned to be DILIGENT, not to be sluggish and to be imitators of people like those found in the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Faith” who displayed great works of faith and tremendous patience. So why do we see this warning in Hebrews 6? Why is it so very critical and why should it be something we take to heart? Well, simply put Hope IS an issue of the heart and if it’s not nurtured and properly protected it can put our soul’s wellbeing in jeopardy.

Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. Prov 4:23

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life. Prov 13:12

To this point we have seen through a substantial amount of scripture that hope is where faith and its works are cultivated, and that God greatly desires our faith. (Here’s yet more scripture to drive that point home)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. Heb 11:1-2

But what happens when our hope appears to be compromised? Well, Proverbs 13:12 gives us one very direct answer, it makes our heart sick. A sick heart is understandable as our hope is a desire of the heart that was planted in us by God through His promises in order to motivate us into works of faith with Him. So, when our heart’s desire seems to have vanished it’s only natural that our heart (soul) would be deeply wounded. Furthermore, if our hope dries up there is nothing for faith to grow from. No hope equals no faith, and no faith separates us from God.

Now there’s a multitude of things that can attack our hope and the most obvious is the enemy of our soul. We know that the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. When God plants a seed of hope in us the enemy wants nothing more than to pluck that seed from the soil of our heart before it can germinate and grow into faith. Faith has roots and it’s much easier to pluck a seed from the ground than it is to pluck something once it has rooted. The enemy’s most common tool for plucking our seed of hope is doubt. He just loves to pull out that dusty old album of doubt and play his number one track “did God really say that?” He will try to convince you that you didn’t hear what you thought you heard or that it meant something different than what you thought it did.

If the enemy can’t deceive you concerning what God said, then he’ll use a myriad of lies and accusations in attempt to pluck your hope. If your hope is for a healing he may say things like “you prayed for healing before. It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now.” Or perhaps he’ll say, “you brought this health issue on yourself through your own bad decisions, you don’t deserve a healing.” Whatever it is that your hope is for, rest assured the enemy has a lie to attack it.

If your hope being bombarded by the enemy isn’t difficult enough there’s also the voices of friends and family who love to weigh in on YOUR situations. These folks along with the enemy have a tendency to point out how the circumstances and conditions you’re facing are in direct contrast to what your hope is about. I can only imagine what Abraham and Sarah’s closest people had to say about them giving birth to a nation at 80 and 90 years old. Or how about Noah’s neighbors as he built an ark and filled it with every animal?

Then there’s the us factor. Much like our friends and family we can often study a situation and begin to draw negative conclusions about what we think is feasible or even fair for that matter. But here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter whether it’s the enemy, our friends, our family, or even ourselves, that is questioning or challenging our hope, because there is NO lie, NO opinion, and NO obstacle that trumps a promise of God. If He said it that settles it.

God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Num 23:19

By no means! Let God be found true though every human being is false and a liar, as it is written, That You may be justified and shown to be upright in what You say and prevail when You are judged by sinful men. Rom 3:4

No matter what man may say and no matter what it may look like in the natural realm we must remember that we are not bound by man or the natural because we serve a supernatural God.

For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Cor 5:7

It’s this verse that we see one of the greatest measures in preserving our hope. When we receive a promise of hope from God we need to quickly begin walking ahead in faith and diligently keep moving forward in faith. As we walk and work in faith with God, He is faithful to nurture our hope.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Rom 15:13

May we all be diligent to keep watch over our hope. Asking questions like, “what am I currently hoping for? What hopes from the past have I seen come to fruition?” (Reminding yourself of His past faithfulness helps grow faith)

“What steps of faith have I taken, or can I take towards my current hope? Have I had thoughts contrary to my hope? If so, are they my thoughts, or thoughts presented by the enemy, or friends and family? And have I been declaring God’s promise as triumphant over ALL those contrary thoughts? Have I found and declared corresponding scripture over my hope? Am I spending some time envisioning the fulfillment of my hope?”

The more our hope stays at the forefront of our mind the harder it is for our hope and faith to be derailed.

For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jer. 29:11, Amp

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord. Ps 27:13-14

The weapons of our warfare are not physical weapons of flesh and blood. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the true knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Cor 10:4-5, Amp

My friends, allow this teaching to go deep within your heart – purpose in your heart daily to keep hope and faith alive in you – until you see the complete fulfillment of ALL God has promised you! KP