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Unseen Hope

By: Bodť Adeboyejo

There is a popular expression among Christians that sounds good or biblical but is not biblical. An expression, I believe, even I have used in the past. The expression is: "Iím believing God for something." But often times when we say that we are believing God for something, the something is usually tangible. Like a car, a house, a job, a mate, etc. So, itís not uncommon to hear Christians say, "Iím believing God for a car," "Iím believing God for a house," "Iím believing God for a mate," etc.

When Christians say that they are, Ďbelieving God for somethingí what they are saying is that they are hoping or trusting or even out rightly expecting God to give them what they are believing Him for. But is God obligated to deliver what we believe Him for, especially if that thing is temporal or perishable? Can one believe God for a car, a house, a job, a mate, etc?

Well, Romans 8:24-25 answers this question for us:

For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

This verse says that Ďhope that is seen is not hope.í That is, if you can see it (with your natural eyes) you donít have to hope (or believe God) for it. So, since a car, a house, a job, a mate, etc., fall under the category of things that we can see with the physical eyes, they also automatically fall under the category of the things we cannot and should not Ďbelieve God for.í

But you say, "Yeah, but if I donít have it yet, doesnít that mean that I canít see it yet? Therefore, itís alright to believe God for it until I have it. For instance, if I donít have what Iím hoping for yet, then I canít see it. Not until I have it do I see it."

The passage above didnít say that if you donít have it yet, even though your version of the Bible may say have. More on this point in the second article: What You See is Not What You Have. Rather, it says that if you can see it; i.e., visible to the naked eye, or even so, perceived by human sensory organs, you donít have to hope for it. So, if you can see, touch, taste, smell and/or hear it, itís not something you should believe God for.

Perhaps, you say again, "Okay, but the verse above says hope not believe." True. But look up the word believe or belief, and see if itís used anywhere in the Bible as it relates to things or something within the ability of Man. It is always used regarding the spiritual or supernatural, i.e., outside human realm or ability.

Now, I can somewhat understand why we tend to hope or believe God for something tangible. After all, we are human; and we live in a material world. So, all we know and can relate to is the physical. But where the problem lies is when we tend to transfer that understanding to how we relate to God; and we are always thinking about tangible or perishable things, and not spiritual or eternal things.

But thatís not biblical hope. Biblical hope refers to something spiritual or eternal, not something natural or earthly. That is, something everlasting and not temporal. For instance, we hope for heaven, God, eternal life, Jesus Ė the unseen.

So, biblical hope is based on the unseen, not in the seen. Thatís why Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 14:17 that "Öthe kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Therefore, biblical hope is hope in God, not hope for things. That is, you believe God, period! Not believe God for something.

Consequently, the word hope in the Bible, especially in the New Testament, is used in relation to God or spiritual things. For instance, youíll see phrases like: "Hope of salvation," Hope of glory," "Hope of the Gospel," "Hope of righteousness," "Hope of the promise (of God), "Hope of eternal life," etc. Never is hope used in relation to money or tangible things. Hope is always in the Lord or God Ė the unseen!

Now, because hope is in God or the Lord, and not on things, you can ALWAYS expect what you hope for, especially if itís spiritual and unseen! For instance, salvation or eternal life. So, if you believe God for salvation, you can be sure to get it. For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved." -- Romans 10:13

But if you hope or believe God for a car, a house, a job, a mate, a child, etc., you may or may not get it. God is not obligated to give you what you want just because you believe Him for it. He is not obligated to deliver, especially when what you believe Him for has no eternal value whatsoever. God is not obligated to your belief. He is obligated to His Word. He is not obligated to earthly, perishable things. But to heavenly, eternal things.

"Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." Ė 1 John 5:14

"Godís obligation to mankind is not to provide for his whims and caprices."

I donít know how we came about the expression. But youíll never find anywhere in the Bible where anyone believed God for something, especially something tangible or perishable. People either believed God Ė period. Or they didnít. The Old Testament Patriarchs mentioned in Hebrews 11 just believed God. They didnít believe Him for something. They just believed Him! For instance, Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness (Romans 4:3).

Godís obligation to mankind is not to provide for his whims and caprices. In other words, God is not obligated to provide for Man what Man can provide for himself, like cars, houses, jobs, mates, etc. Rather, Godís obligation to mankind is to provide what he cannot provide for himself -- things outside the physical realm. Like salvation, righteousness, holiness, etc. God operates outside the realm of Man. That is, outside human limitations.

Therefore, if Man can do it, God doesnít have to do it. Godís ability begins where Manís ability stops. Put another way, you really do not need God for anything you can get in the natural or even so, what unbelievers (who donít know or acknowledge God) can get also. If you do, then unbelievers wonít have such things.

When God made the universe, He made sure that it was self-sustaining; so much so that it does not need Him to continue or thrive. He finished the work; i.e., completed it, such that it could continue on its own. Therefore, every thing in the natural realm is available to both the just and unjust. To both sinners and saints. That is why "ÖHe makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." Matthew 5:45

Anything unbelievers have access to you donít have to believe God for! Itís in the earth realm for you to obtain. You can get it the same way unbelievers get it. If it is a car or a house, you save to buy one. Or make your credit good enough to get a loan. If itís a job, do all it takes to qualify, then apply for the job. If it is a mate, work on yourself on becoming Mr. or Miss Right, and the right mate will come along at the right time.

Now, does that mean that you donít have to seek Godís guidance in order to get these material things? No! You still seek His guidance to make the right decision, which is different from believing Him for these things. When we say that we Ďbelieve God for something,í we are saying that we expect God to do those things for us. But when we seek His guidance about an area, we are looking up to Him to help us make the right decision or lead us on the right path so that we may remain in His will.

So, seeking God for guidance is different from believing God for something. Seeking God for guidance is simply not leaning on your own understanding, but acknowledging Him in all your ways, so that He may direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Needless to say, for too long, we Christians have cheapened the things of God to tangible, material and perishable things. Itís about time we stopped that. Thereís more to God than material things. God didnít save you to give you what money can buy. Neither did He save you with perishable things, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:18-19)

And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure - 1 John 3:3

 

To be continued...For the other half of the story read What You See is Not What You Have

 

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