I like to avoid the word Faith. It seems vague, inconsistent, and pretty out of reach. I have used it to explain that I have beliefs. I have read the Faith chapter in Hebrews and have even had it read to me. Faith. It is strangely ambiguous in my little mind.
While going through the beginning part of Hebrews 11, I was struck by how direct and literal the definition for faith was laid out. There was no room to imply that it was defined. It clearly starts out with "Now faith is...." I had to stop my mind from drifting into philosophical definitions and applications, and just read.
... the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
That's it. Where I got all befuddled I am not sure. The words substance and evidence imply that there is something solid and tangible, yet the words "hoped" and "not seen" clearly define that we cannot visualize what faith is representing. We can see the faith, but we can't see who it is technically working for.
I wanted to understand hope a little bit more so I turned to Romans 8:24 (a link detailed in my study Bible). It too gave a clear definition of the word hope, which can be vague as well.
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?
Here it is defined that hope cannot be seen. That what we see is not something hoped for. Joining these two words together creates a potential to understand how faith works. We cannot necessarily see hope, but faith we can! Faith is what we see when we want to obtain something out of reach. It is the action and demeanor we possess when hope drives us to our goal.
The more we hope (go for something unseen) the more faith stands out in the crowd as evidence. When we have our minds focused on things we cannot yet see (God or eternal life) our faith is what shows that we are headed on towards the prize. It is what shows others that there a thing called hope (something not seen).
Wow. It definitely is difficult to discuss something so abstract or even unseen! I hope that in my attempt I have shed a little bit more light on what it is to have hope exemplified through faith. Faith attracts others to the hope we have as Christians.
What is is it that you hope for? Is it unseen?