My wife, Wendy, and I love to speak together to groups. We have modeled what is possible for a husband and wife (or any two people) in pulpit ministry. Even though not every couple is called to minister in this way, many are. It is an effective way to bring greater insight and power into a presentation or sermon.
One of the things we have discovered while we speak together is that we often receive fresh revelation while we are listening to the other on stage. It is not infrequent for one of us to say something new and profound that becomes a big part of our teaching.
Once, when we were speaking about hope, I heard Wendy say these words, “Faith without hope is weird.” It was funny but it also jolted me. Even though I did not fully comprehend what she was saying, I knew this insight would help us communicate the need for hope in a stronger way.
As we have meditated on the difference between faith and hope, we have developed these conclusions:
Faith is specific, while hope is more general
Faith says, “This is going to happen,” while hope says, “I don’t know what is going to happen, but good things are coming.”
Hope is the safety net for when what we believe for in faith does not happen
Faith without hope makes our faith unhealthy. Faith-people who do not value or increase their hope will:
Have difficulty overcoming disappointment
Need a very narrow set of circumstances to thrive
Struggle to be enthusiastic and joyful while waiting for prayers to be answered or waiting for promises or desires to manifest
Focus more on getting something than being something
Tend to be unable to see what God is doing now because of a fixation on what they want to see happen and what they are believing will happen
Focus more on doors that are seemingly closed than those that are open
Tend to make declarations ritualistically and without much joy
Here are my definitions of hope:
Hope is the belief that the future will be better than the present, and I have the power to help make it so
Hope is the confident, joyful expectancy of good coming
Hope is an overall optimistic attitude about the future based on the goodness and promises of God
Hope is one of the evidences that we are prospering in our souls and delighting ourselves in the Lord.
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2).
“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
As we take this further, let’s look at this again: Faith-people who do value hope tend to make declarations ritualistically and without much joy.
I so value the power of declarations (faith statements about what is true even if it is not yet in our experience). They have changed my life. I have written books about it, preached on it, and continue to be fascinated by the power of our words. Truly, we are not to only use our words to describe our lives but to change our lives. Even so, if we declare without delighting in the Lord, we will not find our declarations as powerful as they could be. We will have bypassed activating the needed power of hope and soul prosperity in our faith.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). As we close, here is the Backlund expanded version of this verse: “Enjoy yourself in the Lord. Maintain excitement concerning what He will do. Relish in His goodness. Revel in the adventure of walking with Him instead of working for Him. Savor every moment with Him. Delight in His unconditional love. Get over condemnation, unworthiness, excessive introspection, and false humility; and become like a little child in a candy shop with Him.”
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Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.