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Life at its best: Hope is different than faith

Nov. 25, 2011 at 5:25 a.m.

Jim Graff

By Jim Graff

As a kid, I loved visiting the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. It's an amazing place filled with all kinds of pictures and memorabilia of some of my favorite football heroes. I was inspired to see men whose dedication and determination to win left a lasting legacy.

In the Bible, we find another "hall of fame" not dedicated to football, of course, but to faith. It's a chapter about heroes of the faith who remained dedicated and determined to see God's promises brought to fruition in their lives.

Hebrews 6:12 tells us we are to "imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." It's not enough just to identify with these men and women; we have to imitate them and their faith in God. Why? Because God has incredible hopes for our lives that can only be fulfilled through continued faith in him.

See, hope is different than faith. I like to refer to hope as the "goose bump stage." It's the stage where we get excited about the possibilities God has in store for us. Maybe we see the thriving marriage and family that he can bring about or maybe the successful professional life that he has in store.

While hope is the exciting stage of possibilities, faith is the enduring stage of perseverance. It's the "gut it out stage," where we work with God until we see the hopes he has for us become a reality.

Joseph is one of those heroes mentioned in Hebrews 11 who understood both hope and faith. God had a plan to bring Joseph to a place of leadership so that he could one day preserve not only his family, but his entire country from devastation. As a result, God gave Joseph dreams about this plan - dreams where he saw his 11 brothers bowing down to him.

Well, as you might imagine, when Joseph shared these dreams with his brothers, they weren't too thrilled. In fact, these guys became so angry with him that they sold him as a slave to merchants who were headed to Egypt. But this was just another step in getting Joseph closer to God's dream.

You see, it wasn't long until Joseph wound up as a servant in the home of Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's highest-ranking officials. Joseph learned plenty of leadership lessons there. God was preparing him for the position that he would one day have.

Don't get me wrong, Joseph had plenty of setbacks. He was lied about, betrayed, imprisoned and forgotten before he ever became the Prime Minister of Egypt like God had promised. But he trusted God and persevered.

In Romans 8, we're promised that God will work all things together for our good as we love him and stay called to his purposes. So, let's recognize that what's happening in us is more important than what's happening around us. Let's be people of faith who persevere and see promises fulfilled.

Jim Graff is the senior pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. faithfamilyvictoria.com.

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