The ‘Taking’ of Faith

by Lester Young

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for…” (Hebrews 11:1). Today, let’s talk about ‘now’ – you know, as in “Not now, but right now!” But first, I think we should start off by taking a slightly more than cursory look at the ‘Now’ that’s sitting over there at the beginning of that very familiar verse of Scripture. If you’d never read that verse before and this were your first time, how would your brain naturally tend to classify that first word ‘Now’? Would you consider it to be an identifier of a specific moment in time (i.e., right now), or would it more naturally seem to be one of those ‘continuational’ words that are grammatically classified as particles? Replacing it temporarily with others of the same class should clarify what I mean, as in these examples: “So, faith is the substance of things hoped for…”; or, “Moreover, faith is the substance of things hoped for…”

By the way, the Greek dictionary does indeed identify the ‘Now’ of Hebrews 11:1 as a particle and not any particular ‘time’ marker, so it’s rightly used in that fashion. Nevertheless, the other proposed usage I spoke of – as a time pointer – is in no way wrong. How can I say this? Because used in such a way, that word ‘Now’ actually becomes an integral part and very descriptive modifier of the word ‘faith’ which follows it, thereby creating a new term: ‘Now-faith.’ The name itself is just packed full of powerful revelation knowledge.

What is ‘faith’? Well, other than being one of the three most powerful and enduring forces in existence (the others being ‘hope’ and ‘love’ [1 Corinthians 13:13]), faith can be very comprehensively and simply described as just believing, and it’s really no more complicated than that. However, to get an even deeper understanding of its essence, it helps to contrast faith with another member of that Big Three: namely, ‘hope.’

Hope is defined as ‘confident, earnest expectation’ – and, of course, the concept of expectation always points to some future event, as Romans 8:24 states: “If we already have something, we don’t need to hope (or expect) for it” (New Living Translation). However, faith’s ‘time setting’ is very different, always being in the right now, as the Lord Jesus declared: “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it (right now, already, at the time you’ve prayed), and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24 NIV paraphrased). It’s also vital to know that the Greek word lambano you see translated as ‘received’ there carries a connotation of action rather than passiveness, and it literally means ‘to get hold of’ or ‘to take.’

So then, what does this tell us about the term ‘now-faith’? Well, we can see that it goes a step further in clearly showing the essential character of faith, that it is indeed right now! Now-faith speaks with this attitude: “As soon as I prayed to the Father, as far as I’m concerned it’s done! (1 John 5:14-15) I reach out with my faith and I take, I possess, I have the thing I’ve asked for – right now – even though I may not be able to see or feel it (Romans 4:19-20). Why? Because I judge God – the One Who has promised – to be faithful to His Word and to me (Romans 4:21; Hebrews 11:11).

Faith – real faith, according to the way God says it works; in other words, ‘now-faith’ – takes and possesses what you’re hoping for now. Right now! It doesn’t wait for or require visual evidence before it starts jumping up and down in joy screaming, “I have it!!” Now-faith takes and appropriates it right now, calling the matter a done deal! It’s not at all double-minded about it; first thinking, “Yes, amen, I’ve got it!” and then three days later second-guessing itself because nothing’s showed up or seems to have changed at all in the natural (Mark 4:16-17). God can’t get anything to someone who’s wavering back and forth like that – in and out of faith about what he or she believes (James 1:6-8). Honestly, I would venture a guess that that’s a major cause for so many faith ‘failures’ and prayers not producing desired results in the Body of Christ – oh yes, the writer of this piece also included.

If you’re waiting to see or feel something change in the natural before you believe you’ve received it, you’re not operating in faith – at best, you’re dabbling around in ‘hope.’ But ‘hope’ isn’t the substance (or, the building material) of things hoped for – faith is. If you try to keep your faith’s ‘time dial’ set for some point in the future, that future will never arrive – because the future is ‘hope’s’ domain. Hope provides a blueprint for faith to build from, but faith always builds upon and calls the construction done now! Faith’s place is always in the present. That’s why it’s now-faith – because it takes it now!

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