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“That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:12).
Many of the promises of God are not automatically bestowed upon his children. Although these promises are given to us because of God’s grace, there is still things we must do in order to obtain them. Hebrews 6:12 shows us two important attributes that we must possess in order to “inherit” the promises that God has for us. Those attributes are faith and patience. Hebrew 11:1 defines faith as “The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Faith is not just an emotion or an abstract concept. Faith is a spiritual substance. The Lord consistently expressed the concept of faith in terms that indicate that faith is a measurable material. “And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.” (Luke 17:5-6). Understanding what faith is helps us to understand how it works. As God’s children, we can receive faith from him.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17). God gives us faith through his word. Faith for a particular situation comes from God’s word on that situation. If we have a need in our lives, we must seek God’s word that relates to that need. As we meditate on God’s word, our faith grows and is developed. Faith is honed through its use. Faith is much more than wishing for something, it is a spiritual reality of something that has not yet manifested in the physical. The mature Christian understands that what we are standing in faith for does not always instantaneously manifest, this is where patience comes in.
Look at the context of Hebrews 6:12, the patience that this scripture refers to is not a passive patience. The scripture tells us not to be slothful or lazy but to have patience. This is an active patience, something is being done in almost a methodical manner until a desired result is achieved. Imagine a lumberjack patiently chopping away at a tree until it falls. He is not simply waiting, he is actively doing something. This is the picture that the Lord is painting for us, we need to consistently utilize our faith until we receive his promise. This means that we consistently pray, confess, and follow the Lord’s instructions until we receive from him.
As the scripture affirms, we need to actively pursue the promises of God. Our faith is released for his promises, and we patiently apply this spiritual force until we receive the material manifestation of what God desires to give us. We must move beyond wishing into true faith. The promises of God will materialize if we are faithful and do not give up. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9).