Desire -> Hope -> Faith -> Knowledge

I am on the cusp of my 40th birthday, and I am just now understanding principles I was taught growing up. While grasping this topic may come naturally for some, for me, the details never quite made sense chronologically. Now I’m finally starting to get it…

This applies to any new skill one wants to learn. In the “holy books” it’s taught to be used to come to a knowledge of God, and it certainly works for that. If I may propose a quick scenario to help illustrate how these things work, because I personally learn best from analogies. I like to pick on my youngest, Oliver, because he is in the prime observing age, as far as discovering things for the first time, and learning new skills. The skill we will look at today is that of “drinking out of a cup!” As you may imagine, or may have even witnessed, this can be a scary thing; like when they tip a cup onto themselves that’s filled with sticky root-beer, or freezing ice-cold water!

Let’s break down the steps:

1. The first thing the baby needs to acquire this “ability”, is a desire to want to learn. Once this desire grows big enough, an attempt can be made. For now, baby observes big people drinking out of cups, they seem to leave them laying around all over the place. If baby is thirsty, why not use one of these more efficient beverage dispensers and partake of these yummy ’spicy drinks’? “Ive even seen slightly older siblings drink from them, surely I could too.” Maybe some big people have even helped baby drink from a cup before, and baby now feels ready to make the attempt.

2. Next, comes hope. Once the desire is big enough, and genuine, you gotta get off your butt, stop daydreaming, and start doing. The arms and legs correspond with ‘Power’ because you utilize power to work towards anything you do. In this example, this can look like an attempt to grab a cup. Standing up, holding onto a table, reaching. Keeping an eye out for the opportunities when siblings leave cups down low enough for an attempt to be made. When the opportunities do come, slowly baby is learning all of the variables that one needs to consider. Glass cups weigh a lot more, and hurt when dropped on toes! Learning to gauge how much force to pick a cup up with, as some are heavy, nearly full of liquid, and require much effort; while others are nearly empty, and picking them up with too much force expels liquid that WAS in the cup, into babies face. (Ive witnessed this a time or two). This can be a very frustrating time, and it may take several dozen attempts before the faith comes.

3. Third in this list, is the mysterious word… Faith. If only you had the faith of a mustard seed….

“Well, I do, don’t I? I mean… I’m here, aren’t I? Doesn’t that mean something?”

In this analogy faith comes once an attempt is met with some level of success. Maybe whilst splashing babies face with bright red kool-aid, some droplets land on babies tongue, and drip into babies mouth, and that was yum! Faith comes by feeling proud when you finally start to get it, when something starts to feel a little less awkward. Faith, desire, and hope continue to build on each other over time. A little faith can re-animate the desire and hope, and so, with some dedication, mastery begins to feel like a possibility. If baby could journal, the entries may read something like these during this phase:

“finally got some in my mouth, and the rest went in my face. It was shocking, but oh so rewarding. I wasn’t expecting the ice cubes.”

“now we are getting somewhere! I’ve now tasted 3 distinct big people flavors! Water, juice, and cold milk. I prefer warm milk. Getting better at spilling. Maybe 1/4th if the liquid remained in the cup before It got to my mouth.”

“Getting more like 1/2 a cup to mouth now, learning to manage heavier glasses with two hands, and brace myself when lifting. Spilled a whole 2-liter of orange soda down my shirt and had to take a long bath…”

“ouch! Soda in the nose does NOT feel good! I miss my sippy cup.”

4. Lastly, knowledge. Knowledge comes when baby no longer even needs to think about it, and it becomes second nature. Baby sees a glass, walks over to it, and delivers beverage to mouth, only spilling just a little bit. Still not perfect, baby now requires little hope or faith because those have been replaced with knowledge. The flow from desire to knowledge is a seamless event, as easy as being thirsty to getting a drink. It came from overcoming the doubts, in small grueling steps over time. There is no more frustration, no more wondering “Will I ever figure this out?!” One just knows.

Hopefully me admitting I am slow to learn this stuff, and laying it out this way, will be helpful to one of you as well. No faith comes without work.

“faith, if it has not works, it is dead, being alone. Therefore will you know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead and cannot save you.”

Now we can see that faith without works is like going from desire straight to knowledge. I think we’ve all done this before… one time I had the idea I could run up a tree, backflip, and land it; because I’d seen it done on YouTube. Can you see how attempting this without the hope and faith steps could be dangerous?

“I could do that”

Let’s just say I failed. I laid on the ground winded for a few minutes, and never attempted it again. That is just not the way. It is a slow tedious process, but one that most definitely works.


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