What is the difference between faith and wishful thinking?
The dictionary defines faith as “complete trust or confidence in someone or something”. Wishful thinking is “feeling or expressing strong desire or hope for something not easily attainable”.
Complete trust and confidence vs feeling and strong desire.
Sadly, 'religion' conditions us to exercise faith devoid of feeling and strong desire. Jesus referred to that when He said, “You worship Me with your lips, but your heart is far from Me”. (Mark 7:6 paraphrased) Our heart is not in it! Neither feeling nor strong feeling is attached.
Another difference. Wishful thinking sees the object of desire as something not easily attainable. Faith sees the same object with complete confidence, even though, in fact, it may be not easily attainable. Faith, however, dispels limiting beliefs lurking in the inner recesses of the heart, replacing them with complete trust.
How do we transition from wishful thinking which leaves us with unfulfilled pipe dreams to faith which moves mountains?
An important key is prophetic act--a simple action that seeds our mind and heart with confidence that grows, as we nurture it, into the manifestation of the very thing for which we hope.
The following story illustrates.
A severe drought held a small town in a stranglehold. Prayers were lifted toward heaven in hope of rain, but the heavens remained brass.
At a meeting of pastors and lay leaders, an elderly saint announced, “Two things prevent the answer to our prayers, faith and unity. We must urge our congregations to believe. United and sincere, our prayers will be answered.”
The elderly pastor proposed a date at which all the believers in the community would gather for united prayer. “I assure you,” he continued, “if we come together in faith and unity, no one will leave that prayer meeting without getting drenched!”
For the next weeks, sermons, Bible studies and prayer meetings throughout the community focussed on faith and unity.
On the designated day, believers from every denomination gathered on the community field for the special prayer meeting. Anxious faces, haggard from the affects of unbearable drought, turned to the podium as the service commenced.
Anticipation mounted as the elderly pastor rose to address the crowd. His eyes slowly scanned the men, women and children standing before him. A hush settled upon the multitude.
The sage's countenance fell; he shook his head in dismay. “This will never work,” he muttered. “The rain will not come.”
The stunned crowd watched him turn and slowly leave the stage. In shock, the chairman of the meeting questioned, “But brother, don't you see all are here united in purpose?”
“No,” sighed the seasoned saint, “It is true, they have all come hoping for the rain; but as I survey the crowd, not one has even brought a raincoat.”
A simple prophetic act initiates the process whereby wishful thinking is transformed into faith. Faith is that attitude in which we are “confident of what we hope for, convinced about things we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 CJB)