Walking by faith, not sight, is difficult to be sure. I think of a tightrope walker crossing a high wire with great focus and extreme balance. Each step is deliberate and sure. Eyes are fixed on the goal and not distracted by the great view. Wobbles are quickly corrected before they get out of hand because they are keenly aware of the gravity of their walk. Of course, falling is always a possibility. This is true for believers in our walk of faith. The peril of falling is always with us, especially when we stop to take in the sights of this world. Many times we don’t even feel the wobble that starts back and forth between our will, and that of the Holy Spirit in us. Before we know it, we’re toppling over. This is why knowing what it means to “walk in faith” from God’s Word is so important.
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
Perhaps my tightrope illustration isn’t the best description of a believer’s walk of faith. Our faith is NOT a balancing act. The Bible is very clear that we are not called to create a balance between the world’s ways and God’s, or the flesh and Spirit. Our primary and most important task as a believer, is to give in to God’s will completely. We are called to be sanctified, or set apart unto God, and not intertwined with the world or our old nature. This is the walk of faith that we began at our salvation.
Also, a perfect walk of faith is something we can not master in this life. It is a minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day struggle to stay engaged, alert, and focused on Jesus. Unfortunately, I end up walking by sight more often than I’d like to admit, especially when life’s storms are blowing. Maybe you and I are in the same boat? Like Peter on his short “walk” on a tumultuous sea, we take our eyes off our only hope and savior. Instead, we fix our sight on whatever wave of suffering and uncertainty bears down on us. Walking this way puts us underwater just like it did with Peter.
And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
The Provision for Faith
Jesus stands at the door of hearts and knocks, ready to begin a personal relationship with any person who by faith opens. This first step in our walk of faith, our belief, is never forced on us by God, and is only possible because of His merciful provision.
Our walk of faith then, starts with a simple faith step. A step that is only able to happen in the centrality of Christ, and his work on the cross for all. God’s ultimate provision for us, offered to all people, is the Good News of the cross. The moment we believe, God demolishes sin’s grip and builds a new habitation for His Spirit. This is our spiritual birth, and it comes with an immediate adoption into the family of God, and an indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
One of the wonderful things the Holy Spirit does in us is to remind us continually that God sees us now through His Son AS adopted sons and daughters. The Spirit also, provides new motivation as our helper and instructor in righteousness. Each day we are prompted to take advantage of this new opportunity to diligently equip ourselves with biblical and spiritual understanding. Thereby, God grows our faith.
What has God really done for us in Christ? Understanding the answer to this question begins to blossom in us as we leave worldly views of faith behind. We exercise new spiritual muscles, and begin walking differently in this world, in faith, as God’s Word is being enlightened by the Spirit in us.
Do not not expect a “short, easy hike”. This was never promised by God and there are rabbit trails and traps along the way! Mostly of our own making.
the trap of worldly Faith
Faith is attached to many things as we go through our lives. These can be everyday things, or big lifetime things. Our worldly faith is generally based on the observations we make and experiences we have. It would be more accurate to describe our worldly faith as a kind of tentative trust. Like when we put faith in the driver of a car to get us somewhere safely. As the passenger we observe that the driver appears confident in their ability as they pull away from the curb. On the road, our driver follows traffic laws and looks at ease. Because of what we are seeing, we believe this person is a good driver, so our faith in that grows. However, If someday we are on the road with them and are in an accident, our trust may well falter. We may lose faith in their ability. Such is worldly faith that can be lost in an instant. Trust is hard to gain in this life, but very easy to lose. Worldly faith is pretty wishy washy as we can all testify to.
It is not a surprise that the world believes biblical faith is blind. “Seeing is believing” right? It’s natural for people to truly trust only what they see with their own eyes. We believers can unintentionally fall into a trap of a “blind faith” worldly mindset. It is all around us, and sadly, is also how many Christian parents raise their children. They pass on this wishy washy faith because the world values “relative reasoning” over real faith. The world puts great value and pursues the “seen” things of this world over the “unseen” things of God. The world shows contempt and will ridicule anyone who does not follow this pattern.
The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.
How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?
Whether money, career, possessions, health, science, knowledge, governments, or whatever, people consider these as the most worthy objects of faith. People go “all in” for such pursuits putting their faith in anything but God, and seeking the praise of men. In turn, they believe Christians have no basis for putting any amount of faith in God, something unseen and unable to be proven, so they think.
“Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith.
In contrast, as believers, our life’s experiences and observations should be processed through the illumination of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. As such, we can see clearly, or at least we should, that earthly things are not to be the primary object or focus of our faith.
Even though most worldly pursuits are certainly not bad in themselves, they will not matter at the end of your life as much as your pursuit of Godliness. God does not really care much if you have money, own nice things, have sport skills, are as smart as Einstein, or live in a great country. God only cares about what is in your heart, does it contain His life? And, If it does, where is the spiritual fruit?
the triumph of faith
The triumph of faith begins at our salvation. After which, believers, with opening eyes and ears to spiritual truths, begin a journey of understanding that brings God’s truth ever more into focus each day. We see His works before us, in all that is good. Because of this, we have an assurance that our faith in God, and the Bible, is not blind. God is real, His testimonies are true, and He really wants all people to know Him. God is actively making Himself known in His creation, His Word, and by His Spirit.
We are reminded to walk in faith by God in His Word, many times, and in many ways, over and over. So we know, that God knows our struggle is real. However, along with these admonitions, God gives us promises that He will be helping us. He has also shown us in His Word how He helped others in their walk of faith.
Then the Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you.”
Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”
No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.
Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
God is promising us triumphant victory in our walk of faith. But we must be seeking it. The help we should first pray for, is like that of the father who sought help for his inflicted son.
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
Walking rightly with God should lead us to consistently ADMIT, and SUBMIT. We admit that God is asking us to do something impossible in our flesh. God alone makes our walk possible. He has graciously provided for us in our weakness, however, we enjoy His provision for our daily walk only when we submit to the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. Admitting and Submitting is very hard because of the remnants of our prideful heart. We still want to take things under our own control, be the boss of our life. But even the pride we stubbornly hang onto, God is gracious to help us overcome. Starting from our first baby steps of faith…God gives us “every spiritual blessing” in Jesus Christ, to rise above our pride and “little faith”, to walk above the stormy waters of life. Because of God’s love for us, we are able to begin to walk in the fullness of the faith He calls us to.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
Again, overcoming faith is possible only because of who our faith is in, and what God has provided for us. Here is the root of triumph, God’s provision in the person and work of Jesus Christ! Because we are in Christ, not only is triumph available in life, we will participate in Christ’s triumph over death.
the foundation of faith
Jesus spent much time on Earth laying down a foundation of what having faith means, and would look like after the cross, to his 12 disciples. At that time it was a nearly exclusive message to the disciples for a very important reason. Though they did not know it yet, they were being prepared to go into the World to spread the good news of the Gospel. This was God’s plan, yet, leading up to, and even after the cross, the disciples were constantly struggling to understand the messages Christ had given them. The reality of what Jesus was telling them was very different from what they had expected from their Messiah. They were full of doubt and worry as we all are at times. Jesus is always a Good Shepard however…and very patiently led them.
Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
Jesus made this statement in the Gospel of John right after telling Peter that he would deny him 3 times soon. He said it to reassure Peter, and to remind him that what he was about to do on the cross was going to provide a way to God the Father. Up to his point Jesus’s disciples had not grasped what God’s plan was going to be through Jesus. But all along Jesus was planting spiritual seeds, wisdom from above, that would sprout when the Holy Spirit indwelled them. God’s plan was to enable the disciples to begin their extraordinary walks of faith, which would ultimately bring God’s message to the whole world.
“If you love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
Yes the disciples struggled to understand, and it took time, but they eventually did begin their walk as God’s apostles. Today, how we walk in our faith, is directly related to a right understanding of all God has done and asks us to do. Like the apostles before us, now we are being called to be living in the Spirit, and growing in the understanding that only the unseen lasts forever and is worthy of faith.
Though God is unseen, we have sufficient evidence, and experience to know that God works his will out in our World. Our evidence, and experience as believers, contradict the world’s belief that biblical faith is blind. We do not have “I hope so” faith. While we have a wonderful hope, we also have access with our salvation, to a deep sea of knowledge and evidence through the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. Jesus Christ and the Apostles call all believers, to grow in, and be witnesses of our Faith wherever they go. The Holy Spirit gives witness to our Spirit, of the unseen things of God. This all works together so that we will be able to give an answer to those who ask. God wants everyone to know of Him through Jesus!
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
the reasons for faith
There is a great cloud of witnesses that came before us. Look at the letter to the Hebrews and the wonderful, “by faith” chapter. In this passage, amazing faith is recounted, having been demonstrated by people like you and me. They are unlikely heroes of faith. Unlikely, because they included a murderer, various liars, backstabbers, a prostitute, and adulterers. People that most would regard as unfit to be lifted up as great examples. This is proving that God can and does change lives, and that God uses ordinary people. Our great cloud of witnesses also points to the fact that faith in God is not in vain. Every promise of God throughout history has been met, and exceeded, by Him to these witnesses and to us.
The passage opens with a verse we have all heard and have probably quoted many times….
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
In this verse we need to pay special attention to the words: substance and evidence.
SUBSTANCE -(Hupostasis) A setting or placing under, put under, substructure, foundation.
EVIDENCE -(Elegchos) A proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested, conviction.
So we can restate the verse in this way , “our faith in God is the foundation of what we hope for, and also, the proof of what we cannot see”. What then is hoped for, and what is unseen?
Suppose, using the “wisdom” of our day, I was to say the following…
I could in turn ask what is more delusional, the statement that “Nothing caused a big bang from which everything came into existence” or a statement of faith like this, “An all powerful, loving God, used His creative power to speak all things into existence”? Both could be regarded as delusional were it not for Biblical truth, which is both the substance and evidence that testifies to us that the later statement is the true statement.
Is the universe and everything in it evidence that SOMETHING or SOMEONE created it, or that it came from NOTHING. The atheist cannot explain how the universe came into existence, but Paul does an excellent job in Romans 1 verse 20.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Take time to read all of Hebrews Chapter 11. It is a blesssing to be surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses! Also, consider and remember the following verses as well if tempted to cede any ground to human wisdom and our “must see it first to believe it” world. We have so many reasons to share with others as to why we are on our path of faith. Our highest calling is to be used by God to reach a “stubborn and perverse” generation so that others will begin a walk of faith.
For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
We have seen that God has given us both the tools and the reasons for our walk of faith. All that is left, is for us to walk it well, and to share it well.
the CONCLUSION of faith
I must confess that the current state of the world in this year of 2020, combined with several personal losses, have knocked my own walk of faith down to a slow crawl. This blog has been difficult to write due to my own struggles. I realized the irony when writing the following…
“God has graciously provided for us in our weakness, but we only enjoy His provision for our daily walk when we submit to the Holy Spirit and God’s Word.”
I found that I was not doing the admitting and submitting I should have been doing. God knows my every care, and has through these difficult times, provided both little and big blessings that I am just now beginning to see.
If you’re a believer, I pray that wherever you find yourself today, you will see how God has worked, and is working in your walk of faith. That you will also know you are able to walk above the waves of your circumstances in a Godly walk of faith, that will in turn point people to Christ. Remember, we are not orphans, our faith in the “unseen” is not blind, and we know that Jesus, who we proclaim, is both the author and the finisher of our faith!!
Walk in confidence, face the future without fear, and also, look forward to the day when our walk of faith, becomes sight!