What does faith look like?
Some of the more moving and recurring messages in the Bible has been centered on God’s perseverance towards His people. A couple of writings ago I spoke on the topic of who teaches the teacher… is this issue of God’s perseverance towards His people another example of how we are called to act as parents? Sibblings? Partners? But God doesn’t really understand us, right? I mean, my oldest daughter seems to be having a run on forgetfulness on obligations these days… does God expect me to keep on trying to teach her even though my words appear to be falling upon deaf ears (Zech. 7:11-13)? Just a few days ago, a student of mine accused me of unfair grading after going over, in copious detail, the places where they failed to fulfill requirements… God can’t expect me to act properly towards someone who is acting so irresponsibly and selfish. After all, there were no programming language classes back then… things are different now… right? Certainly, I must be off the hook. Actually, I have MORE of an obligation to focus on living by faith and not by sight than the non-believer. And as such, the fundamental principle at the center of the Christian life is that, like Moses, we persevere because we see Him who is invisible (Heb. 11:27). But sight here is really the sight that comes with belief… eyes touched by the Holy Spirit to see the truth and grace of our Lord Jesus. “For we live by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7).
Nothing could be more fundamental to the Christian life than the truth of living by faith and not by sight. It seems easier to lose sight of our Lord in the storms of life… we seem to sense God’s presence when all is going well, causing faith to become the natural byproduct of our experiences. But faith can be weakened to the point of being eclipsed when life gets tough. Even the Psalmist expressed the effects of spiritual trials, feeling as though God had forgotten or abandoned him… “Oh, God, why do you cast us off forever? Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?” (Ps. 74:1). It is in these trails and doubts that we start to live by sight and not by faith. Our human nature prefers to trust in the evidence of our sinful minds and eyes instead of the promises offered by God and the purpose He offers that is pure. But, God warns us when we turn from Him, just as a good father should (2 Chronicles 24:20-21).
As Christians, we must remain mindful that the enemy is constantly at work to persuade us to live by sight and navigate by our feelings, rather than in joyful submission to the word of God. This is how he enticed Eve in the garden where Eve “saw that the tree was good for food, and it was a delight to the eyes” (Gen. 3:6). Certainly, if our first parents, who were sinless, could be deceived and convinced, how could we imagine that we would not fall?
As Christians, we must trust, without question, the word and promises of God, but also act accordingly (John 10:6-10)! Our God is a faithful God and He is altogether trustworthy, which is the message of the cross. Look at what He gave up for us…. His only Son, Jesus Christ! therefore, our Heavenly Father will withhold no blessing on His people (Rom. 8:32). But this does not mean that this chosen life will be easy, nor will it be void of tribulations (John 16:33). Jesus knew there were many who hated Him, and He shares that if we follow Him, we, too, will be hated (John 15:18). The closer we get to Christ, the harder the enemy will fight to separate us from His love, by isolating us, drawing us out into the open in preparation for an attack. We need to maintain a constant trust in God and His Word and “for all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him, Amen, to the glory of God through us” (2 Cor. 1:20). This is indeed the victory described in 1 John 5:4 that “overcame the world… our faith”.
Heavenly Father… we know we’ll be tested often in this faith walk with You. Know that it is not our deliberate desire to go against You. We are up against an enemy that is unrelenting where every step we take is contested. Help us to trust You completely to help us remain on track and press closer to You, so that our faith can be the victory that has overcome the world. Amen!
gstefanelli (Greg Stefanelli)