Walking by faith is something that at one time or another we all struggle with. We can be inspired by a great sermon or someone giving us a word of encouragement, but as soon as the emotions of that event face, we are faced with whether or not we will walk by faith and not by sight, or we will look around and say “it must not have been God after all.”
This morning, I want to encourage you.
Not because you are somehow missing it or a failure in your Christian life, but I want to encourage you to overcome.
I want to encourage you to walk by faith and not by sight every day, so let’s look at the passage in the Bible that talks about walking by faith and not by sight.
2 CORINTHIANS 5:7
FOR WE WALK BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT.
This verse is part of a dialogue Paul is having with the Corinthian church concerning what happens to people when they die. He is telling them that when a person departs their body, they are present with the Lord. Now they do not see this with their physical senses; they walk by faith knowing that this is true regardless of what they see with their physical senses.
The reason that Paul uses this phrase is that it is a principle that is inclusive of how we live all of our Christian life and not exclusively used for just believing in heaven.
Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith, (Heb. 12:2) gave us the example of walking by faith when He looked beyond the cross and the shame He would endure and set His gaze upon the joy that would happen when He redeemed mankind.
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.[a] Because of the joy[b] awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
How Do We Walk By Faith?
To understand how we walk by faith we must first understand where faith comes from. There is a passage in Romans that is used many times to explain where faith comes from.
So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.
Now, most people, when they read that passage, assume that Paul is talking about the scriptures. However, that assumption comes from a culture that has not known or experienced life without the invention of the printing press. The printing press was invented in 1450 AD, and incidentally, the first thing printed was the Bible. Before the printing press, Bibles were hand copied thus they were rare.
So if faith came from reading the Bible, then the majority of Christians were excluded from being able to have faith come to them.
I believe that Paul is talking about Jesus in this passage. Jesus is referred to being the “word of God in John 1:11-14, 1 John 5:7, 1 Peter 1:23, Hebrews 4:12.
So faith comes by hearing. Hearing what?
I believe it is hearing the voice of God on a particular matter. The hearing comes by Jesus. Jesus said that His sheep would hear His voice. So faith comes when we hear, and hearing comes when Jesus speaks. You will know it when it happens; faith will arise in your innermost being.
The Process Of Walking By Faith
Take the first step
So now that we know how faith comes, how do we walk in faith? It starts by taking action!
That sounds simple since none of us remember learning how to walk. We have seen our children learn how to walk though. There are a lot of missteps, a lot of falling, and a lot of getting ahead of themselves.
The same things happen to us. We miss things, we fall, and we get ahead of God. However, in the end, we learn how to walk, and the way we start is by taking that first step.
The word “can’t” is not in my vocabulary. My father used to say “Can’t never did anything.” He was right. If you are going to learn how to walk by faith you are going to have to lose the idea that you “can’t” do something.
You can, as long as God has guided you to do it.
So if you have heard the voice of Jesus telling you something, get rid of the word “can’t.” Be honest; if you choose not to walk it is not that you can’t it is that you won’t.
Travel towards your destination
It is essential that we know where we are going when we walk by faith. Just as Paul reminded the Corinthian church of their eternal destination, we too need to keep in focus the bigger picture of where we are going.
For many years the Lord has given me a vision of a city on a hill as my eternal destination. The path I am walking here on earth is eventually leading to that city. I do not see every turn and fork in the trail but I am always able to know that I am heading in the right direction.
When we walk by faith, we need to be able to see our final destination. This will keep us from being distracted by things and paths along the way that moves us a different direction or from just walking in circles.
Journey through the opposition
Many people have the idea that if something is from God, it will be easy. That is not the case. If it is from God more than likely, you will experience opposition.
It may come from well-meaning friends, family, or other Christians. Not everybody in your life is healthy or motivated from a focus of faith.
Think about it. Jesus who is the model for our Christian life, experienced opposition spiritually from Satan in the desert, from religious leaders of the day, and from the Roman empire who placed Him on the cross.
Don’t think that if something is from God that all you will get is smooth sailing and kudos of affirmation towards your decision. Expect opposition.
Ride out the emotional roller coasters
Once again, many people believe that if it is of God that they will not experience discouragement, fear, or other emotions that are considered negative.
Look at Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was so distraught over what was before Him that He sweated drops of blood. He asked for the path to be changed but still walked forward in faith.
In my walk of faith when I was waiting for God to restore me to ministry, there were many times I would get discouraged. There were many times I would get angry at the people who would not give a single and divorced man a chance to lead a church.
However, I knew God spoke. I knew it would work out. I knew I had heard from God. I walked forward all the same even in the midst of despair. Do not let your emotions and your feelings today rob you of what God would give to you tomorrow.
That is why I have a hard time respecting people who say “God told me” something one day and then when the feelings go away, or they encounter opposition they throw it all away and say “Well it must not have been God.” If it was God, then walk by faith!
Yes, you may get discouraged. Yes, you may see opposition. But who gave you this mission, God or pizza?
In the end, don’t use the God card unless you know it was God and if you know, then walk by faith and not by sight.