On Walking By Faith…

“We walk by faith, not by sight.”

Paul wrote these words to the church in Corinth.
I’ve been chewing on them recently.
Especially when I have been praying for some seemingly impossible situations.
In my relationships.
In my church.
And in this world.
So many messes!
So much to navigate.
Leading me to wonder, what does it really mean to “walk by faith”?

Of course, the first answer is the simplest one. The author of Hebrews said it this way:
“But without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6, AMP)

Walking by faith means believing that God is who He says He is.
Taking His Word to be His Word.
Not shaping Him into who I want Him to be or even who I think I need Him to be.
But believing that He exists and that He is God.
And as God, He gets to set the rules.
The how-tos.
The stay-away-froms.
The “I-will-bless-you-ifs”.
He gets to decide all of those – not me.

And, of course, I cannot know Him for Who He really is without believing that His Words about Himself are true.
Something to be studied.
Chewed on.
Memorized.
And lived.
God as revealed in the inerrant Scriptures.

That is the first layer of what it means to walk by faith instead of sight.

But as I was thinking through some relational things the other day, I said to God, “Why is it “we walk by faith”? Why not “we walk by grace”? Or “we walk by love”?”

And it hit me.
It IS walking by faith that allows me to walk by grace. By love. In power. In forgiveness. In all the things I need for life and godliness.
Both for myself and for others.

I can walk in these things first concerning myself because I know – I confidently believe by faith – that the following is Truth:
God loves me.
Not because I am a good person. I am not.
Not because of anything I do.
Or how I look.
How I dress.
Speak.
Act.
Or even think.
None of that makes God love me.
He simply chooses to love me.
And nothing I have done or will do will change His mind.

He hates my sin, not just because He is holy and perfect Himself, but because He sees the damage it does to me.
To others.
To this world.

But He loves me.
And He has forgiven me
Past.
Present.
Future.
I stand forgiven.
Cleansed.
Made perfect in His sight.
Because He sees me both now, in process, and then, when I stand complete before Him.
And when He sees me, He also sees my record.
Every sin.
Every mistake.
Every failure.
And across the record, the word “Forgiven”.
By the blood of Jesus.
By Him taking my punishment on Himself on the cross.
I am free.
I am forgiven.
I am in right standing with God.

And therefore, I can extend all those powerful things to myself.
Forgetting what is behind, I press on.
Shaking off everything that makes me stumble, I run the race with my eyes fixed on Jesus.
And because He has been so incredibly gracious to me, I walk through this life striving to keep my life free from sin.
But knowing that when I mess up – and I will mess up – His love never changes.
His grace is still there.
And I am still beloved.

So I walk by grace, power, forgiveness, love – and all those other things – concerning myself.
Which means that I can walk by grace – and all those other things – towards you.
I have been forgiven much. I can forgive much.
I am dearly loved. It is possible to love you the same way.
I have the freeing knowledge that this life is not all there is, that this is just the title page to the book.
I can share that peace, that comfort, that hope in the midst of trials, with you.
I have freely received. I can freely give.
I have been bought at an extremely high price, redeemed. I can be extravagant in my love for you.
I am protected by the hand of Almighty God, surrounded by His angels, equipped with His armor and the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. I can fight for you in the heavenly realms against all the schemes of the enemy.
I have been given spiritual gifts in addition to my natural abilities. I can now share my blessings with you by using my giftedness for the Kingdom of God, giving generously of my time, energy and talent because I know that I can never, ever give away more than God has the ability to give.

Walking by grace IS walking by faith.
Claiming all of God’s promises for my life.
Not just spouting them.
Not even just remembering them.
But putting all my weight in them.
Living as though they are true.
Because I don’t have to see how God is going to protect, provide, comfort, guide, equip, or empower me.
I just know that He will.
Because I am walking by faith, not by sight.

And the very cool thing?
As I walk forward in faith, I can look back.
I can “see in my history the faithful love of the Lord.” (Psalm 107, NLT)
I can see how walking by faith – which is walking by grace, walking by love, walking in power, walking in forgiveness and more – I can see how those things have woven God-sightings into my life. Times I have seen Him work. Times I can point back to and say, “Look what He did!” Times when my faith becomes sight in retrospect.

Which gives me the impetus I need to turn back around, confidently walking toward an unknown future with a well-known God.
Taking the next step.
Because “we walk by faith, not by sight.”

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