2 Corinthians 5:7, “We walk by faith, not by sight”
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” I can’t see ultraviolet rays, but I believe that they can give me sunburn. I can’t see the wind, but I have seen it blow down deep-rooted trees and flatten buildings. I can’t see radiation, but when I see a “Radioactive – Keep Out” sign, I do. I can’t see electricity, but I won’t grab hold of a live hot wire. I can’t see carbon monoxide, but I believe that it can kill me. Is it possible to have the wrong kind of faith? Or is it enough just to believe in something? And if that’s the case, isn’t one religious idea just as good as another? After all, like the peanut butter commercial says, “Everybody believes or has faith in something.”
It has been said that walking is just one step away from falling. That is why venturing out on two unsteady legs can be frightening to a very young child. Yet, children keep at it until walking becomes second nature. This is similar to learning to “walk” as a Christian – we put our faith into practice one step at a time. We who follow Jesus Christ must do so by faith. It’s a pilgrimage that must be a daily step-by-step process. It’s like a hiker on a narrow mountainside trail, unable to see the path ahead. Sometimes the way is clearly marked out before him. At other times, it turns abruptly to the right or left, becomes rugged or muddy, rises or falls sharply. All he knows is that he must take the next step.
There are numerous examples of individuals in the Old and New Testament who walked by faith. Abraham as the “father of all those who believe” (Romans 4:11), was declared right with God because of his faith, not because of human works (Hebrews 11:8-19; Genesis 15:6). Moses chose to devote himself to God’s care and direction rather than to depend on Pharaoh’s riches (Hebrews 11:24-28; Exodus 2:1-4:31). Joseph shows that his faith was strong in temptation, in unjust imprisonment, in interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams, in ruling Egypt, and in giving his last instructions (Genesis 39 through 50).
Samuel as a child expressed his faith in the Lord (1 Samuel 3:10). He then devoted his life to serve Him (1 Samuel 1-14). Paul had to be blinded before he could see Christ as his Savior and Lord. His life and words became a testimony to salvation by grace through faith (Acts 9-28). Nicodemus the Jewish leader’s actions give strong evidence that he put his faith in Jesus after he met with Him privately (John 3:1-21; 7:50-52; 19:38-42); and Peter a fisherman, who recognized Jesus as the Messiah and made profound statements of faith (Matthew 16:18; John 6:68; Acts 1-12).
Not all believers in Christ exercise the same degree of faith. Some seem to think their problem is too big for God to solve. While others are sure that God is all-powerful, but they’re not confident that He will do what is best for them. Still others affirm, “I know what God can do, and I’ll trust Him to do what He has promised.” These various attitudes range from a weak and tentative faith to a firm confidence that takes God at His word and believes He is good. As we study the ministry of Jesus, we see varying degrees of faith in those who came to Him.
(1) He cast out a mute spirit from a son whose father wavered between faith and doubt (Mark 9:17-24).
(2) He healed a leper who knew He could but wasn’t sure He would (Mark 1:40-45).
(3) Yet, He healed the servant of a centurion who was so sure of the outcome that he asked Jesus merely to speak the word from afar (Luke 7:1-10).
These examples don’t teach that God always answers according to the strength of our faith. Rather, in His infinite wisdom He responds to any degree of faith. His ultimate goal is to lead us to trust Him completely, so that we may know the fullness of His fellowship. Because of who Jesus is, He can turn the weakest faith into a strong faith.
Perhaps today you are at the rim of a shadowy unknown. You know you must move forward, but you can’t see 10 feet ahead. God has brought you to this place not to abandon you but to show you, perhaps as never before, that you can trust Him completely. Go ahead and prayerfully step into the unknown future. God has promised to be there for you (Hebrews 13:5). Through faith in Christ, we can keep moving forward with full confidence that we will reach our destination. Evangelist D. L. Moody once said, “Trust in yourself and you are doomed to disappointment; trust in your friends, and they will die and leave you; but trust in God, and you will never be confounded in time or eternity.” The apostle Paul urged believers to live by faith so they would become firmly established in their walk with Christ (Colossians 2:6-7). The question is, “Are you walking with Him today by faith?”
Faith is not a leap into the dark but a step into the light.