I am very excited for any of you who have genuinely embraced the Christian faith for yourself. You have admitted you are a sinner in need of Christ’s saving grace. You have asked God for forgiveness, received eternal life from Him, and humbly turned from your sins the strength He gives you.
You have believed Jesus is the Son of God. You believe He loves you, and you know that you love Him. You believe Jesus died on the cross to pay for your sins, and He rose from the dead to grant you everlasting life. Because you believe in Him, you want to follow Him by applying His teachings in the New Testament to your life. You know this side of heaven you are not perfect nor anywhere close to it, but you sense a change in your life – a profound change. Before you only knew about God; now you have been drawn into a personal relationship with Him. You are now on the journey of faith! It’s exciting!
In this entry we learn that once you have chosen to follow Jesus Christ, your relationship with faith does not end. Really it is just beginning. Now you must learn to live by faith everyday and draw on the power and guidance which comes via faith. A daily walk of faith is the privilege and responsibility of every child of God. No one makes progress in their spiritual journey without learning more about their faith and growing in their faith. This is what God wants for you, and God Himself honors faith and desires faith to increase in His followers. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 adds, “… for we walk by faith, not by sight —”
So you need to learn to walk by faith now that you are a bone fide Christian. The teachings of Jesus and His Apostles focused on many faith themes. In the following posts, we will also focus on these themes, including:
- Walking by Faith
- The Obedience of Faith
- Demonstrating Faith Through Love
- Strong Faith
- Deepening in Faith
- The Prayer of Faith
- Passive v. Active Faith
- Standing Firm in Faith
- Perseverance in Faith
Let’s get started …
Walking by Faith
The Christian life is likened to a walk we engage in step-by-step. It is a walk of faith through the years as we place our hand in God’s and He leads us. As was just mentioned, 2 Corinthians 5:7 teaches, “… for we walk by faith, not by sight —” Way back in our first post we likened life to a journey on which we need faith as a traveling companion. Whether we picture life’s journey as a car ride or a long walk, we still travel forward by faith in Jesus Christ. We trust that what He told us is true and reliable. Jesus is the expert who knows the journey well and who travels with us. He leads us forward into blessing. For we believe that our final destination will be just as He described it. Faith in Him is the guidance, power, and encouragement we need along the way.
Right now at the beginning of the journey, I want to focus on the question: What does it mean to walk by faith? Walking is a metaphor for living daily. Living a life of faith is walking step-by-step without full sight of what is ahead and without the ability to jump ahead. It is as if Jesus is holding our hands and urging us to trust Him as we go forward through all kinds of events and stages of life. We never are allowed to see all the things our faith tells us is true until after we die and enter into God’s presence, or Jesus returns to earth. That is when we will behold all we want to see. But not now! Now the entirety of life must be lived by faith, yet God provides adequate evidence of His power and presence as we walk along. The whole Christian life from beginning to end involves a walk of faith and continuance in the faith. That means we worship, witness, love, serve, plan, and make decisions everyday by faith in God’s promises.
As we walk this journey by faith, we realize that many people will think our reliance on faith is foolish. They will not understand because they walk by sight. So living by faith is counterintuitive to them. They think we should be like them and walk by sight. They want to see things before they believe them. They want to know ahead of time from whence their help will arrive. They want to know how things will work for their benefit. That is not faith. Faith means we know the help will come from God, but we never know exactly how He will work things out. So you will not get much encouragement from those who do not understand the power and intelligence of faith. For Christ is real, and His help is real.
Let’s take an example of what it means to live and serve by faith so we can get a better handle on it: A missionary or pastor takes a step of faith to start a work for God. Maybe he wants to start a church or get to the missionary field to bring the good news of Jesus to others. How will the help come? He does not know. He does not have the financial resources yet. He does not have the human resources either. Yet he believes it will come at the right time because he knows he is doing the will of God Faith means he moves forward and trusts God to bring the provision and guidance as He obeys. He does not sit around waiting for the money to come in before he starts to serve. That hesitance and doubt will not honor God. Rather, he steps forward believing God will guide His way forward. How God supplies for his workers is His concern. He will concentrate on obeying God and let God take care of the resources.
To use a common biblical analogy, to be an act of faith, first one must enter the land of promise, put himself at risk, then God will act and slay the opposing giants in the land. Nothing significant happens until one take a significant step of faith. Without the step of faith you are not engaged in a work of faith. God blesses steps of faith not stalling due to doubt.
Of course that does not mean we are never allowed to make provisions using resources God has already made available to us. Luke 22:35 speaks of a time of persecution when “(Jesus) said to (the disciples), ‘When I sent you out without money belt and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?’ They said, ‘No, nothing.’ And He said to them, ‘But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.’” Jesus told His disciples to make preparations using what they already had. Yet even this was done by faith that they are venturing forth to do the work of God. God would still need to protect them and provide for them.
As we saw from the verse in 2 Corinthians 5:7, faith is contrasted with sight. This is also true in John 20, a passage about Jesus’ resurrection. There Jesus told Doubting Thomas, “Blessed are those have not seen yet believe.” Thomas wanted to see Jesus risen from the dead before he would believe. Jesus told him that He wants people to believe before seeing Him. That faith honors God, for it takes Him at His word. Jesus’ words show that our faith should rest on Christ’s promises. The greater blessing is for those who needed less evidence, i.e. “not seeing.”
The rest of us were given who did not see Christ risen from the dead are left with the Scriptural testimony of the disciples. We read the testimony they wrote, and we believe without seeing. 1 Peter 1:8-9 accentuates the Christian life as a walk of faith. ” … though you have not seen Him you believe in Him …” We believe without seeing. Romans 10:17 reminds us that faith comes by hearing the Scriptures not by seeing Jesus. In Acts 10:41 Peter explained that Jesus purposefully did “not (appear) to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.” The rest of us are required to walk by faith in the risen Jesus.
It is our privilege to live by faith. It brings a greater reward with God. It is our joy to trust God without seeing all the fulfillment of what our heart longs for. Faith constantly reassures our hearts and keeps us free from worry. Faith allows us to walk through life smiling at the future. When you are full of faith it brings such great joy. At some moments you may be so overcome with the reality of what you have been given, you will want to run through a field or a meadow and yell out loud how good God is! Do not hold back. Jump up and down and thank God for all His bounty and provision! It’s fulfilling to walk by faith especially when our faith is strong!
The words of Paul in Galatians 2:20 explain this life of faith even more, “I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me and the life which I now live I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” The world walks by sight and feeling, not faith. We walk by faith and not feeling or sight.
Paul encouraged Timothy in his walk of faith. He wrote to him in 1 Timothy 4:6 “In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.” Solid Bible teaching enhances and nourishes your faith. Hebrews 13:7 exhorts believers, “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” Watching others who live consistently by faith also inspires our walk of faith.
Proverbs 3:5, 6 strongly exhorts us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” We should not be content just to trust in the Lord but with all our heart. And we must know that to trust in the Lord means we do not trust in ourselves or our reasoning. “Do not lean on your own understanding,” he writes. You cannot lean on your own understanding. You must live by faith. If you trust in the Lord, and do not lean on your own understanding, God will make the paths of your life straight, because only God’s way brings true spiritual prosperity.
So put your faith into practice. Walk daily with your Bible in hand trusting God’s goodness by faith!! Trust God with your provisions. Trust him with your job, family, and future. Exercise confidence in Him as He leads you forward to do His will.