Living By Faith Not By Sight
Perhaps you have enjoyed standing back and watching somebody else who has stepped out on the tremendous reality of faith. Maybe you rejoiced and thanked God for what He did for them through faith. But when the time came for your faith to be tested, what did you do? Did you respond according to faith or sight? As you find yourself pressing on to live this life pleasing to the Lord, in joy, peace and purpose, do you live by faith, confident that He who began the good work in you will be faithful to complete it (see Philippians 1:6)?
By nature, we are people who like to work things through for ourselves. We like to think we did it. We like to feel strong, able and competent in handling our problems. We have our images to keep intact. We say spiritual words and read all sorts of good Christian books to help us in this endeavor. We consult pastors, Christian counselors and well-intentioned friends, seeking their wisdom and trying to do what they suggest. We may have heard a thousand times that to walk with the Lord requires brokenness and humility, but in finding ways to work on life’s problems by ourselves, we live in pride. We’d rather trust our methods of “perfecting” ourselves rather than have faith in God.
Our own solutions never work—they never worked for me and they will never work for you. The real solution to the variety of situations we face in life will only come by faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please [God].” God works by faith. Unless all that we know, all that we have heard in church services and in the books we’ve read is mixed with faith, it isn’t worth anything. The Bible cannot save anyone. The Bible cannot set you free from sickness or demon-possession. The Bible cannot provide your funds. Knowledge of the Bible will not make you a better person. Knowing the Scriptures didn’t help the Pharisees. Don’t fool yourself. Satan can quote Scriptures more fluently than any of us.
In speaking of the Israelites as they came for the first time to the border of the Promised Land, Hebrews 4:2 says, “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it”(emphasis added). This Scripture is referring to God’s people. They knew the Word. They knew the promises. But still, they died out in the wilderness. This happened not because they didn’t know what God wanted for them, but because they didn’t mix all their knowledge with faith.
That is the reason why, although God had promised them the land, He did not bring them into that promise. The Israelites came to the border of the Promised Land, but they couldn’t enter because of their unbelief. They saw the giants in the land. They saw the fortified cities. They saw the impossibilities. And 10 of the spies said (paraphrase), “We simply cannot do it.” These spies were telling the truth. They were not lying. They could not do it; the armies of Israel were just not strong enough. Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who brought back a different report, believing they would see victory, did not argue with the others about the impossibilities. They did not say, “You bunch of liars, be quiet.” No. Instead they replied, “If the LORD delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey’ ” (Numbers 14:8). Through faith, Joshua and Caleb knew that God was able, and that made all the difference.
Faith is still what makes the difference today. I am constantly amazed when I see beautiful, childlike faith in action. I can hardly believe it when I read letters from simple Hindus, Muslims and Buddhists who know hardly anything about the Bible. They write and say, “I believed what you said on the radio, and this is what God did. So now we believe in Jesus too.”
One particular family who was listening to one of our broadcasts heard that “Jesus can do anything.” At the time, this family had a sick goat. Do you know what they did? I love this. It’s such childlike faith, so simple, so believing. They took the radio and placed it on the sick goat, believing that the Jesus they heard about through the radio could heal the goat. Sure enough, their goat got up and walked around, completely healed!
Please understand—nobody tells these people to do these sorts of things. They hear about Jesus, that He loves them, that He died for them, that He does miracles—and they simply believe. Their faith is so unquestioning. “God said it. Jesus is able. So I believe.” And it works! Logic cannot explain it and I cannot explain it, other than the truth that “according to your faith let it be to you” (Matthew 9:29). Yet what is seemingly so simple can be extremely difficult for a lot of us. We like to understand how things work, and we take pride in our ability to figure things out. But the realm of faith does not dwell in logic and formulas.
How can we grow in the mountain-moving faith that we read about in the pages of our Bible—stories of Daniel in the lion’s den and the little boy David with his sling? The answer is found in God’s Word. Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” The purpose of God’s Word is to help grow our faith in Almighty God and His promises. When we know His promises and believe Him, taking Him at His Word, we walk in victory. Faith is the victory!
© 2003 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.