For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. II Corinthians 5:7-9 NIV
For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. II Corinthians 5:7-9 NLT
It appears from this portion of scripture that our focus in life is to please the Lord. It seems that we accomplish this by believing rather than seeing. This creates a challenge—a major challenge at that. Everyone in the boat KNEW that the 12-disciples were IN A BOAT ON THE WATER when Jesus said to Peter COME (implying that the disciple should leave the boat and begin walking on the water). At that moment Peter was living by believing while the eleven gasping disciples were living by seeing the impossible situation surrounding them.
The account of this event is recorded in the New Testament book of Matthew.
The story is amazing.
The disciples are in the middle of the lake in the middle of the pitch-black stormy night when each of them sees the same thing; something walking on the water towards them. They scream in fear thinking it a ghost when Jesus assures them that it is he.
Peter responds with his classic speak first think later, response; “if it is you, tell me come to you on the water,” he shouts! Notice the dynamic taking place here.
A supernatural event—seeing Jesus walk on water—brings the disciples to screams. Jesus response with an affirmation that it is him; to which curious Peter bellows out, “Let me do that Lord!” Peter’s fear gave way to curiosity; which lead to a request.
The question to ponder is did the request come from Peter or did the Holy Spirit initiate it? Either way Jesus’ response solicited an action; that Peter responded to—not out of emotions but out of believing.
I believe that this is what a walk of faith looks like. I grew up in the once called Charismatic—oft-called Charismenanic, or name it/claim it, or blab it/grab it—movement.
I earnestly believed things that never happened.
I knew enough to know not to blame God or to shake a fist in the air at a him; but I could not understand why until I began to see this concept of faith.
The believing must be coupled with the unction of the Holy Spirit—as in Peter’s case—rather than your desire to have something—as was the premise in religious group I mentioned earlier.
I remember the time that I went to the car dealership—after hours—to walk around that brand new shiny red car, place my hands on it and proclaim, “In the name of Jesus I call you mine!” Although I have purchased many vehicles since then—even given one—I never owned that car. It had nothing to do with my believing. I followed the necessary steps precisely as instructed.
I believe that my believing was coupled with my desire rather than the unction of the Holy Spirit.
I also recall years later needing another vehicle and walking around a car as I whispered, “Are you my next vehicle?” I recall hearing that distinct “yes” in my inner most being.
A few days later I purchased it for cash for a ridiculously inexpensive price. I believe that was believing coupled with the unction of the Holy Spirit.
The Holman Christian Standard Bible has this to say about a faith passage in the New Testament book of Hebrews.
“Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.” Many years ago I defined the word Faith as, the belief and assurance that God is who he says he is, and will do what he says he will do.
Allowing a bit of poetic license to merge the two translations into one, it would go like this.
The belief and assurance that God is who he says he is and will do what he says he will do becomes the reality of what is hoped for. It becomes the proof of what is not yet seen.
It is important to understand in whom you are believing. Peter believed in what Jesus told him—to come.
Our believing must be in the God who cannot be seen. This alone presents a conundrum. How can you believe in what is not seen?
How can something that is seen not be real? This is where the relationship comes into play. The God who so loved that he gave, now becomes the God in whom we believe.
The God of the Hebrews will certainly make himself known to those who are curious to know him. He did this for Peter in the boat.
There is a place in the New Testament gospels where Jesus tells his disciples that he tells stories so that those who are intrigued will want to learn more.
Consider how powerful that is.
Two people hear the same story; yet one of them walks away perhaps thinking about it for a moment or two, while the other is captured by it.
That person hangs around waiting for the opportunity to find out more about it. It is that curiosity that will begin to build a relationship that will grow the belief that this unseen God can be trusted to do what he said he would do.
This is not to say that we are to ignore the things that we see. They are indeed real. The Bible tells us in II Corinthians 4:18–So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. NIV.
The things we now see are real, but they are temporary. What does that mean? It means that real things will come and they will go. It means that if we get wrapped up in the real things, that we will be wrapped up in temporary things.
To focus in on the things that we see means that we are likely to be consumed by those things—either for good or bad. If, however our focus is on the not-seen things—those things eternal—then the temporary things will—both good and bad—not have the same impact on us.
Think of it like this. Have you ever seen a movie where a blind person is walking around? They usually have a walking stick that they move back and forth in front of them while they carefully take one step after another. The obstacles all around them have virtually no impact on them, but why? It is because they cannot see them. If you will allow it, once the obstacle is behind them, it is like a temporary object that is no longer an obstacle.
In the Star Wars movie, Rogue One, there is a scene where a blind martial arts master leaves the comfort of his hiding place to walk into a firefight in order to turn a knob in the middle of the battlefield. His walking stick is positioned in front of him as he takes each step. He continually repeats a phrase regarding the force. He is surrounded by an impossible situation. His course of action is nothing short of suicide.
Yet he strikes out holding tight to his walking stick and his belief in the force.
Consider how powerful this is.
The walking stick is like faith. It moves back and forth as each step is taken. It detects the obstacles than could represent a stumbling block thus alerting the person to alter course. It is only concerned with the obstacles in front of the person. For example, had the martial arts master seen all the soldiers and the utter insanity of such a move, he would not have left his comfortable hiding place.
The walking stick of faith will alert you to the obstacles in your way that could cause you to stumble or even fall. Faith does not ignore the object; it simply offers a way to move around it. As you do so, your steps are certain and your course is sure; even in the midst of an impossible situation.
In the “I am about to take you into a good land,” article, it is spelled out how the word of God is to be used in order to live. As you move forward using the walking stick of faith, you encourage your heart by reciting the word of God—repeating the phrase regarding the force. This builds up faith or the belief or assurance that God will do what he says he will do.
The temporary battle surrounding the martial arts master did not stop him from reaching the eternal knob that needed to be flipped in order to safe everyone. In like manner, your temporary obstacles cannot be allowed to keep you from your eternal purpose as long as you utilize your walking stick of faith coupled with the word of God.