“For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
A friend said, “I have atheist buddies who say they live by science. They like a lot of things about Christianity and what we do at church, but they just can’t do faith.”
I replied to her, “They may think that, but it’s not so. They do a thousand things a day by faith, just like all the rest of us. If they get in a car and drive on the interstate, they are showing great faith in the people who build and maintain the highways and the motorists all around them, none of whom they know. If they eat in a restaurant, they are demonstrating faith in those who prepare the food, people whom presumably they do not know and will never meet. And yet they open wide and swallow. They go to a doctor, he diagnoses something they never heard of, writes a prescription they cannot read which they take to the pharmacy. They may never see the pharmacist who chooses what goes into the pill bottle, but when they get home, they do what the rest of us do–pop a pill or two in our mouth and wash it down with water. It’s all of faith!”
We all live by faith, believer or not.
But there is a special sense in which followers of Jesus Christ live by faith in Him. And while this may mean a hundred things, in particular, it means that regardless of what they do not have or know or understand or feel, they step out “on faith” and obey the commands of the Lord Jesus.
Now. To do anything by faith is a two-sided coin. It means we know ONE BIG THING but do not know many other smaller things. But the “one big thing” is so overwhelming, so decisive, that it rules out and cancels, it overpowers and dwarfs, the negatives.
Here’s what that means…
As followers of Jesus Christ, we know God. He is the One Great Thing in our lives.
We. Know. God. The Living God. The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Lord Jesus Christ. We are His redeemed, His children through faith in Christ.
He is our One Big Thing that makes all the difference in the world.
And the smaller things?
What we may not know at any given time could be one or any or all of the following…
–How He is going to do this thing He has called on us to do.
–Whom He is going to use to pull it off. So we do not run ahead of Him and decide whom God will use. “How odd of God to choose the Jews,” said a poet. And equally odd that He would use a nobody like me. And like you.
–Where the supplies/resources will come from. The Father delights in sending what we need just in time for us to put it to use.
–How I will get the strength or courage or ability to do this thing. Read the exchange between God and Moses in Exodus 1-3 and see how this plays out.
–What He will do with your efforts. You do not know the outcome. If you have to know the outcome before you take the first step, you will never do the first thing. “Abraham and Sarah went out, not knowing where they were going” (Hebrews 11:8).
–How people will react to what you do. Granted, the Lord sometimes told those He called to expect hostile treatments (see Jeremiah 1 and Acts 9:16).
–How long you will have to wait. The timing. We see Abraham and Sarah growing impatient with the long time the Lord was taking to fulfill His promise of a son. Finally, they took matters into their own hands. The world has been paying for their impatience ever since. (That is, Muslims vs. Jews.)
–How your prayers are being answered. A full 90 percent of the things you pray for, you will never know whether the prayers were answered or not. You were in no position to know what the Lord did with your prayers for the president, for missionaries in other lands, or for your children in school. If we cannot pray without knowing what God did in response to our prayers, we will quit praying. And some have quit.
–What life would have been like had you not acted on faith in this matter. We can be thankful we do not know how our lives would have turned out had we chosen a lesser path.
–What your reward in Heaven will be. But we have His promises, and that is surely enough. “You will be rewarded at the resurrection of the righteous,” said our Lord in Luke 14:14.
And so, we obey by faith. Regardless of how we feel, what people say about us, the condition of our house or bank account, what we know, etc etc. We go forward.
“Without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).