Yesterday I published a blog post on my main blog titled, “A Higher Purpose,” and I mentioned my “faith walk” in that blog post. It was after it was published that I realized (other then providing a link for further information) that some people reading that post might not know exactly what that means. So, what does it mean to walk by faith?
I’ve published blog posts on the topic of faith in the past, so I did a search on my main blog site, and I came across the very first blog post I published on the topic of “walking by faith.” That blog post is titled, “Living By Faith and Not By Sight,” and it was published on October 19, 2011. As I reread that blog post it took me back to the weeks and months after I had lost a job in April 2009, and I was still unemployed and looking for work two and half years later when that post was published in October 2011. And back at that time I had no way of knowing that I never would find another job after years of searching for it. But as I read through that post, it reminded me of the ways that God maneuvered my circumstances and provided for me that I never could have foreseen in advance. It is an example of walking by faith even though I was sometimes “shaking in my boots” not knowing what was going to happen.
It reminds me of the story of Peter, a follower (disciple) of Jesus, when he walked on water, and how terrified he was when he began to sink. It was Jesus who made it possible for him to walk on the water, and the moment he took his eyes off of Jesus and set them on his circumstances, he began to sink down into the water. Read Matthew 14:22-33 for the story. And what did Jesus say to Peter when he was afraid and began to sink and he cried out to Jesus to help him? Verse 31 states:
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Humility requires that we let go of our pride and our self-reliance (which is not an easy thing for any of us to do), and to realize that we can do nothing without Jesus. He even said so in John 15:5:
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
So how much do we really, truly, honestly believe that? We live in a society that is increasingly becoming post-Christian. In article published on October 6, 2020, titled, “US Christians Embrace Secularism in ‘post-Christian’ America,” by Dr. Tracy Munsil, Executive Director of the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University, and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Government at ACU, the opening paragraphs of Dr. Munsil’s article states:
American Christianity is undergoing a “post-Christian Reformation”—and rather than providing leadership and faithfulness in an age of moral decline, members of the majority of the nation’s major Christian groups are rapidly leaving biblical foundations behind and exchanging traditional theological beliefs for the culture’s secular values.
New research from the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University finds that members of the nation’s four main Christian groups—evangelicals, Pentecostals and charismatics, mainline Protestants, and Catholics—are customizing their beliefs and creating new worldviews that are only loosely tied to the biblical distinctives that have historically defined them.
According to CRC Director of Research Dr. George Barna, who conducted the research, “The irony of the reshaping of the spiritual landscape in America is that it represents a post-Christian Reformation driven by people seeking to retain a Christian identity.” Barna explained, “Unfortunately, the theology of this reformation is being driven by American culture rather than biblical truth.”
ACU President Len Munsil agreed. “As Christians, we are called to be ‘salt and light;’ to transform the culture around us by sharing biblical principles and living according to God’s truth. This latest research shows just the opposite is occurring.”
“What we are seeing is an American Christianity that is rapidly conforming to the values of a post-Christian secular culture,” Munsil said. “As a nation we are in need of a reset first to change the direction of individual Christians, and, ultimately, to transform culture.”
Most stunning in the research is the radical departure by evangelicals from traditional Scriptural teachings and historical reliance on the Bible. Evangelicals are rapidly embracing secularism, with a majority (52%) rejecting absolute moral truth, 75% believing that people are basically good rather than the biblical view of humans having a sin nature, and 61% admitting they no longer read the Bible on a daily basis. One-third to one-half of evangelicals embrace a variety of beliefs and behaviors in direct conflict with longstanding evangelical teaching, according to the “American Worldview Inventory 2020.” (Quote source and full article can be accessed at this link.)
As Bob Dylan sang back in 1964, “The times they are a-changin'” rapidly….
So do we rely on our connections more then we rely on God and our convictions to get us through the tight spots we sometimes find ourselves in? And what if those connections let us down at the very time that we need them the most? Do we really believe in Jesus and what he has to say about walking by faith? Or do we spend much of our time in our own pursuits with a cursory nod in his direction instead of seeking him and what he would have us to be doing instead? Do we take the time to even ask him (in prayer)?
GotQuestions.org states the following regarding what it means to walk by faith:
Second Corinthians 5:6–7 says, “So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight” (ESV, emphasis added). Other versions use the word live, rather than walk. The “walk” here is a metaphorical reference to the way a person conducts his or her life. We still use the phrase “all walks of life” to mean a variety of lifestyles or cultures.
The apostle Paul reminds his readers that followers of Christ must not build their lives around things that have no eternal significance. Rather than pursuing the same things the world pursues, a Christian should focus on the unseen realities such as Jesus and heaven. Paul goes on to say, “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:9–10). Jesus instructed us to store up treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:19–20; Luke 12:33). He promised rewards to everyone who does His will (Matthew 16:27; 1 Peter 1:17; Revelation 22:12) and punishment for those who reject Him (Matthew 25:24–46; John 3:16–18).
Walking by faith means living life in light of eternal consequences. To walk by faith is to fear God more than man; to obey the Bible even when it conflicts with man’s commands; to choose righteousness over sin, no matter what the cost; to trust God in every circumstance; and to believe God rewards those who seek Him, regardless of who says otherwise (Hebrews 11:6).
Rather than loving the things of this world (1 John 2:15–16), Christians should spend their lives glorifying God in everything they do (1 Corinthians 10:31). It requires faith to live this way because we cannot see, hear, or touch anything spiritual. When we base our lives on the truth of God’s Word, rather than on the popular philosophy of our day, we are going against our natural inclinations. Our natural instinct may be to hoard money, but walking by faith says we should give to those in need (Luke 11:41; Ephesians 4:28). Society may say that sexual immorality is acceptable, but those who walk by faith base their standards on God’s unchanging Word, which says any sex outside of marriage is sin (1 Corinthians 6:18; Ephesians 5:3; Galatians 5:19). To walk by faith requires that we tune our hearts to the voice of the Holy Spirit and the truth of His Word (John 10:27; 16:13). We choose to live according to what God reveals to us, rather than trust our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5–6). (Quote source here.)
In an article published on March 10, 2021, titled, “3 Practical Ways to Walk by Faith and Not by Sight,” by Annette Griffin, author, speaker, and contributing writer on Christianity.com, she provides these three practical ways to walk by faith:
Before you can walk by faith, you must stop walking by any other means. Dena Johnson Martin sums up this challenge beautifully in “What Does it Mean to Walk by Faith?”–“If you choose this path, you must be willing to get out of your comfort zone, to run from the Americanized brand of Christianity that so many of us have known our entire lives. You must be willing to let God take your world and turn it upside down, shake it up, and start all over again.”
Here are three practical ways to begin your faith walk journey:
Surrender—In today’s culture of self-reliance, the word surrender has been given a bad rap. But surrender is a must for any believer who wants to walk by faith. Galatians 2:20 describes surrender this way, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
When we cling to our own desires, dreams, and goals we leave no room for God’s transformative power to shape our lives. We also rob ourselves of the protection God has provided against the schemes of the enemy (James 4:7).
In Genesis 12, God asked Abram to leave his home and travel to a faraway place, where he would later receive as his inheritance. But what if instead of responding in faith, Abram had said, “That sounds great, God, but I have a young wife at home, and all her family and mine would be furious if we left Haran. Besides, I don’t like the idea of traveling too far in the desert. I’m getting older now—I was 75 on my last birthday. Maybe in my younger years, I could’ve pulled off an adventure like this, but the mission seems too complicated, too taxing, too risky. No, I’m afraid I’ll have to pass.”
Does Abram’s fictitious response sound absurd? How many times do we use worldly wisdom or inconvenience as an excuse to avoid surrender? Faith cannot thrive in the hostile environment of self-reliance. Only through surrender can we, like Abram, walk by faith.
Refocus—It’s easy to get so caught up in the circumstances of life that we feel consumed by them. But if we can take a step back, look at the bigger picture, and realize that this world is not our real home, it can change the way we view our temporary circumstances here on earth. “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” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
In the realm of faith, we are given eyes to see life as it truly is. Sure, we’ll still experience trials on this earth, but we can view those trials knowing that they are working an eternal purpose. By faith, we can trust that the same God who controls the winds and waves, also controls the circumstances in our lives. And He is good.
In the fourteenth chapter of Exodus, Moses reaches the Red Sea, with thousands of Israelites in his care, and hundreds of Egyptians in hot pursuit. What if instead of responding in faith, Moses had taken one look at the massive ocean ahead, the angry army behind, and allowed what he saw to determine the fate of Israel?
Our physical sight can often act as spiritual blindness. To walk by faith, we must refocus. When we begin to actively trust God more than we trust our own perceptions He will, “lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16).
Stand on God’s Promises—The word of God provides the solid ground on which we can take our steps of faith. (Ephesians 2:20) The Bible is full of promises that are intended to help Christians guard and defend this precious deposit entrusted to us (2 Timothy 1:14). The more we apply these promises to our everyday battles, the more our faith will be strengthened.
In Luke 1:45 Elizabeth greets pregnant Mary with these prophetic words: “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Can you imagine how difficult it must have been for a 12-year-old girl to believe and accept these miraculous promises? What if Mary had succumbed to the inevitable ridicule, slander, and hate leveled at her by the unbelieving world and had refused the Holy calling to carry our Lord and Savior? But, Praise God, she didn’t. Instead, Mary was able to see her circumstances from the realm of faith and repeat God’s promises to her cousin (Luke 1:46-55).
Mary knew, just as the angel told her, that “no word from God will ever fail” (Luke 1:37). She stood on His word and lived out her calling according to it. To walk by faith, it’s not enough to believe that God’s word and promises are true, we must act on our belief and stand on the Truth. When what we believe overflows into how we live then our faith is made complete—and is counted to us as righteousness (James 2:22). (Quote source and complete article available at this link.)
I’ll end this post with the words from Hebrews 11:6 (NIV): And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards…
Those who . . .
Earnestly . . .
Seek him . . . .
YouTube Video: “Stand in Faith” by Danny Gokey: