For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV)
Q: Why do Christians not cross the road?
A: Because we listen to our eyes. Metaphorically that causes us to become spiritual chickens standing there motionless, afraid to move, longingly staring in the direction of God’s desired destination for us on the other side of the street. It’s a matter of faith, or the lack thereof.
Our eyes deceive and paralyze us when it comes to trusting God. Instructed to scout out the Promised Land, the spies reported what their eyes had seen to Moses when they returned.
But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” Numbers 13:31 (NKJV)
Caleb also saw the same things the other scouts observed about the land the Lord had promised the Israelites but through the eyes of faith.
Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” Numbers 13:30 (NKJV)
Taking ground and moving forward for God’s Kingdom is a Spirit-led initiative that the flesh cannot conceive of accomplishing.
But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 (NKJV)
As we all know far too well from personal experience, walking by faith is easier said than done. What prevents us from stepping out in faith?
It’s a matter of focus.
We recently visited the local zoo with our two young granddaughters. Soon enough, we came to one of our favorite attractions. The elevated wooden walkway is something we love to do because it gives you an unobstructed and uncrowded view from both sides of various animals as you walk along its meandering track high above the different enclosures.
However, we ran into a problem immediately after climbing the stairs to begin our adventure. After being carried up the stairs, our 16-month-old, “Little C,” said she wanted to walk too. And that’s when all forward motion came to a complete stop. As soon as she set foot on the boardwalk, she froze, unwilling to move. To her eyes, the spaces between the boards made walking way too risky of a proposition, even though the slats comprised most of the walking surface. All she could see were Grand Canyon-sized gaps, gaps, and more gaps.
As followers of Jesus, are we different from this toddler regarding our efforts to walk by faith? Sadly the answer is far too often “no.” The good news is we’re not alone or the first to grapple with our shortcomings in this regard, as we’ve already seen with the Israelites and as evidenced by the following familiar story:
Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:22-33 (NKJV)
Like Peter, the Israelites, and Little C, when faced with new and unexpected challenges, we’re predisposed to focus on the uncertainty of the gaps along the path we’re traveling instead of the certainty of the One who holds everything in His hands.
Indeed, it all boils down to this: it’s a matter of where, or rather Whom, we choose to place our focus.
“Focus on giants-you stumble. Focus on God-your giants tumble.” Max Lucado
We either remain motionless and stagnant, held captive by what’s right in front of our eyes, or move forward in trust as an onward marching Christian soldier for Jesus.
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
The good news is Little C discovered she could trust the boards to hold her up, that the gaps didn’t have the final say as to whether or not she would fall to the ground. She learned that lesson one small step at a time after finally taking that critical first step of faith. After all, the first step is the hardest.
My friend, trust God…….and……take…….that…….step…….!
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” Corrie ten Boom
I pray your focus is on the Lord, the firm foundation, the One who loves you and is altogether trustworthy as you take those steps of faith toward fulfilling your role in His Kingdom. May your efforts overflow with His glorious presence.
“There’s some task which the God of all the universe, the great Creator, your redeemer in Jesus Christ has for you to do, and which will remain undone and incomplete until by faith and obedience you step into the will of God.” Alan Redpath
“Seeing is never believing: we interpret what we see in the light of what we believe. Faith is confidence in God before you see God emerging; therefore the nature of faith is that it must be tried.” Oswald Chambers, He Shall Glorify Me, 494 R
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NKJV)
“Walk By Faith” by Jeremy Camp from the album “Carried Me The Worship Project”