Have you mastered the Christian life skill of walking by faith–of trusting God enough to help you do (and bring you through) what you didn’t think you could? Good; because that’s the most basic of essential spiritual skills, upon which the remainder of your life hinges!
“For we live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7 NIV)
Just as a baby must stand up and take his first steps before it can begin to work on any of the myriad of other ambulatory activities humans engage in, and a skater must first stay upright successfully without falling on the ice before beginning work on the various more complex moves which will win him Olympic gold–we also, as followers of Christ, we must first master the skill of walking by faith because it is the precursor to everything else that follows!
But first, what is walking (or living) by faith? Walking by faith is simply trusting God enough to do things His way–learning to let go of what we want and allowing Him to accomplish His purposes in and through us–and it’s a lot harder than it sounds. Many of us say we trust God but the truth is that we really don’t, because it’s scary! The metal really hits the road when God asks something of us we don’t want to do, don’t want to not do, or don’t want to give up. Do we trust Him enough to let go and do it His way?
But why is it so important? Why can’t we just forever stand somewhere before first plate spiritually, maybe in the game but never really moving forward in our faith? Because if you can’t trust God in the simplest of things like giving up little bits of something or other sin in our life and seeing it’s okay–how on earth will we ever trust Him enough to get us through the really difficult things that still lie ahead? Because there is so much more before us that we have yet to go through–experiences which are impossible to navigate successfully without faith!
“So let us go on to grown-up teaching. Let us not go back over the beginning lessons we learned about Christ. We should not again start teaching about faith in God and about turning away from those acts that lead to death. We should not return to the teaching about baptisms, about laying on of hands, about the raising of the dead and eternal judgment. And we will go on to grown-up teaching if God allows.” (Hebrews 6:1-3 NCV)
There is so much more God has yet to teach us –experiences to bring us through to more fully conform us to Christ’s image–before He welcomes us into eternity. What’ll you do when the harder lessons begin–and when the unthinkable happens? What’ll you do when the more difficult trials and tribulations of life hit if you’re still a spiritual infant who can’t even do the most basic faith-walk?!
What’ll you do when your finances are seriously threatened? When your company is downsized and you lose your source of income and the lifestyle you and your family have become accustomed to? When you’re in an accident and can’t work anymore? When your house is repossessed or you’re evicted? But okay, you’re good with money; not going to happen, you say?
What about when big time disappointment hits? When someone you really got attached to exits your life? Or your spouse finds someone else and files for divorce? Or gets violent with you? Still not enough? Let’s up this a notch.
What’ll you do if your child is born with severe developmental issues? Or he or she is molested or even abducted? Or gets leukemia or some other life-threatening illness for no apparent reason?
How about when someone you love is told they have two months left to live–and then actually dies, leaving you to pick up the pieces? Or you say goodbye to your family in the morning and a truck unexpectedly crosses the median and kills them instantly before noon? What’ll you do if you get shot, or raped, or paralyzed, or lose a part of your body in an accident? What if there’s a flood, or a tornado, or an earthquake, or a volcanic eruption? What if the unheard of happens and you’re bombed, or a war breaks out, or you become a refugee–because this kind of stuff can and does happen to people all over the world all the time?
Ultimately, not just how will you suffer, but how will you die when it’s your turn–because this is a chasm each of us is inexorably walking a little closer toward each and every day, which we will eventually have to cross–and if our life isn’t hidden with Christ in God, having rejected Him we will do it alone, and stand and face the Fear that is God, unprotected by the only hope of forgiveness that is through Christ Jesus.
“If we give up and turn our backs on all we’ve learned, all we’ve been given, all the truth we now know, we repudiate Christ’s sacrifice and are left on our own to face the Judgment…what do you think will happen if you turn on God’s Son, spit on the sacrifice that made you whole, and insult this most gracious Spirit? This is no light matter…” (Hebrews 10:26-31 MSG)
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31 ASV)
There are many reasons why we might not trust our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ whom He sent. Maybe we secretly doubt He’s real. Maybe we don’t believe He loves me personally. Maybe we don’t think He’s big enough to be intimately involved in the lives of all of His people. Maybe we don’t think He cares enough. More than likely, we just don’t have the breath of comprehension to recognize that humanly unfathomable problems are nothing for Him–that He has a solution when there are no solutions, that He is not our enemy, that in Christ He has a hope and a future for us. In other words, we don’t really realize just how big He is!
Some of these concerns have to do with being convinced God’s real. But some have to do with knowing who is, with knowing Him well enough to understand He will catch us when we let go and not let us fall–that He is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present, loving, good, trustworthy. That He is real. That He does care. That He does love us. That He is merciful, stepping up to help even when He is not obligated to. Knowing not only that God is not a fabrication, but also who and all, He is exactly, because it is this personal experiential knowledge that helps us trust Him more and more, and get through progressively more difficult situations in faith, to His glory.
And that’s ultimately, what faith is–it’s trust. It’s knowing that even if I don’t know the solution–if the problem’s too big for me–it’s nothing for Him. It’s being a little child who places my hand in my Parent’s hand and trusts Him implicitly to make the bad things right, fix what’s wrong–including me–and bring me safely through it all, right up to eternity’s door!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Show Yourself to me; help my live by faith and not by sight, and bring me to eternity safe in You! Amen.