As a minister, I have spent countless lessons and sessions talking to people about what it means to walk by faith. These people are in life situations that demand assurance – loss of job, loss of spouse, loss of child, loss of a best friend, you name it, their world has been shattered.
In a way, my world has been upended. I am experiencing a change in ministry, so to speak. I will spare the readers the details. Just suffice it to say that I have advised many people to be patient, God will provide, pray, fast, draw near, all the good things that a minister is supposed to “confirm” to those who are in distress and in need. The words of a minister, while comforting, do not provide income, companionship, or in other words a restoration of that which the person lost.
A minister is supposed to walk the talk, live the sermon, and be an example to the believers. Well it is hard to do and it is a tall order. I have come to think that many think that I am borderline crazy. Not using my noodle. Not contributing to solving my dilemma. I have tried explaining that I am learning how “to walk by faith,” but even Christians seem to give me the weirdest responses.
I am trying to be patient. Wait upon the LORD. Listen for the still small voice. Be observant of the things said to you, the things you read in the Bible. Tuning into God so to speak believing that He will guide. Some around me still think I’m crazy.
The last few weeks have been a struggle. Ups. Downs. Confusions. Prayers. Hope. Depressing news. Fastings. Waiting. When will God answer? Asking myself: what does it mean to walk by faith?
So what does it mean to walk by faith? Paul says that we walk by faith not by sight (2 Corinthians 5.7). But to me this has become a ridiculous statement. Hear me out. Does any Christian, any Church that has a Bible “walk by faith”? I am really thinking about this. I think the early church had to walk by faith, especially the Gentiles since they did not have copies of the Scriptures.
While the Jewish believers had better access to the Scriptures, it is just historical and economic truth that those believers simply did not have a Bible in every house, let alone multiple copies in every church. There is a reason why some letters to the churches are called circular epistles, because they were passed from church to church. If an assembly of believers had one Bible, they probably were blessed.
In modern times, Christians and Churches that are under persecution and real trials, to the point that they don’t know where their food will come from, or if they will be killed for their faith, have, HAVE, to walk by faith. For them, there is absolutely no other way. But, I live in a land where I have daily food, and currently am under no duress for my life. So I want to know: what does it mean to “walk by faith”? I struggle with this.
In order to begin “answering” my inquiry, I feel that God has helped me find, at least, a starting point. That starting point was found within the last two days as I was working through Genesis with one of my close friends, as we were working through some information about Jacob.
Consider this, I had to consider this. Jacob had no Bible. Nothing written. To where would he turn when in trials? When in fear? When anxious? I will tell you where I have turned: to the Bible. For some the following might sound blasphemous, but is turning to the Bible walking by faith, or is it walking by sight?
Don’t get me wrong and don’t misunderstand me, the Bible, God’s Word is a tremendous blessing. It is God’s special revelation. It is God’s revealed will to humanity through Moses, the Prophets, the Great Anointed One – Yeshua (Jesus), the Apostles and other Epistle writers. I would never want to be without it. But if I am reading God’s Word for affirmation of my faith am I really “walking by faith”?
Paul reasons: “the just shall live by faith” (Romans 1.17, Galatians 3.11). Each verse has its own context, but it is Galatians that I want to mediate on, because in the context of Galatians Three, Paul refers to Abraham. Like Jacob, Abraham had to really and truly walk by faith.
Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s Twelve Sons all lived prior to the written revelation from Mount Sinai, long before the prophets, way before they could pray and sing the psalms, turn to Solomon for wisdom, be encouraged by Job’s patience, long before they could read the teachings of the Messiah, be encouraged by the epistles and have a longing for the visions of heaven revealed in Revelation.
I don’t know if we American Christians begin to grasp and fully understand, “walking by faith” when we turn to the pages of the Bible for answers. These Patriarchs had no written “bible” to search. Not even the beautiful advantage of an electronic Bible program to help them search out for answers or theology. They truly walked by faith.
When they needed something they went to the Source of the Bible, El Shaddai (God Almighty), YHWH (Jehovah), the Creator Himself. We pray. We ask. We plead. But somehow for many of us, myself at times, God seems so distant, hesitant, at times unwilling. Yet, I read in Genesis, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob interacted with the Patriarchs and blessed them because they walked by faith.
Can you imagine the discussions in their households? “Dear wife, I heard from God last night, in a dream, we need to pick up, move, and to go to this next place.” Yet, the house picked up, moved, arrived at the new location, the family was blessed. Walking by faith they were. Yet, they had nothing that we recognize as a Bible.
God has tremendously blessed humanity, and bountifully guided his children with the Bible, and the Bible aids our walk of faith; but faith in the Bible does not seem to be the walk of faith. Oh to have the ability to walk in faith as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
May the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob bless my and your walk of faith.
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