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Spiritual Insights

Walking by Faith

What does it mean to “walk by faith” and how does it differ from the statement to “live by faith”? Where does this concept come from anyway?

Most Christians will quote the Apostle Paul’s writings to the churches in Rome (Romans 1:17) and Galatia (Galatians 3:11) as the source for these words, though it is also included in the Letter to the Hebrews (Hebrews 10:38, arguably also written by the Apostle Paul), but it is clear in each of these epistles that Paul is quoting from elsewhere. So, where did Paul get this? He got it from the prophet Habakkuk.

Interestingly, this statement in Habakkuk is actually a direct word from the Lord Who is speaking to Habakkuk when He contrasts the just (or righteous believer) with the proud. God says that the proud man’s “soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4 NKJV). Paul actually adds another aspect to this concept in his letter to the Corinthians when he writes, “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV). It’s this additional aspect that I want to focus on now.

What does it mean to walk by faith, and how does it differ from living by faith? Furthermore, what does Paul’s phrasing “not by sight” mean? Actually, the word “walk” is intended as a metaphor for living, as in walking through our lives day by day until the end, so there really is no difference between the intent of the words “walk” and “live” in these two statements. As for the phrase “not by sight,” this means that we don’t allow visible circumstances to alter our faith’s invisible reality.

To walk or live by faith means multiple things, such as letting our faith in Christ direct our daily lives, which is what most believers understand this to mean, but there’s a deeper meaning here that too many Christian believers are ignorant of. This deeper meaning applies the definition of faith given in Hebrews 11:1 (“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”) to the practice of overcoming negative circumstances in our lives.

For instance, if God has given us a miraculous healing from a sickness in our bodies and then the symptoms return sometime thereafter, we are faced with a crisis of faith as to whether we have lost our healing. The believer who lives by faith will choose to focus on the fact of the miraculous healing rather than on the apparently new symptoms of the disease and refuse to accept that the disease has returned. This is one of Satan’s cleverest tactics for stealing one’s healing (or anything else God has given us, for that matter).

To live by faith in this context then is to look not at the natural circumstances in which we find ourselves (what we see with our physical eyes) but rather to look at the spiritual reality (what we can see with our spiritual eyes) that exists beyond the physical reality. The spiritual reality is that we were healed, despite what the apparent physical reality may be trying to convince us to believe. The actual reality will therefore become whichever we choose to accept, whether the spiritual reality of the healing God gave us or the seeming physical reality which Satan is foisting upon us to deceive and dissuade us from believing in and retaining the spiritual reality.

I realize this sounds confusing, but try to look at it this way. The physical symptoms which seem to have returned are a mirage. They appear to be real, and maybe they even feel real, but they are not real. After all, were you previously healed of the disease or not? There’s where you need to focus your faith! If you know the healing was real when you received it, then continue to focus your faith on its reality, rather than on the mirage that Satan is using to attempt to steal your healing. If you give in and accept that because the symptoms have returned the disease has returned, then Satan wins and you lose your healing. The symptoms will remain and, for all intents and purposes, the disease has returned.

However, if you reject the symptoms as the satanic attack that they are and refuse to believe that the disease has returned by continually reminding yourself of the fact of your healing, the symptoms will eventually go away and you will keep your healing. You might even rephrase the Apostle Peter’s words at the end of 1 Peter 2:24 to apply directly to yourself by saying something like this: “Get away from me, Satan! By Jesus’ stripes I HAVE BEEN HEALED, and you can’t take that away from me!” This very exercise proves the truth of the words in Hebrews 11:1 and 2 Corinthians 5:7.

This same principle of exercising faith works with anything else God has given us from the spiritual realm to the physical realm, too. Remember, Jesus said Satan’s MO is to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10), and Satan has been a liar and a murderer from the start (John 8:44), so don’t believe his lies, NO MATTER WHAT!

 

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Spiritual Insights

A Matter of Faith

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 NKJV).

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“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV).

Many Christians can quote these Bible verses with ease, but they tend to miss the meaning wrapped up in them. Because of Hebrews 11:1, faith is perceived as some nebulous, intangible idea that one must accept in order to be a believer, but it is so much more than that. It is true that one cannot be a true believer without putting one’s faith in God, but how do we really put our faith in God? Until you can answer that question satisfactorily, you will find yourself faithless, lost, and at the mercy of adversity in your life.

Basically, faith is having full confidence in someone or something. “Full confidence” means having no doubt that someone or something can do what is promised. We put full confidence in the furniture we sit on or lie on, in the machines we use to achieve our goals and desires, and sometimes in the people we respect as capable of doing what they say.

So, what does it mean to have “full confidence” in God? Well, it means that we take Him at His Word and do not doubt His capability to perform what He promises in His Word. There’s where the real rub comes in, because so many people claim to have faith or full confidence in God and His Word without even knowing what His Word promises or without giving His Word the respect it deserves. If you truly believe that it is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18; Titus 1:2), then when you read in God’s Word (The Holy Bible) that He will do a certain thing, you will have no doubt that He will do what He has said. There are times in God’s Word where He puts a contingency on a promise, such as in John 15:7, so if it appears God is not keeping His promise, we need to re-examine the circumstances to see what is preventing God’s promise from being fulfilled. It is certainly not God Who is faithless in such cases, but we are the faithless ones!

One of the biggest hurdles many people have to overcome, whether they are professing Christians or unbelievers who are seeking for truth, is whether to accept The Holy Bible as God’s written Word inspired by His Holy Spirit. It all comes down to a matter of faith. Since the Bible has never been disproved on even one point, but rather it has been proven time and again by people who start out to disprove something in it, only to become fully convinced of its truthfulness in the end, is it worthy of our full confidence? Granted, there are some translational vagaries that have crept into the various translations of the Bible over the centuries which have diluted its truth in some places, but a diligent search of the original languages in which the Bible was written will clarify any of these points. With such marvelous technological inventions as the computer, you don’t have to know Hebrew or Greek in order to search out these points. All you need is an electronic Bible with the words in your native language linked to the words in the original Bible language to compare meanings. One excellent electronic Bible that is also FREE is e-Sword by Rick Meyers.

Accepting the Bible as Personally-inspired by God’s Holy Spirit is the first step to securing your faith in God and His promises. After all, where are the promises of God found, other than in The Holy Bible? If you’ve been visited by some spirit being claiming something contrary to what the Bible says, then you know you are dealing with an evil spirit which is not to be believed. If you’ve listened to a preacher or teacher anywhere who is telling you something different from what the Bible says, you know you are dealing with an evil spirit which is using a human being as an instrument of evil. This does not necessarily mean that  such a preacher or teacher is evil or has evil intentions, because it is possible for preachers and teachers to be misled or to misinterpret Scriptural statements or to be ignorant of certain aspects in God’s Word (compare this idea with what happened in Matthew 16:13-23 and Acts 18:24-26). So, we need to be very cautious about either trusting a preacher or teacher blindly or condemning him or her as a false teacher based on one erroneous presentation. If after we’ve tried to correct them about something they still reject the truth, however, then we should distance ourselves from them.

The Bible even tells us how to discern when evil spirits are attempting to deceive us. John tells us: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world” (1 John 4:3 NKJV).

Accepting The Holy Bible as the Personally-inspired Word of God is just the first step to securing your relationship with Jesus Christ and your place in His eternal Kingdom. The next step is trusting everything the Bible commands us to believe and do, including such fundamental truths as the creation story (no, God did not combine evolution with His created order and then leave everything to its own devices). Rejecting what the Bible says about anything is tantamount to calling God a liar. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “… Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar….” (Romans 3:3-4 NKJV). The Apostle John even goes so far as to say, “… he who does not believe God has made Him a liar….” (1 John 5:10 NKJV). While John is writing specifically about faith in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for our sins, I think we can rightly extrapolate this truth and apply it to anything else God has said, including how the world was created and such supernatural events as Jonah being swallowed by a great fish for three days and the Red Sea parting for 2-3 million Israelites to cross over on dry land, and many other astounding facts from the Bible narrative. Whether or not to accept all this and put our full confidence in it as TRUTH really is a matter of faith.

Now, are you a true believer? Do you accept The Holy Bible as the inspired Word of God and believe everything it says happened exactly as it says? It’s one thing to have questions about how these things could have happened as the Bible depicts them, but it’s another matter entirely to discount them because they’re impossible in the natural. That’s the whole point! God is supernatural, so most of His wondrous deeds as described in the Bible are supernatural, too! If you can’t accept and put your full confidence in such things as this, how can you believe in a God you’ve never seen? Jesus asked Nicodemus this question: “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3:12 NKJV). Good question!

God wants to be believed. The salvation of our very souls depends on whether we believe what God says. As Paul recounted the story of Abraham’s faith, he wrote, “For what does the Scripture say? ‘ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS ACCOUNTED TO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS'” (Romans 4:3 NKJV). In fact, I recommend you read the entire Book of Romans in the Bible, but Romans 4:1-5:2 is particularly apropos to my point here. Put your trust in God by believing what God says in His Word, The Holy Bible. Not only is it a matter of faith, but it’s a matter of everlasting life and everlasting death!