Posted by: mikenicholsblog | September 7, 2012

by faith [insert your name here]

Just this morning I read a verse of scripture that was easy to agree with intellectually. My problem is practicing what I believe about the verse. I am sure that you could quickly recite verses that cause you the same contradictions. They are words that are lived by faith, and accomplished only by the hand of God. Quite frankly, our minds agree with the words, but in our heart and with our hands we struggle with them. It’s my opinion that the experience of most Christ followers is too much intellectual assent and too little purposeful application when verses seem contradictory (although they never are). Test yourself with the following:

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. — II Cor 4:18(a)

We live by faith, not by sight. — II Cor 5:7

For when I am weak, then I am strong. — II Cor 12:10(b)

Paul, the writer of II Corinthians, was a man who had struggles just like us, but he lived with purpose. He embraced his weaknesses and lived in single-minded devotion to the will of God. I don’t think for a moment that he never failed at living by faith. What I do believe is that he grasped the significance of eternal realities, and therefore lived with his eyes firmly fixed on the unseen.

Our culture drives us to live by sight, and only speak about our faith. I am convinced that with just a quick moment of introspection we would all agree that on issues of faith, living by sight is far more comfortable and appealing. But that is not the way God has designed for us to live! He wants us to live with hearts that trust Him for what we cannot see at this moment. Remember “by faith Noah…”, “by faith Abraham…”, “by faith Joseph…” and “by faith Moses?”  (read Hebrews 11 and the 11 others that are specifically named)

Think about what you are battling just today. You may be searching for a new job, praying for your home to sell, praying for a son or daughter to return to their faith, or asking God to move a mountain in your life. Have you noticed the tendency to become sight driven by your concerns? Paul’s example challenges us to be faith driven.

All Christ-followers have built their hope for eternity on faith. Doesn’t it make sense that we can live daily with faith in the One who redeemed us? Sure, it may sometimes seem like a contradiction to live by faith, fix our eyes on the unseen and believe that our strength is in our weakness. But when the Father saved you, the rules for living changed. Note your life through these words from A.W. Tozer:

“A real Christian is an odd number anyway. He feels supreme love for one whom he has never seen; talks familiarly every day to someone he cannot see; expects to go to heaven on the virtue of another; empties himself in order to be full; admits he is wrong so he can be declared right; goes down in order to get up; is strongest when he is weakest; richest when he is poorest; and happiest when he feels the worst. He dies so he can live; forsakes in order to have; gives away so he can keep; sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, and knows that which passes knowledge. The man who has met God is not looking for anything; he has found it. He is not searching for light, for upon him the light has already shined. His certainty may seem bigoted, but his assurance is that of one who knows by experience his religion is not hearsay. He is not a copy, not a facsimile. He is an original from the hand of the Holy Spirit.”

Could I challenge you, even for just one day, to look at every obstacle through the eyes of faith? Although it may sometimes seem that God has designed our experience in faith to be one of contradictions, that is only true through the eyes of our human understanding.  He can be trusted.  Just know that in that trusting the Father, life is going to appear confusing and backwards at times.  But when we live by faith, embracing our weaknesses and trusting our Father’s directions, we never need to fear.

Read scripture, breathe scripture, walk scripture, trust scripture.  Live by faith, not by sight.

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