November 28, 2009

WALKING BY FAITH: Following the Footsteps of the Known Into the Unknown

The Word of God instructs us to “walk by faith, not by sight” (II Corinthians 5:7). I don’t know about you but when I walk I like to see where I’m going. The instruction to walk by faith doesn’t provide me much insight. I need to know the “How-To’s” of the process if I am going to succeed at it. What exactly does walking by faith mean and how exactly do I accomplish it? With this aim in mind, I will try to shed more light on the why, where, when, how and who of “walking by faith”.

Q) WHY walk by faith?

A) Because you have a Lord who by that title owns all rights to you

Walking by faith is the imperative mark of a true Christian. It is not optional. The scriptures tell us that you are not your own, you were bought with a price. And what a hefty price it was, the perfect blood of God’s only son! The Scriptures tell us “. . . do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” I Corinthians 6:19-20. You have a Lord who departed the sanctuary of Heaven to endure all persecution, mockery, pain and crucifixion for no benefit of His own. He has earned the right to your obedience without hesitation.

Q) WHERE am I supposed to walk?

A) Anywhere God leads

You are to walk anywhere God wants you to go. This may be towards church, away from certain people, into a new job or to a new town but it will certainly be one step at a time. Since building your faith is God’s agenda, He has no intention to give you advance notice of His Will. Just as He fed the Israelites manna in the desert one day at a time, likewise He will guide your path.

Q) WHEN do I stop, start or change directions along the walk of faith?

A) Walk as long it takes to remain faithful

You are to keep walking as long it takes to remain faithful to God’s Will. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” says Hebrews 13:8. He will not tell you something today and contradict Himself tomorrow. The consistency of His guidance is steadfast. Likewise, the timing of His purpose is secure. “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1. Although we do not know when the timer will stop on a certain period in our lives, everything passes in time. We are to run the race of life focused on the goal of holiness and faithfulness come what may. The Lord will end each season appropriately. He can be trusted to guide your daily steps to the right, to the left, up, or down at the appointed time. Until He pivots your steps in a different direction, continue straight where He last set your feet.

Q) HOW do I walk by faith?

A) One conversation, one meal, one life lesson at a time

Walking is the act of putting one foot in front of the other. This is true spiritually as well as physically. Faith is not accomplished in a quantum leap. Like a scavenger hunt, God gives us one message and when we complete that task a new instruction is given, each task requiring specific obedience in order for the subsequent message to follow. In order to be in the right place at the right time for each intended message, we must drink of the Lord’s Living Water and feast on the Bread of Life. “For in him we live, and move, and have our being” says Acts 17:28.

“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4) By digesting God’s Word through a daily intake of Bible study, you feed on the Bread of Life.

“He who believes in Me [Jesus], as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38.) By believing in Jesus and praying to the One in whom you believe, living waters flow through you.

Can you see the cyclical motion produced by an intake of God’s Word and an outpouring of prayer? This motion can be called, walking by faith.

Q) And finally, WHO am I following along this walk of faith?

A) The One who has gone before us; The Lord JESUS CHRIST!

Walking by faith is simply following the footsteps of the known Lord into unknown circumstances. To know Jesus is to trust Him. There is a Good Shepherd leading the way and we need know nothing more than who we are following and how much He loves us. God has not kept Jesus a secret! His footprints are well marked by sacrifice, loyalty and humility. Our lives are to be routes marked boldly by holiness. In Jesus’ footsteps we will never stray from the path of righteousness.

Our actions yet to be taken are unknown, but the instruction and the instructor we follow is well-known. Faith is a beautiful blend of the concrete with the mysterious. To focus on only the unknown fosters a feeling of aimlessness. But focusing on the known Lord and trusting His sovereignty is truly walking by faith. What more do we need to know when our loving guide knows all? With the Word of God and our constant companion Jesus, no further roadmap is needed.

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