Walk by faith, not by sight

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Yes. One of the most well-known concepts of our Christian faith is this, “Walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) But have you stopped lately to ponder what this really means? I recently preached a sermon on this and I’ll share some thoughts from that sermon with you here.

Let’s start with the second part, “Not by sight.” Why do we Christians not walk by sight? Just for the sake of a simple outline, I’ll use each letter in “S-I-G-H-T” to bring out some important concepts.

Why do we not walk by sight?

S is for “Self.” Let’s be clear. To be self-directed or to be a self-starter and other such positive characteristics are commendable, and not what I reference here. This “self” is the self that either pushes God to a much lesser position or forgets about Him altogether.

This is the self that says, “I know better than God. I don’t want to be under His authority. I don’t want to abide by His will. I’m my own boss, and my only boss.” Tragically, this can only cause self-destruction and worse. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

I is for “Intellect.” Again, there is nothing wrong with learning and knowledge, but this “intellect” is the one that likewise imposes one’s own human conclusions above the Truth which God has already revealed in His Holy Scriptures. This intellect makes all things “relative” and denounces that there is an absolute truth, which comes through God’s Word. This also is tragic and dangerous. “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight.” (Isaiah 5:21) Remember, the “Woe” here is warning of wrath and punishment from God.

G is for “Gloom and doom.” If we go through life only seeing the world through our human perspective, we will only come to the conclusion that everything is gloom and doom, decaying, and destined for destruction. The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes is full of references about the gloom and doom of existence without God on The Throne.

H is for “Hate is the result.” Ecclesiastes concludes that life from only human perspective results in only hatred for the world. “Vanity! All is vanity!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2) “Vanity” here is not taking a second look in your mirror to see if your hair is just right, but rather it means “purposelessness, worthlessness.” Left to our own vision, we would hate the world, and as James affirms, we would even hate God. “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity (hatred) for God.” (James 4:4)

T is for “Terrible life.” All of these self-centered ways of living can only lead to this outcome, a terrible, cold, unfulfilling, and destructive daily existence. How sad. And it gets even worse. “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) That’s death now and for eternity. All of this adds up to our well-spoken admonition, “Walk…not by sight!”

But we turn now to the first part, “Walk by faith.” What does it look like to do this? Well, it looks marvelous and great! Let’s take a look at “F-A-I-T-H.”

F is for “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Jesus commissioned us to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the one true God. (Matthew 28:20) In our baptism we are made children of God and inheritors of eternal life. Walking by faith is to “walk wet,” knowing that we are God’s baptized children, secure in His love for us with the full joy of all that entails, now and forever.

A is for “Acknowledge.” Knowing the love of our Heavenly Father, and knowing that His Son, Jesus, died for us to forgive us all our sins, and rose again that we, too, might have eternal life, we can honestly and boldly acknowledge and confess our sins, and be set free to live a life of peace and loving service to others. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (Romans 7:18,24)

I is for “Insight.” Our greatest insight is our “Biblical World View.” This includes our knowledge of our fallen sinful world, our need for a Savior, God’s great fulfillment of our salvation in Christ, and our knowledge of His Way and His Will for our lives. Our Biblical World View empowers us to override the temptation that others fall into which perverts what life is truly about and how it is truly lived. Jesus said, “If you abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

T is for “Trust.” What does this “trust” mean? For just a few phrases that help: count on God, depend on God, hope in God, look to God, expect God to be with you, bank on God for all things, confide in God, place confidence in His love and protection, and rely on God for your life now and even through eternity. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

H is for “Happy Life!” The life we live as we walk by faith is a life that is full of joy, contentment, delight, perseverance, strength, positivity, comfort, gladness, gratification, rejoicing, and thanksgiving, just to name of few of our blessings. No other way of waking through life can even come close to delivering the kind of life we live when we walk in our faith in the one true God, who is our Creator, our Savior, and the One who keeps us walking with Him. “In Your presence there is fullness of joy.” Psalm 16:11

My prayer for you is that you are walking by this faith. All of us must recognize when we’re walking by sight, and pray that God would once again, or for the first time, lead and guide us into the blessed walk, to walk by faith. Amen!

[Kollmeyer, a Fayette County resident for 35 years, is Pastor Emeritus at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Fayetteville. Follow Pastor Scott Ness and this great church at www.princeofpeacefayette.org. Kollmeyer is also Interim Pastor at Word of God Lutheran Church in Sharpsburg. Find his weekly video recorded sermons at www.woglutheran.org.]