For we walk by faith, not by sight.
– 2 Corinthians 5.7
We are all used to walking by sight – we do it every day. We drive by sight as well, and generally speaking (although a few marks on my car tell their own tale) we have great ability to estimate distances and to make decisions, whether we travel by foot, bicycle, or motor car. We look at the way ahead, we plan how fast to go, which direction to take, which obstacles to avoid, and so forth. We do all these things in an instant, with the wonderful co-working of our eyes, brains, and limbs. We don’t really ‘think’, we just ‘do’. If we had to think every process through it would take forever!
The Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians, is speaking spiritually. In our lives on earth, which are pictured as a journey, he says ‘we walk by faith’. Perhaps we know these words well, but a reminder never goes amiss. It follows that in the Christian life it is a great mistake to rely only upon what we can see. Paul says only a few lines before: ‘For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.’
So when you wake up on Monday morning and all you can ‘see’ is another week of school, or work, or ill-health, or family problems, remember, it is what you cannot see that matters. When you come to chapel and you are discouraged because your eyes tell you that there are less here than there were in former days, then be reminded to walk by faith. Don’t take encouragement from what you can see. Take it from what you know. Take it from whom you know. We are in the midst of a spiritual battle between the Lord of Glory and His enemies. We know who He is, and we know that He will be victorious because of who He is, and what He has done for needy sinners.
You see empty pews? Your eyes are not deceiving you – we have a few of those. But don’t walk the Christian life based on such sight. Only a handful of years ago, you may remember that there were full pews. But how do you know that anything more was happening then than is happening now? Full pews don’t mean spiritual growth, or conversions to Christ. Full pews don’t equal blessing, although they may result from it!
Brothers and Sisters, let us walk, together, by faith. We know our King, Who will win the battle and have all things underneath His feet. Be encouraged – trust Him, place your faith in Him, exercise this faith in prayer and faithful service, and the pathway ahead will surely emerge, step-by-step, day-by-day, according to our need, until our faith gives way to perfect sight.