Not by Sight
There is certainly a lot of indecisiveness over what exactly it means to “walk by faith and not by sight;” I cannot say how many articles I have read that say it means this, or that. What does it mean, though? What exactly is the significance that scripture has in our lives? Can we close our eyes and walk in a straight line without tripping over anything? Or is it more correct to say that it means we should not look to things of this world, but to God?
Whether you actually try to close your eyes and walk is of no importance, though I would assume that it will not come without consequence; I’m no fan of stubbing my toe! God tends to tell us what He tells in such a way that those who are not looking seriously can very easily misconstrue what He is saying; a tactic that quite successfully helps to separate the wheat from the tares, if you will.
It does have great significance concerning sight though, and certainly holds true to the concept of being “blind” in a manner of speaking; it is not by my own eyes that I pursue anything, not by my own sight that I move forward in life, but by the very truth of God am I sustained in all that I do. This goes right along with the scriptures in PROVERBS 3:5-6, which say to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil.”
Of course if I closed my eyes and started walking the Lord could certainly guide me, if He desired as much, and I should absolutely look to Him as opposed to the things of the world! This goes much deeper than that, though! To say that I do not live my life of my own accord, but by everything that God tells me to do, is more accurate!
I love the way that John Wesley puts it, when talking about this very thing, he says that “All our external senses are evidently adapted to this external, visible world. They are designed to serve us only while we sojourn here, — while we dwell in these houses of clay.” Truthfully, all of our human senses are adapted for life in the physical world, but these are not the only senses that we are given; those that are truly born again are gifted with new senses, spiritual senses which are made effective in us via the Holy Spirit Who dwells in us.
We look to these senses, that we are given in our flesh when we are born, for everything that we do! We become absolutely and utterly dependent upon them in order to function in everyday life! Take away one of these and we become “disabled;” having a physical or mental condition that limits movements, senses, or activities. It is much the same with our spiritual senses, if we lack one the others have to compensate and may be stronger than average, but we are still lacking a very important sense that we require in order to function in a proper spiritual manner.
The Word of God refers to our physical senses several times in order to give us a view of what our spiritual senses do, and are!
EPHESIANS 1:18 says, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” showing us that our spiritual sight comes from understanding; an understanding that is VERY different from the worldly concept of understanding! Godly understanding can be likened to obedience in many ways, even likened to “good judgment” in some texts. Even as it says in PROVERBS 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” and in JOB 28:28 “And this is what He says to all humanity: The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.'”
Likewise we are shown that we hear with spiritual ears, as we find in JOHN 10:27, which says that “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” which stands as a great example of how we are given the ability to hear Christ and the Spirit! This can be likened to the verse in JOHN 14:26, in which Christ says that “But when the Father sends the Advocate as My representative —that is, the Holy Spirit— He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” That our spiritual sense of hearing is more like remembrance; thoughts, words, truths brought to our attention by the Spirit in our minds and hearts is an accurate statement. This is made VERY clear in ROMANS 10:17, which tells us that ” faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ”
So we walk by faith, and faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ. Be patient, this really isn’t as confusing as it may sound! Let me explain that verse in ROMANS 10:17; the words “hearing and hearing by” are telling us that faith comes FROM hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word about Christ. Consequently then, faith comes from opening the Bible and reading. But that is sight, right? If I am reading? How can sight be hearing? Don’t worry, you’re not wrong! Sight and hearing are two very different senses, in the physical world! Here, however, the hearing that he mentions in the text DOES come by seeing the Word that we are reading, but is clearly talking about “taking it in,” and not only so, but also retaining it once we have!
He also references the senses of touch and taste in His Word to make it easier for us to understand how the Spiritual concepts that they are compared to can be applied in our lives! God is all about symbolism! Learn to study that symbolism, and find the meaning behind it and you’ll do well! Don’t let yourself become impatient, or overwhelmed! He does not make it difficult for us; if we are willing to put in the time and the effort we can certainly quite easily learn the comparisons and how to apply these principals in our lives!
So what is faith then? is it truly a lack of sight? I would say yes, it absolutely is! Not in the physical sense to the extreme that we actually lose our physical sight and become blind, rather that we live our lives based on God’s truths and walk the paths that HE lays out for us and not the paths of our own choosing. In my experience, to live by faith is to live absent of myself; void of my own desires, my own opinions, my own aspirations, and anything that I might look to with my eyes, and allowing God to determine where I go and what I do! To make Him my sight, not my eyes, and to live my life according to His commands and not according to what I see!
When we live according to ourselves, and not according to Him we are certainly not in line with what He commands, which is that we deny ourselves and follow Him — look to MATTHEW 16:24, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow Me.” — in not doing this as He tells us to, we put ourselves in a position that is the opposite of walking by faith; as long as I am looking to things of the world and of myself for guidance then my eyes (spiritual) are not walking by faith, but by sight! On the other hand when I stop counting on my own ideas and opinions, and those of the people and the world around me for guidance, setting my eyes (attention) on God, faith begins to become what determines where I walk and how I do so.
Faith IS what helps us not only to listen to the Words of God, but to be obedient! It is not simply to believe but, because we believe, faith urges us act on that belief!
I would truthfully LOVE to keep writing on this, as there is so much that can be said on this subject, but I will have to leave it here for now! My break is nearly over, so I do have to get back to work. I hope that you are blessed by this!
If you have any questions, comments, or anything else please feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org, and I would love to discuss this more, answer any questions, or respond to any comments!
Have a great day, and God bless!