It’s time to clear up some misconceptions about faith.
I bring this topic up because I keep seeing a bunch of Christian merchandise trinkets that say, “I will walk by faith, even when I can’t see.”
Cute, but the statement is redundant. Walking by faith IS walking when you can’t see.
What we CAN’T SEE needs to have more power, more bearing in our lives and in our decisions than what we CAN see in the physical, tangible world. Jesus is our perfect example. He lived his life ONLY doing what the Father was doing. (John 5:19) The most powerful influence in His life was His Father, not the natural realm. That’s why He could look at sickness as healed, demonic oppression as conquered and strongholds as defeated. He did this AS IF the spiritual realm was actually the realm that was visible!
As we spend time in relationship with God, the same thing happens to us. We become more and more convinced of what God is saying and doing in the unseen than of anything we are seeing in front of us. (No matter how terrible it looks — please know I don’t say this lightly… if you know our story, you know what I see in the VISIBLE realm every day would be hopeless if that’s all there was.)
So, that being said, real faith is hostile to a few things:
1. Faith is hostile to Sight.
- Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb. 11:1)
- For we walk by faith and not by sight. (2 Cor. 5:7)
Walking by faith and walking by sight are therefore two different things. One is where you see, and one is where you don’t see.
This is not a fuzzy, muddled thing. Faith is activated when you choose to believe something that cannot be naturally verified by what you see.
It’s either faith or sight. You have to choose one, and they are hostile to one another. A lifestyle of real faith is not simply and easily acquired, and can’t be just a flowery quote on a t-shirt or a mug. Faith is not for the weak. True faith will cost you everything – not that you will have to give up everything, but it’s more about the heart condition of being willing to.
Urban legend provides us with a popular definition of insanity (not a clinical definition):
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.”
This is a catchy phrase when referring to personal habits or self motivation. It downplays the idea of repeatedly doing something dumb that won’t get you anywhere.
However, it’s also the definition of FAITH…. choosing to believe over and over again in the invisible while maintaining an expectation that things will change and look different in the visible. And yes, ironically it does make you look and feel insane.
That’s because forward movement in the Kingdom looks backwards most of the time. The situations in our lives that we visibly SEE appear to be in a free fall heading to a crash and burn, while the unseen part (our spirit, our will) is gaining strength, deciding to fight, finding the will to live, gathering strength for a strike back.
If the strike back results in no change to the physical reality, we go through this invisible process over and over again and again and again, and maybe 2000 times more until we quit looking at what we see and begin to notice the progress in the unseen.
THIS is the process of faith.
And in that excruciating process we often wonder how we are still breathing and why in the world we trust God at all. It’s when we are in the free falls of life that faith is built.
2. Faith is hostile to Doubt.
You either have doubt about the future, or you have faith. Both of these are future-focused. (We can’t doubt things that have already happened. We also cannot have faith for what has already happened.)
Doubt and Faith cannot co-exist.
Doubt leads directly and quickly to fear.
Faith leads directly and quickly to confidence and peace.
Here’s the best and the hardest news: we get to choose. And every single day we do. If we don’t proactively choose faith, then doubt will be our default. There’s no in-between.
BUT, once you wake up every day and choose faith over doubt long enough, you actually can live in a place where doubt is long gone. A place where your default is now faith and you can’t remember the last time your faith was shaken. A place where you don’t have to try so hard because it’s absurd now to entertain the idea of doubting even for a second.
And it doesn’t mean life is easy or doesn’t hurt, it just means you are standing on a titanium foundation underneath what is seen that cannot be moved. Which brings me to the next point:
3. Faith is hostile to Anxiety.
Faith rests. Faith surrenders. You can’t be in a place of emotional rest and anxiety at the same time. You can’t laugh freely and be anxious at the same time. God is never anxious, only at peace. He laughs at things that we are totally anxious about. Not because he is unfeeling at all, but because he is bigger and knows the end from the beginning.
We love the David and Goliath story (in the Bible) because David didn’t see the physical reality of the immense problem. The Israelite army could only concentrate on the visible, mammoth tyrant, as he taunted them for 40 straight days. They saw the situation as hopeless and un-winnable, because the VISIBLE governs most people’s lives.
David came along and was aghast that the thing would dare to defy the army of the living God. He was 100% compelled by the spiritual reality that remained unseen over the physical reality he could see. (See 1 Samuel 18) He knew what God wanted to do, and therefore he ruled OVER the visible enemy.
4. Faith is hostile to Logical Reasoning.
If you think God is asking you to believe something or do something that makes sense to you, it’s likely not God. And if you can reason through it with human reasoning, then it’s not faith. There is not one place in the Bible where God asked someone to do something that would make sense by reasoning it through our natural filters of what is comfortable or acceptable by human logic — we cannot expect to see God work in miraculous ways when we insist on everything making sense.
So if you are living life by natural evaluation and human effort, please just don’t call it faith. That deceives and confuses people.
We were never meant to look at our circumstances and then form our decisions. We are to find out what the real truth is from God’s perspective and believe THAT, until it becomes a LIFESTYLE of living in the UNSEEN, not the SEEN.
Guys, I’m telling you — this is the most amazing place to live! It’s worth the process and the perseverance it requires.
It’s worth the fight.
(For more on the topic of faith, see ——-> The Fight to Believe)