I don’t like heights. Keep me on terra firma where, if I stumble, I don’t have far to fall. Additionally, I don’t like tight spaces. If I can’t stretch, move around, or see the way ahead of me, the world closes in. Both require a certain amount of faith—and faith isn’t always comfortable.
On a recent visit to Israel, I “enjoyed” several opportunities to walk on elevated areas (Masada, anyone?). Then there were places with minimal space in which to maneuver. Some dizzying pathways even had glass sections embedded so I could see what was far below! Then there was the cramped, low, and dark passage of Hezekiah’s Tunnel. Needless to say, my travels required faith to place one foot in front of the other even when my senses revolted. Of course, I enjoyed the trip immensely. What a blessing! Yet walking where Jesus walked wasn’t always easy.
Faith Versus Personal Expectations
Confronted by my evasive trust and desire to walk by sight, I reflected on our current culture. I then compared it to the strength necessary to “walk in the footsteps of Jesus.”
More and more, I get the sense we want to hear, see, feel, and sense. We seek to live by sight, expecting some grand and glorious occurrence that launches us toward some mission impossible. I could be wrong but it seems we want something more than what God has already made available. We want personal breakthrough, spiritual blessing, or divine anointing. Then when these manifestations don’t arrive as or when we expect, faith falters like me climbing the South Rampart walk atop the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.
However, a desire for sight and comfort really isn’t faith. Faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
Biblical patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and others—all trusted God unwaveringly even though “not having received the promises, but seeing them afar off” (Hebrews 11:13). Instead of inheriting the Promised Land, Abraham was buried in a cave. Rather than possessing Canaan, Isaac died deceived by one son while the other rebelliously strayed. Instead of claiming the land “flowing with milk and honey,” Jacob fled to Egypt to escape a widespread famine. Yet they all looked with eyes of faith on Him who is trustworthy in all His ways. Though they didn’t realize the promises materially, they claimed them spiritually while expecting them in eternity future.
We want breakthrough—but from what and to what?
God has already defeated death, Hell, and the devil. He has already offered freedom from the penalty, perpetuity, and power of sin. We already have the liberty to “walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). What other breakthroughs are we awaiting that He has not already made available? If He grants supernatural breakthrough, He will do so only for those capable, teachable, and surrendered for such a purpose. Typically, these are those individuals who look beyond the eventuality of some nebulous “breakthrough” and who seek only His pleasure and sovereign will.
We want blessing—but in what form beyond what God has already done?
God has already offered Jesus as our ultimate sacrifice and heaven as our eternal home. He has already given His unchanging Word as instruction for pleasing Him and assurance of His promises. What other blessings are we expecting than what He has already so graciously granted or sovereignly purposed? If He supernaturally blesses above what we already have, He will do so only for those who are passionately in love with Him and who surrender to His transformation as He pleases.
We want anointing—but to what end?
God has already anointed us with Himself, indwelt us with His Spirit, and offered His abundant life. He calls us to follow Him daily, lovingly compelling others to join us. What additional or ultra-special anointing is necessary for us to surrender, follow, and obey Him? If He supernaturally anoints, He will do so only on those faithfully and diligently pursuing Him.
Walking By Faith
Faith doesn’t demand or expect breakthroughs, blessings, anointings, or any such personal aspirations. Reliant faith relishes what God grants, when He gives it, knowing He coordinates all things, events, and people according to His purpose alone.
Christlikeness involves listening for His call while walking in surrender and immediate obedience. Petulant demands, personal expectations, and repetitive prayers won’t accelerate divine orchestration. Faith compels me to live in accordance to His revealed Word instead of anxiously awaiting some mystical vision launching my desired destiny. Walking by faith prompts me to anticipate His imminent return, allowing that reality to influence all earthly prospects. He is coming for His own, a people who walk each day not by sight or envisioned expectation but solely by faith, entrusting all to His sovereign coordination.
Letting go of the Hand-Rails
Christianity is a walk of faith—faith in what God has already promised, already given, and already done. Faith may not always be comfortable but it is impossible to please God without it (Hebrews 11:6). Anything not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). While some parts of our journey prompt us to grasp the handrails (like I did quite often!), may we learn to loosen our grip and enjoy the view in which God surrounds us.
Instead of looking for concrete evidence or holding on to personal expectations, let’s walk by faith in the light God has already given in His Word while fully trusting Him for the ultimate journey.