GraceLife Church of Pineville

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Live by Faith: See with Faith (Part 2)

Table of Contents

The Nature of Our Walk

“We walk by faith, not by sight,” Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 5:7.

Suppose I were to tell you to walk to the front of the room you’re in. But before you start walking, what if I ask, “What are you going to use to walk there?” You’d probably answer with “my feet” or “my legs.” And you wouldn’t be wrong. But what if I said, “Okay, you can use your legs and feet, but before you start walking, close your eyes.”

This hypothetical exchange illustrates what Paul is trying to say about our lives. His picture of walking isn’t about literally walking, of course. But it’s useful imagery depicting the nature of Christian living.

We’re called to a certain direction, but we could stumble if we walk in the wrong manner—that is, by sight instead of by faith.

Our journey, our life, our walk, is by faith.

Some translations translate 2 Corinthians 5:7 as “We live by faith” instead of “We walk by faith.”1Italics are mine. The NIV, for example, uses “live” instead of “walk,” as the ESV and NASB both use. English obscures the connection between these two words.

The world hears that verse and assumes we take blind leaps—that we foolishly hold on to fantasies and willingly walk not by sight, which makes it seem even more foolish. But what we know is this: this not-by-sight life is not blindness. We might not navigate by sight, but we do not lack vision. We see with faith. Faith is not just part of our life; it is our life. We have staked everything on something—that is, on Someone—which we have not seen.

We might not navigate by sight, but we do not lack vision. We see with faith.

If you are living by faith, you have committed and are committing your past, present, and future life on the unseen. Believing what we’ve heard to be true, we must look at our lives through lenses of faith in order to hold steadfast in our hopes.

It isn’t always easy. It’s often hard.

  • It’s hard in bad times to faith (to believe)2In this series, we have been using the word “faith” as not only a noun but also as a verb. Scripturally speaking, “believe” and “faith” have the same root word. To faith something (e.g., to faith God) means to believe. that God will be good to us.
  • It’s hard in good times to faith that it has been God—all along—granting us good.
  • It’s hard to faith when we see no evidence of our prayers being answered.
  • It’s hard to faith that, when we are suffering, God is both aware and concerned.

The foundation I set in the previous message on seeing with faith helped us to understand why our ongoing faith is logical, once we’ve given our initial assent to entrust our eternal lives to Jesus. Then, the subsequent stubborn faith you have isn’t a refusal to see; rather, it’s a conscious choice for conformity to a worldview that you previously committed to.  

The … stubborn faith you have isn’t a refusal to see; rather, it’s a conscious choice for conformity to a worldview that you previously committed to.  

On this sort of obstinacy, we remember C. S. Lewis’s words: “If our original belief is true, such trust beyond the evidence, against much apparent evidence, has to be demanded of us.” Lewis wrote those words after reminding us that “We trust not because ‘a God’ exists, but because this God exists.”3C. S. Lewis, “On Obstinacy in Belief” (fall 1955), available at In print form, this article appears in Lewis’s collection The World’s Last Night: And Other Essays.

We associate writers like Lewis with apologetics, and we jump to the idea of defending our faith against others. For our purposes here, let’s focus our attention inward—a focus not on a defense of our faith against another. Let’s remind ourselves of the nature of our walk.

Self-aimed Stubbornness

Sometimes this obstinacy or stubbornness in faith (which we spoke about extensively in the last sermon) must be put into use against our own thoughts.

We must refuse the notion that we’ve been floating along in the breeze.

We must believe that this God in whom we’ve believed has been involved in our past and will—yes, even wants to—be involved in our future.

Believing and feeling that truth are two different things. We might believe it without feeling it. We saw evidence of that in a story told in both Matthew 17:14–21 and Mark 9:14–29.

The story tells of the disciples’ inability to cast out a demon and save a child who was being tormented by evil forces. We talked in a previous sermon about what this story says about the disciples’ faith and lack of faith, and then what Jesus had to say about that. But there’s a verse in Mark’s version that tells us something about the faith of the boy’s father. It’s the verse in this story that is perhaps the most striking and comforting. Here’s the story:

They brought the boy to Him. When he saw Him, immediately the spirit threw him into a convulsion, and falling to the ground, he began rolling around and foaming at the mouth. And He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” And Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:20–24)

I believe; help my unbelief. It’s okay to take an honest prayer like that and apply it to our faith walk. That boy’s father might have prayed something like this: “I do believe. I’m trusting my eternity to Jesus. But in this temporary home, I need help with my unbelief. Because what I see is my beloved boy being destroyed by Hell. What I see is unrelenting torture. What I see is pain at every turn. If it’s not fire, it’s the water. So, if you can . . .”

And here’s where Jesus reminds us of the nature of our walk—and perhaps even encourages us to see with faith. We are encouraged to take control of our thoughts and speech, holding an attitude of faith, both thinking and speaking in faith. We’re to think and speak in faith, Romans 10 teaches, “for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (v. 10). We do so not because faith is a power,4The idea that faith itself has power is a false teaching. It’s the Object of our faith that has power. but because faith is the walk to which we are called, and it is where blessing resides. It is where salvation lives.

This passage in Romans is not for the unbeliever but for the believer who is already righteous and who, from his position of righteousness, now has the privilege of calling upon the name of the Lord and receiving deliverance at every moment of the walk.

Thinking (believing with the heart) and speaking (confessing with the mouth) in faith: It is your righteousness; it is your salvation in this life and the next.

Remember the Realm of Faith

As we consider what it means to see with faith, we must remember the realm of faith. That realm is revealed in Hebrews 11:1, which is not so much a definition of faith as a description of the realm in which faith operates:

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

The realm of faith is hoped-for things, unseen things. And the author of Hebrews connects it in a profound way at the end of chapter 11, which is often known as the faith hall of fame for its chronicling of faithful men and women of God from throughout Scripture. Here’s what the last two verses of the chapter say:

And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:39–40)

The Bible translations obscure the profound aspect of this passage by use of the word “provided.” That translation is not wrong, but the original word used there means “to foresee,” or to see beforehand.

Our faith is conviction of the unseen (Hebrews 11:1) because our conviction is directed toward the Person who not only sees but who has foreseen everything (v. 40). We see with faith in the realm of the unseen as we hear from the One who is all-seeing.

We see with faith in the realm of the unseen as we hear from the One who is all-seeing.

Recalling the Past to See with Faith Moving Forward

My challenge to you is to see with faith moving forward.


The best and biblical way to do that is to consciously recall the past.

As the Israelites were being led forward, toward the Promised Land, God said, “Remember this day in which you went out from Egypt, from the house of slavery; for by a powerful hand the Lord brought you out from this place” (Exodus 13:3).

What an honest and odd mixture: It’s the power of the Lord to deliver, but (no revisionist history here!), you had it rotten—you were a slave; and yet, the Lord saw that and was in that, too.

Recalling the faithfulness of the Lord in your past is soul care.

Recalling the faithfulness of the Lord in your past is soul care. We saw that in Exodus and now we will see it in Deuteronomy, which puts it this way:

Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons. (Deuteronomy 4:9)

We tend to forget the things we do see—how much more the things in the realm of faith that we don’t see!

We tend to forget the things we do see—how much more the things in the realm of faith that we don’t see!

The Israelites of the Old Testament hadn’t made it very far after being delivered through miracles from the hands of the Egyptians when they were already grumbling and complaining—forgetting about what God had done for them. We, too, tend to forget what God has done for us.

We learn from the Deuteronomy verse that recalling the faithfulness of the Lord is a blessing not only to us but to future generations (children and their children). It’s soul care for yourself and for future generations to be able to say, “This is how the Lord was faithful to me/my family.” Or if you don’t have that testimony, maybe it’s about how you have begun a new generation of faithfulness. Regardless, recalling the faithfulness of the Lord is important.  

Here’s one more Old Testament example. In 1 Samuel 7, we find the Israelites had been unfaithful, and God (through the prophet Samuel) is calling them to return to Him. (Remember, in our first discussion on strengthening faith, that was the first step to strengthen faith—return to God if you’ve been faithless.) They were to return to the Lord from the seat of faith, the heart, and direct it toward God.

From the day that the ark remained at Kiriath-jearim, the time was long, for it was twenty years; and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.

Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the Lord with all your heart, remove the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your hearts to the Lord and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” (1 Samuel 7:2–3)

In the next verses, Israel fights against the Philistines and are victorious. Notice what Samuel does:

Now Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, and the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day against the Philistines and confused them, so that they were routed before Israel. The men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and struck them down as far as below Beth-car.

Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” (1 Samuel 7:10–12)

Samuel took a stone of help, a marker that people could see, as a physical reminder that the Lord had helped them up to that point. He called the stone “Ebenezer.”

We can do the same thing. We can set up our own Ebenezer stones—our own markers of faith that say, “To this point, the Lord has helped me.” This is what the old hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” means when it says, “Here I raise my Ebenezer; /  hither by thy help I’m come.”5Lyrics by Robert Robinson (1758).

Ebenezer Stone Exercise

Download the sheet at the button below to do this exercise. Or use a notebook or journal and write out at the top:

I faith (believe) that …
I followed in faith …

Next, begin to write out what God has done for you. You might start with the very beginning of your life (conception in the womb), based on Psalm 139:

  • I faith that “You formed my inward parts; You wove me together in my mother’s womb. … I am fearfully and wonderfully made. … My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” (vv. 13, 14b, 15–16)

Remember, you may not feel wonderfully made; maybe your body has failed you in certain ways. But there’s a difference between feeling something and believing it. We strengthen our faith when we think and speak in faith. We can declare our commitment to something God has declared to be true even if we don’t feel it to be true.

Another example might be to use these words of Paul from the book of Acts:

  • I faith that “You determined my appointed time and boundaries to seek You and find You, and You are not far from me.” (Acts 17:26–27)

Next, you might write:

  • I followed in faith … (write the date when you first believed and/or when you were baptized).

You could then list out ways God has been faithful to your family throughout its history. It’s fascinating to go through your genealogy, if you have time and opportunity, and consider what we call “close calls” in history—times when a great-grandparent almost died, when a family line was almost cut off, etc. We can then thank God for His faithfulness down through the generations—in the good times and the bad.

God orchestrated a lot of things for you to be here where you are now. And when we recall His faithfulness, not only in our personal lives but in those of our ancestors (near and distant), we will see more with faith as we look to our present and our future.