Walking without sight

for we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Cor 5:7)

This verse’s context is awaiting our eternity; until we die the first death, we must walk by faith and not sight.

This has been a theme for me as I have studied Deuteronomy again in preparation for teaching it this month. It is also a theme God has been stretching me in. But the good news, for those of us walking with God, is found in verse 5 of this passage:

He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. (2 Cor 5:5).

The Spirit is our guarantee of the life that is to come. He is also the One that enables us to walk without stumbling during this short season of blindness. It is His voice that must be our guide – even when it goes against all our natural instincts and human understanding.

The Spirit guides us along the path God has for us. God gives us some further helps as well, which are strongly reflected in the book of Deuteronomy. Here are a few of the gems He is giving me from Deuteronomy:

  • Trust in God’s character plays a large part in walking by faith. The Word of God is our guide to God’s character and then personal experience cements our understanding of His worthiness of our trust.
  • Understanding of God’s character leads us to love Him and it is from love that obedience flows most successfully. It is easy to obey a loving Father.
  • Remembrance of God’s past faithfulness also increases our faith in Him and breeds further trust and reliance on God.

This year God has stretched our faith in Him to provide on time. In fact, throughout my life walking by faith God has always perfectly matched provision to need. This past season He has deepened the lesson that we can afford to give hilariously (2 Cor 9:7 – cheerful can be rendered “hilarious”) where He leads us because it isn’t our money, but His, and He has plenty more in His storehouse for our needs! We have had several large provisional breakthroughs this year; all supernatural and all on the back of obeying His call to give in an extravagant manner (for our personal income and possessions) that had us laughing with incredulity!

He had also had us step out in faithful obedience to chase a ministry vision that is impossible without God’s input. Remembering Him doing the same in my life when calling me to co-found Redefined Ministries DRCongo and pioneer YWAMs Bible School in Rwanda is a good example of remembrance building future faith. I hold on to how these two ministries have grown since their birth when I am discouraged by lack of  (perceived) momentum in this current season. Again, Glenn and I are walking by faith and not sight in this area as we put money into converting our home into a mission hub, able to host visiting mission teams.

Walk by faith in God

It seems that God hasn’t finished with my lesson in this area yet. We fly out on a mission trip Thursday, but are still awaiting a passport to arrive. We both have peace not to change flights or make other plans, yet it is stretching us! Walking by sight would be allowing anxiety to creep in, change flights, or make alternative plans. Waking by faith means holding firm to the peace God has placed in our hearts that Thursday is our flying date. Again, remembering past lessons helps somewhat. I am racking up quite a few last minute miracle stories, but two memorable ones include:

  1. My first Rwandan visa coming through so last minute that I had taken a flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg without it and had to run to my gate with my check-in luggage on my person.
  2. My son’s visa for a trip last year coming 10 minutes after the close of business day on the last business day before we flew.

I hope this post is an encouragement to some of you who might be trusting God for things that seem impossible by the physics or understanding of this world. Let’s keep in step with the Spirit, walking by faith and not sight!

 

As an addition (02/10/2018):

God came through with the passport and we are all set to go.

Last night and this morning He challenged me with these questions: “What is your understanding of Me and My character? Am I the Living God? Am I a God who keeps His Word? Have I not promised you it will come? Will you trust in Me and My word?” Yes, I trust Him and His word.

It was no longer a question of whether or not I should go; God had spoken to me that I should go on this trip. It had become a question of trust and – I felt God saying that, because I had written the blog post – it had also become a matter of His faithfulness to His Word. It had become about His character, not whether I had heard Him correctly. And, as we see, He is a God who keeps His Word. He is the Living God! 

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The Happiness Myth

“Nothing is worth it if you’re not happy” said a post on Facebook the other day. This seems to be a commonly held view in society, but I beg to disagree. Let the world pursue happiness, Christians have something better – joy. Joy in the Lord is our sustenance. Unlike happiness, joy springs within us independent of circumstances.

Consider what Apostle Paul endured:

but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. (2 Corinthians 6:4-10).

Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. (2 Corinthians 11:23-30).

Yet Paul could declare:

. . . In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy. (2 Corinthians 7:4).

James agreed with Paul:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4).

Joy enables us to consider the needs of others, taking the focus off of our own needs:

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. (2 Corinthians 8:1-5).

We are called to a life of joy in the Spirit, not a life of happiness. I can testify that the season where the most people have commented on seeing my joy was during the season of greatest heartache. They weren’t seeing a feeling that came of circumstance, but an inner condition gifted by the Holy Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23).

Joy may come with costs, but it far surpasses temporal happiness. Seek after intimacy with the Holy Spirit and receive His joy.

You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. (Psalm 4:7).

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)

Are you pursuing joy or happiness?

Not so strong

This week we were in the book of 2 Corinthians and as always it reminded me that I am actually very weak, very small, very unable, and very insufficient. BUT (there is always a “but” and this time I am thankful for it!). But… I was also reminded of God’s strength in my weakness.

We are bombarded everyday with the message that we must have it altogether, that we must be able to multi-task, that we must be able to work long hours, keeping a full time job, whilst managing a family, whilst meeting with friends, and helping out at church, and having daily quiet times with God, go to church, keep the household cupboards stocked, have hobbies, … and the list goes on.

Two weeks ago I felt God expanding my vision on the mission field. He was challenging me to dream bigger and expect to do more. And it couldn’t have come at a worse time. It was over the week where I was physically tired and stressed about my upcoming teaching on Hebrews. I must be honest – I thought God was off in His timing! To me, it didn’t seem like the best time to be giving me a vision of MORE when I felt I was using all I had to meet the current challenge.

However, when we entered into 2 Corinthians I was reminded that, as big as the vision seems, it is not too big for God. He reminded me that it isn’t up to me to do the impossible or to be some kind of super woman. All I need to do is step out in obedience, walk according to the vision He has laid upon my heart, and allow Him to accomplish what I cannot do.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

These words sum up the book in my mind. God is strong. We are not. And thankfully, we do not have to be.

Allow God’s grace to cover you when your own strength is insufficient. Step out in confidence and boldness, walking towards the dream that He has laid on your heart, and allow Him to do what you cannot.

Do not be afraid to be weak. Do not be afraid for your weaknesses to be shown. But allow God to receive glory in your weakness. Allow Him to show His strength in your life.