Are you unsure of what it means to “live by faith” when everything around you is falling apart? Is life harder than you ever imagined it would be right now? Do you question why God is letting you suffer and experience the trials you are experiencing?
I understand. I’ve been there.
Our story of loss with gradual healing and restoration in the life of our son has been quite the faith walk for our entire family. We have experienced more than our fair share of this idea, to “live by faith,” than most people.
It has been hard and emptying.
To live by faith can be one of the most lonely walks that ever happens on this planet, but it is also full of the most blessing and fruit, in the end.
If you, too, are in a season of trial, take my hand, and let’s chat. I know it will not change your situation, but sometimes we benefit from a change of perspective. And, as a sister who has been through the fires, I know how hard this can be.
30 Days of Prayer: Pray to Live by Faith and Not By Sight – Our Story, Part 2 (Day 16)
For some strange reason, there is a pervasive belief that maintains that those who are in Christ are not going to experience hardship and trials unless they have somehow brought it upon themselves.
This is precisely the accusation that Job received from his so-called religious friends.
“Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.”Job 5: 17-18
In this little section of Job, we see his friends using rational arguments to try to reason that Job must have sinned against God, which is what was incurring His wrath. They were wrong, though. Job’s struggle and trial were not the result of discipline from misbehavior, but rather was a purely spiritual battle that included the unsuspecting Job.
Job was being tested, both by satan to see if he could break him, and by God to prove Job’s faith true.
As I mentioned in the previous post, the onset of our journey with our son’s illness began with the Lord speaking to my heart that we were beginning our Job season, and I cannot begin to explain how true this has been.
We have surely walked out the spirit of the verse to “live by faith and not by sight.”
Sadly, though, not everyone understands basic matters of faith. Often people have a way of saying hurtful things without understanding the implications of their words.
We have surely experienced the accusation that our trial was due to some hidden sin. This particular accusation hurt us deeply and wounded our trust for quite a while.
It is a terrible thing to be accused of sin in the midst of such a battle, especially for the one enduring it.
There are few words to convey how painful it is to know that people are judging you from their outside perspective. And, it is even worse when such people take no effort to actually connect relationally to attempt to get some understanding.
Did the Lord use the occasion to teach many lessons? Oh, YES, and one of them was for sure never to accuse another person without certain assurance of the claim. The damage done can be extreme.
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” ~ Ex. 20: 16
Control is a facade.
Another lesson I learned is that we are not in control of very much in this life. In my journey to study alternative medicine and nutrition, I rubbed against a very pervasive belief of control that exists within that movement. The lie goes “If I do XYZ and avoid XYZ neither I nor my family will ever experience sickness or auto-immune disease.”
Related: Turning Away from Food Idolatry
Is there an element of Truth to this? Sure.
But the second our trust is in anything other than the power of God, we are rejecting the call to “live by faith.”
This lie puts the idol of self in the god seat, rather than the True God who can accomplish all.
True security and provision are never found outside of our loving Abba, Yahweh.
I’ve learned that the enemy will always work to steal, kill, and destroy. But, God is bigger and stronger. In Him alone should we have a healthy fear and deep respect. He provides a path for following after Him in the journey toward wholeness and healing. And, that journey does not always look like we expect it to look.
Sometimes the process is long and drawn out, while other times it is quick and efficient. Both, though, require the same thing in the life of the believer: trust.
And, He is always trustworthy…always.
To “Live by Faith” is the Progressive Journey to Prove our Love for God Above ALL Else
I had to learn that even though I knew and loved God, there were new levels of that love that needed to be proven. Just as Abraham was called to sacrifice Isaac, a child who he had waited decades for after the promise for him was given, we had been called to trust God while our son was lost right before our eyes. We were faced with the challenge to “live by faith” when what was in front of us was so scary and uncertain that we could barely see straight.
We didn’t get to choose the sacrifice, but we did get to choose our response to it.
Often God calls us to lay down our Isaac to prove our love for Him.
My son was my Isaac. I had to sacrifice my belief that I was in control of our health and well-being through the works of the flesh and the eating of various foods. This is a pervasive lie today; not because there is no Truth to the importance of eating healthy foods. But, rather, because it is centered on a works-based life, rather than a walk of faith.
We trip and stumble when we place our trust and future in the belief that if we just eat XYZ food or take ABC supplements then our future is set in a setting of gold. This lie is a stumbling block and hindrance to Truth.
My health is only found through a vibrant walk of Trust with Him.
…and there are limits to how far this can extend.
Though I may work to take care of my temple, I could not do much more about the environment around us, or what might enter through unexpected means.
My faith has to stand firm in the provision of my Abba. I had to learn to trust Him so that no matter what trials we face, my feet would remain firmly planted on the Rock. Through this, I would actually “live by faith” rather than what I could control.
In laying down my belief in anything other than God as my savior, releasing control over my health and even the health of my child, I picked up a new and deeper love for my Abba than I ever knew before. He repeatedly showed me how much He loved me, cared for me, and provided for our needs, even though not in the ways I may have wanted in my flesh.
What is He asking you to lay down for Him?
Everyone who proclaims faith in Christ and a walk with the Lord will be called to self-sacrifice. Sometimes these sacrifices come unexpectedly, such as mine, but other times the Spirit leads us down a path of knowledge of the Truth. On these occasions, He expresses what He does and does not approve of in the life of His children (His Bride), and reveals the call to turn and release.
Sacrifice is not always easy, but it surely is a necessary part of the walk of faith.
I know that there is a pervasive serpent slipping through the Body suggesting that God does not require His children to lay down their lives for Him. It is not true. This is the idea of the “feel-good” faith, which is not self-sacrificing in response to the self-sacrifice displayed in Christ.
“Feel-good” faith is like an adulterous husband or wife who happily takes everything that is offered by the committed spouse but is unwilling to do the work of commitment to the marriage covenant.
Such a false faith suggests that God is mean or selfish to ask for us to give up things that we see as necessary within ourselves. It is as though a committed spouse is unreasonable if they expect their husband or wife to remain loyal to their marriage and not stray to additional lovers.
Related: Do you embrace a covenant marriage?
God requires the sole affection of His children, and will diligently work to help us be cleansed of all of our idols that we likely don’t even know are there.
If we remain open to His leading and desire to be cleansed of unrighteousness, then He will reveal the areas that need His healing touch. Through openness to Him, He shows Himself trustworthy and enough.
Every one of us has something that we have to release to Him if we are to continue to live by faith and growth into maturity. Sometimes it’s finances, sometimes it’s health. Maybe it’s a difficult marriage. Or it could be a sexual identity. Maybe even the thing to which we run when life is hard and emotionally difficult (food, video games, movies, other friends/people).
Only you will know, as the Spirit will undoubtedly reveal it to you if you are willing to ask the hard question.
No journey is better than another’s. There is no one walk that we all carry out. However, there are certain markers that we each must come through if we are continuing the journey of faith with Him. And, the Job season for sure is one of loss of self, but triumph in Him.
This season of faith challenge is the epitome of strengthening to learn how to live by faith and not by sight. It is in the midst of this beautiful time that our Abba reveals Himself as our strong provider and the Almighty God.
Trust Him if He is prompting your heart. You will not ever regret obedience to Him.
It does not always feel good to Live by Faith, but it SURELY feels good as faith accomplishes its work
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” ~ James 1: 2-4
I know how difficult this walk can be. And I know what it feels like to die to self. What I can assure you is that the loss is much less than the gain in the end, if we are willing to lay ourselves down for our friend, Christ.
Abba, I want to have a true and lasting walk with You. Help me to lay my Isaacs down at Your feet. Take them. Cleanse me. I want to be free of anything that gets in the way of a greater Love between us. I want to know You all the way, and I want You to know all of me. Show me how to live by faith and remain firmly planted in You. Reveal to me where You need to cleanse and show me what I need to do to follow You. Provide to me with my next step, and onward one step at a time.
Guide me through this process, and encourage me when I doubt.
Send Your servants who can encourage me as I walk, and help me to rebuke the lies that wish to hold me back from victory in You. Place Your angels around me to fight the enemy firmly, and cleanse my mind as I read and learn Your Word. I am Yours, forever. Do Your good work in me. In the name of Your Son, amen.
Sweet sister, do not fear the loss in this world, for it comes with a greater reward in the next. Follow where He is leading you; choose to live by faith and not by sight.
Obey the Word that upholds the leading of the Spirit. Reject and rebuke all that comes against the Word of God, but rather be fortified in Truth that you may continue to be made holy.
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.” ~ Num. 6: 24-26
In Him, shalom.