What does the Bible mean when it says that we walk by faith and not by sight?
I think there’s many good answers to this question. It means we can’t always trust what seems to be the common sense answer, like a young man can’t defeat a giant. It means we can trust God, that He is good, that He loves us and is actively taking care of us.
There’s also another answer that’s taken me many years to fully grasp, and that is walking by faith means that we learn how to feel our way along God’s path for our lives.
What do I mean by learning to feel God’s path? Think about the word picture that the Bible uses: a person who is not walking by sight is a person that’s blind. And I take that to mean that our eyes, our usual physical senses, literally can’t see spiritual reality, can’t see the spiritual world and all that God is putting into place for us.
So how does a blind man find his way, how does he walk? By learning to use his other senses, by learning to hear and feel His way.
And honestly, that view of walking by faith runs very counter to much of current culture within the church. Many say walking by faith means following the rules: if you figure out all the rules in the Bible and follow them then that’s walking by faith. And I think that most of us can look back at our lives and realize that while certainly we all desire to fulfill the law of love that Jesus taught, it’s obvious that there’s not a rule for every situation in your life, and that you can follow every rule you can think of and still end up far away from Jesus. Just following rules is not walking by faith.
And others say that the Christian faith is a rational, logical faith, and that you can figure out with logic what steps to take and what God’s will is for your life. But how is relying on our mind walking by faith? Even though I’ve spent most of my life building up my mind, I’ve come to depend on it less and less, and see it now as a useful tool that I use when I need to, but I don’t have it in charge of running my life.
But where does that leave us? Some people say, whoa, you don’t want to base your life on your feelings, on following your heart— that gets you in all kinds of trouble. And I think that depends on what you mean by following your heart. If you mean following the blowing gusts of emotion and passion that sweep through our being then no, basing your life just on emotions is a recipe for chaos and disaster.
But what about the quiet feelings? What about what writers refer to as “the still small voice,” where your soul becomes still, and you quiet down your emotions, and you let your logic go, and you just get alone with God and feel His presence and His path?
That’s not always easy to do, is it? It’s a lot easier to just follow some rules, or to try and let your mind plot out a course, or be carried away by whatever emotion is burning in you. But I’ve found that if I’m quiet, and wait for a sense of rightness, of peace, of being in the calm of the storm, of sitting in the center of God’s will, then the answer I get is good, very good.
My favorite example is a few days after my first date with my sweet Tina. My well thought out plan was to start dating a variety of women to find out who would be a good match for me, and I already had several lined up after Tina. But I sat with it awhile, and I had the strangest peace come over me that I only needed to date Tina. It wasn’t my plan at all, it didn’t fit any rule or logic, and I wasn’t following any passionate emotion, it really was just a still knowing that whispered, look, here is God’s path, take this way.
And you may say, gee, that’s a scary way to live, how do you know when you’re right, and what happens if you get off the path by mistake? And yea, you don’t have a rule to tell you that you’re right, and you don’t have logic to convince that you’re right, and you don’t have this hurricane of emotion that pushes you along.
But if you learn to listen, you just know. And if you take a wrong turn, you have God right there to gently lead back to your path. And for me, there’s no sweeter way to live.