In this four-part series, Charles Anyiam-Osigwe examines what it means to walk by faith, and not by sight.
Life’s journey for everyone (without exception) is a challenging one. No matter our race, gender, creed, or financial status, we will all face adversity as we traverse this earthly plane. The adversity could come in one form or the other: financial hardship, poor health, divorce, the loss of a loved one, a handicap, among others. Oftentimes, these challenges overwhelm us. Have you ever paused to reflect, that the reason we are most times unable to cope with these challenges is because we neglect to follow God’s guidance and directives as given in his Word, the Bible. The primary goal of God’s Word is to elevate human beings to share in God’s inner life—to participate in an eternal, abiding relationship with God, a relationship that begins even here on earth. This “lifting up” of man to share in God’s life is accomplished in Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit, men and women are “deified”, reacquiring the “likeness” to God that was lost through original sin. St. Peter bears witness to God’s desire to share His own life with us: “His divine power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion. He has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature” (2 Pet 1:3–4)
Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Then, why is it that we humans are not able to follow this directive? Is it because we are burdened by what we see and have to deal with in our daily lives?
2 Corinthians 5:7 states “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” This is a verse most of us are familiar with, but do we really understand what it means? Faith! What is it? Why do we need it, and what does it mean that we should walk by it? And why are we not to walk by sight? After all, it is logical that we should do so.
In order to be better able to cope with life, we should understand that life is a journey, or a pilgrimage, and that we are all on a journey to another “country”. This being so, we should conduct ourselves on this our earthly journey focusing our attention on the things which are unseen, rather than those things which are seen.
By faith – in the belief of those things which we do not see, we act and live in the confident expectation of things that are to come, in the belief of the existence of unseen realities, and accepting them to influence us as if they were seen. By sight – human beings are influenced by the things that are seen – the material world. We want to be rich, famous, praised, honoured, among other earthly pursuits, without giving any thought to the hereafter. On the contrary, the material should be inconsequential as we focus on the reality of the glories of heaven, our final dwelling place. The simple account of faith, and of living by faith is that we live, act and strive with all our might to reach that destination, our eternal prize of glory.
Yes, in order to live a purposeful and fulfilling life, Proverb 3:5-6 should be accepted as a fact and our thoughts and actions should be influenced by it, coupled with the teaching of St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:7 to walk by faith, not by sight. For here St. Paul buttresses Proverbs 3:5-6 that we are to live by faith in God. We are to make our life’s decisions in light of who God is.
However, to be able to do this, we must understand:
- What it means to walk by faith and not by sight.
- How we are to walk this walk
- The implications of this walk for here and now.
- The final destination of this walk.
What does it mean to walk by faith and not by sight?
In 2 Corinthians 5:7 St. Paul says “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” This precious truth proclaimed in the Bible is a vital principle for a glorious and victorious life. In our preamble in the paragraphs above, we have surmised what this means. However to get a much better understanding, let us now examine it in more detail. Examining it in context will help us better understand what walking by faith versus walking by sight implies and how to apply it to our way of life.
To understand the meaning and application of the verse “For we walk by faith, not by sight”, we note it is a verse within an entire section of Scripture dealing with life and death. Here St Paul writes about our temporal home, which he refers to as the earth and our physical body. He compares it to the promise of one day living in heaven with God and how great that will be. So in this passage we are taught how to live and how to die. By so doing, we walk this earth in accordance with God’s pattern and plan for our lives with eternity in mind.
2 Corinthians 5:1-10“For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation, which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. 6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
As is stated unequivocally, walking by faith and not by sight has everything to do with life and death, earth and heaven, body and spirit, being present and absent, clothed and further clothed, and we cannot overlook its relevance to our daily lives as we strive to live a rewarding and glorious life with eternity in mind.
This article was first published in Pride Magazine Nigeria Cool Issue 2015.