It’s been said that when one is looking at new cars, suddenly they notice an abundance of the model they have chosen on the road. Does this suddenly mean there are a bunch more of that model? Of course not, it simply means we are noticing something not previously seen.
I don’t think there are suddenly any more mugs or T-shirts that quote Paul in II Corinthians 5.7, but I have noticed them recently. Paul tells the congregation that even though they are in their bodies and “away from the Lord, we walk by faith and not by sight.” As recently as this morning on a coozie at the gym, there it was.
As people of faith, and if the above is the case, it probably is a good thing that we don’t simply walk by sight. Doing so would cause us to miss a whole lot of that which should be obvious. In our multi-week look at James, we’ve been exhorted to Christian works as the outgrowth of faith. In fact, James has reminded us that “faith without works is dead (2:17).”
But how can we do the good works to which we’re called if we don’t see a need? Walking simply by sight can and does make us a bit myopic.
Conversely, what does it mean to walk by faith? Do we simply trust intuition, or feelings? Do we walk with our eyes wide shut (yes, I stole that from a movie title)? If this is the case, and our walk is simply centered internally, we will be just as myopic as described above.
Maybe our faith, that is our relationship with Jesus Christ should direct where we look. As UM’s, we know about sanctification or growing complete in Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. That completion, or perfection is made manifest in us as we come to an “unbroken relationship with Jesus Christ,” to quote the Rev. Dr. John Wesley.
Just yesterday in our closing hymn, we sang, “Open my eyes, that I may see, glimpses of truth thou has for me. (UMH 454).” Paul writes, again to the Corinthians, “for now we see…dimly, but then we will see face to face (I Cor. 13.12).”
Walking by faith does not mean stumbling blindly, nor does it mean walking in the folly of self-centeredness. Rather, it means knowing that we can only see a portion, a glimpse of any situation at any given time. We are called to look, to see as best we can, and to listen to the urgings of the Holy Spirit. In this way, our walk becomes an expression of our relationship with Jesus rather than a billboard for ourselves.
How is your walk this week? What do you see? Where are you being led? How will Jesus use you?
We finish our work with James this Sunday. We will experience a subtle though profound change in our understanding of what James seeks to teach us. Be prepared to walk by faith…
See you Sunday.
To respond directly to Pastor Paul, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact him at 816-724-0080