My wife and I purchased a small devise with an amazing capacity to direct us to wherever we want to go on the map. It’s called a GPS (Global Positioning System) and our friends say, “It’s about time!” Okay, it’s also about space. Anyhow, I will miss the sheer pleasure of having to stop and ask strangers for directions.
Welcome to the 21st century! We’ve come a long way from having to, as Paul said, “Walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Or have we?
The apostle Paul understood that appearances are not everything. Some of life’s most important principles cannot be reproduced in a lab, deciphered in a computer, or seen with human eyes.
Context matters. The verse just before Paul’s challenge (above) to live more by faith than by sight affirms our “confidence” in the Lord rather than in the flesh (vs. 6). Keep reading. So does the verse right after it (vs. 8). Then verse 9 defines our ultimate goal (to please the Lord) and verse 10 points to our ultimate destiny. Here it is:
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
My eyes are too weak to see justice in all its beauty. It’s too far away. When I pursue it by sight, I get angry and lose my way. When I walk by faith, rusting the Lord with true justice, I begin to see light at the end of the tunnel. My rash attempts to assess justice have taught me to trust Jesus on His judgment seat, not myself. And judge He will.
Walking by faith does not mean closing your eyes. Rather, it means trusting the Lord with all your heart and not leaning on “your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5). It is relying on God more than your own perceived preferences.
Our culture pushes the self-centered notion that one’s perception is reality. It is seductive to believe we can create our own reality. Nonsense! Reality is much bigger than our perceptions and it has already been created! We just don’t see it. My perception is not the end-all—be-all. Things are not always as they seem:
- On a vertical slope, it seems prudent for climbers to cling closely to the rock. Actually, those who lean away from the rock get better leverage.
- It seems like soccer goalies who can jump high are best suited for that role. Actually, those who hold their ground do better.
- The more the government tries to fix poverty, the higher our poverty rates climb.
- The most decent people are those who understand and admit how indecent they know they are.
Fact: we humans are great at fooling ourselves. In the flesh, we’re short-sighted. When you feel stuck in a terrible turmoil, it is not a GPS you need to get through it, nor is it perfect eyesight. It is faith—farsighted faith!
On the surface, the cross looked like a failure. Jesus’ disciples fled in fear. Nevertheless (I love that word), God was doing something they could not see in the moment. He was implementing His farsighted plan to save sinners from the just judgment we deserve and grant forgiveness and eternal hope to those who repent. So, when you feel like a failure, you can still trust that God is doing His best work in you to guide you to a place no GPS can—a place where faith, hope, and love loom large, and ultimately, to an eternal home in heaven.