Faith and Seeing
Have we ever taken a moment to ponder about the kind of faith we have? Apostle Peter commended the recipients of his epistle for their faith in this way.
1 Peter 1:8–9 (NIV84) Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.
Despite the fact that they had never seen Jesus, yet they believed in Him and loved Him. Peter was referring to the fact they believed Jesus is alive even though they had not ever seen Him physically.
So what kind of faith do we have? What kind of relationship is there between what we see and the faith we have? How much does our seeing influence our faith? How much does our faith influence our seeing? Allow me to bring you through a range of types of faith-seeing relationships and perhaps it might inspire you to grow to the next level of faith.
1. Not believing despite seeing
Consider the Pharisees who refused to believe even though they saw and interacted with Jesus. Or Pharoah who was at the receiving end of God's 10 supernaturally devastating plagues. They simply refused to believe out of the hardness of their hearts!
I once tried to share the Gospel with a girl who absolutely refused to believe. After some time of trying with absolutely no progress, I finally asked her, "If God was to appear right in front of you, would you believe?" She said, "No!" I was stunned by her unmoving heart.
This is a negative faith relationship. One that refuses to believe no matter what they see. It arises from a stubbornness and pride deep in their hearts. Woe unto them at the Judgment seat.
2. Believing after seeing
There are those like Thomas who refused to believe that Jesus had risen from the dead. Unless he personally touched Jesus.
John 20:25 (NIV) So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”
Some only believe when they see a vision of Jesus or experience a miracle of God! Thank God that at least they believed! Some will put their criteria upon God to prove His own existence or to prove the veracity of His promises. But there is one major problem with such expectations. God is not obligated to conform to our expectations! God is not begging for us to believe.
Some only believe when they see a vision of Jesus or experience a miracle of God! Thank God that at least they believed!
If you will only believe on such terms, then you will miss out big time! For you are trying to squeeze God into a test tube! That kind of faith will not get us very far with God because it shows a very limited level of trust in God.
3. Believing despite not seeing
When finally, Thomas saw Jesus, Jesus had this to say.
John 20:29 (NIV) Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Jesus was pointing to a better faith. That is real faith. In fact, faith is defined in Heb 11:1.
Heb 11:1 (GWT) Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of the existence of things we cannot see.
Do we believe in God and His Word, even though we cannot yet see?
In the time of Noah in Gen 6 and 7, he was commanded by God to build an ark. A huge, almost box-shaped ship. This ship was built on high ground, far from sea! A huge ship with no sails, no oars. It was immediately ridiculed by everybody else. How will it sail anywhere? How is God even going to flood this earth? They refused to believe that God will flood the whole world.
The Bible teaches that we are not to just rely on natural eyesight, but spiritual eyesight!
2 Cor 5:7 (NIV) We live by faith, not by sight.
Let us put on our spiritual eyesight. Then you can begin to see and appreciate what God is doing! Many years ago, I told our small fledging church that we will move from our little seminar room in the University of Queensland to a large lecture theatre nearby. And that we will overflow it. Some years later we did. Eventually to the point we could not fit in everyone. We had to run 2 services there. I was confident because I saw it with my spiritual eyes.
Let us put on our spiritual eyesight. Then you can begin to see and appreciate what God is doing!
Later, I saw spiritually that God will give us our own building on a large piece of land. In 2012, we completed building our facility called Unidus Community Centre on 7.1 hectares of land.
God will speak to us about different things. Will we believe even though we cannot see yet? Will we believe that God can use us in areas we cannot even imagine of now? Can we believe for victories that God has spoken about?
4. Believing despite seeing.
At times we may see or experience things which may seem to contradict God's character and promises. Yet it is often because we failed to understand God's purposes and intent. Blessed are those who will still trust even everything else seems in contradiction. This is called persevering faith!
Blessed are those who will still trust even everything else seems in contradiction. This is called persevering faith!
The prophet Habakkuk lamented the difficult situation he saw yet he looked with eyes of faith.
Hab 3:17-18 (NIV) 17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
All the natural evidence seems to point the other way, but Habakkuk persevered in trusting God that His promises would be fulfilled. Abraham believed God even though he was reaching 100 years old that he would be given an offspring. Even though he had waited for almost 25 years! Even though he was too old to bear a child and so was his wife! Abraham persevered in faith!
Teresia Wairimu from Nairobi was married to a European missionary, but the marriage failed. She was left to care for a daughter as a single mother. She was devastated as she wanted to serve God. Nevertheless over a few years, she got her life together and began to teach small groups of Christians. But she realised that she lacked power! She did not have the anointing to make the impact she had hoped for. In July 1985, God woke her up and called her specially to His service. After that she began to see some spiritual gifts released in her ministry.
In 1988, at Uhuru Park in Nairobi she heard evangelist Reinhard Bonnke and was greatly inspired. She prayed in her heart that she that she could be anointed to reach souls, “Just give me a hundred souls”. Faith arose in her heart that Reinhard only had to pray for her that she would receive the anointing to do so. But no matter what she did, she could not find a way to reach Reinhard.
In 1992, Teresia heard that Reinhard will preach in a church in Oslo, Norway. She decided to save up all her money and with some friends help, travelled there. At the end of Reinhard’s message, she queued up with many others to be prayed for. When Reinhard laid his hands on her, there was an explosive reaction to his prayer. Teresia literally flew backwards, out of her shoes.
Teresia came back with new power. People got saved. Hundreds came, then thousands. Her ministry grew and some years later she found herself preaching in Uhuru Park to some 200,000 people. Today she leads a large ministry and church in Kenya, ministering to tens of thousands every week.
True faith rests upon the promises of God regardless of outward circumstances. True faith does not depend on what our eyes see. True faith does not depend on what our natural understanding conceives. True faith is seeing what God sees.
True faith rests upon the promises of God regardless of outward circumstances.
True faith is seeing what God sees.
Let us mature in our faith relationship with God!
Copyright©️2021 by Wilson Lim. All rights reserved. Materials are free to be distributed in whole or part as long as proper acknowledgement is given to the author and not sold for profit.