IN SECOND Corinthians 5:7, Paul wrote: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” “Sight” here means “appearance.” The apostle had been talking about the “house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” to which he longed to go when his present body died. He is speaking of the principle that “the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (4:18). He can talk this way, he explains, “for we walk by faith, not by sight.” We do not see the spiritual realities which guide our lives and form our judgments. We accept them by faith. Our signals are not visible. We walk by faith not by sight.
Many times men appear to be one thing when actually they are something else entirely (Matthew 23:28). The battle is often lost, it seems, when if we could only see the invisible our courage would rise and we would go on to victory (II Kings 6:13-18). To the one who sees only with his eyes, it seems God’s men are perishing; in reality they are being renewed day by day (II Corinthians -4:16). Man counts the crowd to form his judgment (I Chronicles 21:1-8). God sometimes reduces the crowd to serve His purpose better (Judges 7:2-9).
Human beings judge one another on the basis of appearance God looks on the heart of every man (I Samuel 16:7). This is one reason God is Judge. We are told that Moses endured “by seeing Him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27). The only key to victory in the face of what appears to be a losing battle is the ability to see the unseen. This spiritual radar allows the Christian to set his frail craft on automatic pilot and throw out the tranquilizers. He can sing in the storm because he trusts the Man at Flight Control for a safe trip and easy landing.
This world does not give a reward for godliness. But this very fact enables the godly man to look beyond this world for something better. When he sees it afar off, he is persuaded of it and embraces it. Such people renounce citizenship in this age to have a place in that one neither made by hands nor seen with eyes, but clearly visible through the clear, sure telescope of faith (Hebrews 11:13). This world is not worthy of such people. They live in caves here, in view of the day when all the rest will search for caves to hide in. They wait for a resurrection this system can not offer.
Because “things are not what they seem” (and Longfellow told the truth about that!), the Christian must depend solely on his spiritual eyes to see things as they really are. This sixth sense of faith is the victory. Without it, one falls by the wayside when afflictions come. But with it, he can look at “the things which are not seen,” and even during affliction “not lose heart” (11 Corinthians 4:16-18).
The book of Revelation was given for this purpose to show the child of God that behind the scenes and invisible to human sight a universal war is being fought between God and Satan. Furthermore, the outcome is already settled — in God’s favor! The struggling child of God on earth is to take courage in the knowledge that his problems are only a small part of this eternal conflict. Satan is whipped, and knows it. He wants the Christian for a consolation prize! Now it is up to the man of God. Will he fall for the bait, or will he remain steadfast and share one day in the victory with the King of kings and Lord of lords?
What do you see, Professing Christian? How goes the fight with YOU? The answer you give will reflect not the picture so much as the focus of your own eyes. When Balaam’s eyes were focused to the invisible, he changed his entire philosophy (Numbers 22:21-34). What did you see? Be careful — your answer will reflect your own spiritual state.
I challenge you, by the authority of the Word of God, are you walking by faith or by sight?