Last week I shared a story of walking in faith and helping a guy get free from pain and get his mobility restored after his leg was reconstructed. I promised to share some thoughts the next week about how to evaluate if we are walking in faith. Learning to recognize if we’re walking in faith in a certain area can be a useful tool, because it shows us just how we can change our thought patterns and actions in order to grow. I get excited when I see exactly how I can grow, because I’ve already tasted of all that’s possible in Christ and I want to experience more. So here it is!
The Evidence Of Things Not Seen
Hebrews 11:1 (KJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
We know we are walking in faith when we treat invisible realities as facts. One of the ways I evaluate if I’m walking in faith is by asking myself if I’m really valuing the things that are most valuable. The invisible heavenly reality that we have access to in Christ is far more valuable than temporal things.
Peter 1:3-9 (NRSV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Peter tells us an inheritance that is kept in heaven for us, and far more precious than gold. Most people read this and think we are waiting for our inheritance from God. But they forget that we are seated with Christ in heavenly places and have access to heaven now. We are already in heaven! When Peter says this inheritance is “kept in heaven,” his language shows us that nothing on earth can take this heavenly treasure from us. The word “kept” means “guarded.” He isn’t implying that we don’t have access to it now! I reached this conclusion as I was writing Present Access To Heaven and reviewing everything scripture says about our inheritance in Christ.
Peter said this heavenly treasure is far more valuable than gold and is cause for an indescribable and glorious joy.
Does My Mood Hinge On Far Inferior Earthly Things?
So here’s one way I evaluate my faith walk. A few weeks ago I found myself really excited because I sold a lot of books in one day. Then I was bummed when the sales waned. Can you relate in some way? When my emotions go up and down like a yo-yo based on things like that, it shows that I must be blind in some way to the heavenly treasure I have. It shows that I’m paying more attention to seen things which have little value in comparison to my faith, which is far more precious than gold. If my faith cannot be taken from me and is really far more precious than gold, why should my mood go up and down based on something of such inferior value?
If I’m walking in faith I should have great joy because I am aware of these invisible treasures and they have substance to me. When inferior things do so much to change my mood, it shows that I’m not walking in a very great awareness of invisible realities. It shows that my perception doesn’t line up with truth.
Believe it or not, this has a lot to do with healing the sick and other forms of supernatural ministry. If I’m not walking in awareness of the riches I have in Christ, I won’t make use of them. I will act like a poor person even though I’m rich. Evaluating myself and recognizing that my perception is distorted when compared to what God sees helps me to change my perspective and learn to walk in faith.
My wife recently got in a car crash because bandits held up the car in front of her. The car was sitting in the middle of the lane on a dark and rainy night with no lights on after the driver was robbed. Nobody saw him, and it caused a four-car crash. Now the insurance company is fraudulently claiming that the steering wheel of the car was already broken before the crash, and refusing to fix it.
We are fighting for justice in this situation. Yet may I never lose my joy because of things like gold (or cars) that perish anyways, when I have a faith that is far more valuable and which nobody can ever take from me! If my joy hinges on things like that, I’m not walking in the “evidence of things unseen.” If you want to walk in faith, don’t set your hope on your pay raise, your new business, or your “breakthrough.” Set your hope fully on the grace that you are receiving in the revelation of Jesus! Things like a well-deserved pay raise and business success are good, but don’t set your hope on such things. It’s sad when how well Christians are doing hinges on inferior and perishable things.
Following this passage is another verse that many translations miss by making it sound like we are waiting for this grace to be given us in the future. But look at the Youngs Literal Translation. We are growing in the revelation of Jesus now, and are presently receiving this powerful grace.
1 Peter 1:13 (YLT) Wherefore having girded up the loins of your mind, being sober, hope perfectly upon the grace that is being brought to you in the revelation of Jesus Christ.
If you are walking in faith, you will act and think according to the truth that your faith and the grace you are receiving in Christ really is far more valuable than gold! 2 Corinthians 4:18 says we set our minds not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. Colossians 3:2 tells us to set our minds on heavenly things, not earthly things. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the certainty of things unseen. This means that when we set our hope fully on the grace given us in the revelation of Jesus, that grace takes on substance in our lives. When our focus is on unseen realities it will show by our joy, and miracles will happen!
As soon as we begin to let our mood hinge on temporary visible things, we have stopped looking at invisible, eternal things and have stopped walking in faith. When we do that, we stop making use of our heavenly treasure. May our joy always be based on heavenly reality, not earthly things of inferior value.