Second Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
The context is about us waiting until our redemption is complete, Christ returns, and we get our new glorified bodies. In the meantime, we walk by faith. We walk by the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1) We walk by faith, not by sight.
As standing deals with trusting God and wrapping ourselves in a promise in the midst of a particular storm, walking deals with what we do daily, how we live out our faith, day by day.
In Romans, chapter 4, Abraham is set forth as someone to follow when it comes to faith.
Romans 4:12 says, “And the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.”
One translation says we should follow the footprints of Abraham’s faith. The Bible very specifically tells us several aspects of faith—several very distinct footprints that Abraham’s faith has left in the sands of time, which we are to follow.
I will call the first, the footprint of obedience.
Hebrews 11:8 says, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.”
God did not give Abraham a roadmap or tell him where he would end up; God just said, “Go, and I will lead you. Leave your family, your kindred, your city . . . leave your life . . . and go to a land that I will show you. If you do that, Abraham, I will make your name great. I will bless you, and you will be a blessing. All the nations of the earth will be blessed through you.” So Abraham went out in obedience, not knowing where he was going or what was going to happen next.
God gives you a step. He does not give you a map.
This was not presumption on Abraham’s part. He did not just go out on a limb, start sawing it off, and say, “God, You have to catch me!” Abraham had a very distinct call—a very distinct leading. Friend, you do not get out of the boat and try and walk on the water unless He says, “Come.” Otherwise, bring your bathing suit because you are going to need it.
When Abraham was called, he went out. He did not know everything that was going to happen. God will give you a step, then He will guide you as you get going.
What is it that God is calling you to do? What is He leading you to do? You need to be obedient when you know He has told you to do something.
The second of Abraham’s footprints that we are to follow is what we call the pilgrim’s footprint.
Hebrews 11:9-10 says, “By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose
builder and maker is God.”
Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob . . . they never experienced the fulfillment of the promise to see their posterity as numerous as the stars in the sky or as the sand by the seashore. They lived without ever experiencing the fulfillment of that. When Abraham obeyed, he left one of the most advanced cities of the ancient world: Ur of the Chaldeans. They had underground sewage systems, cobblestone streets, multilevel buildings, and courtyards. It was the center for world trade, and Abraham left all of it. The Scripture says he went and dwelt in the wilderness in tents, and he spent the rest of his life as a pilgrim looking for a city whose builder and maker was God. Abraham realized he was just a sojourner, and his family lived the same way.
Hebrews 11:13-15 says, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.”
If he would have called to mind Ur of the Chaldeans, and thought nostalgically about it, they would have had many opportunities to return.
That is why some people in God’s family end up going back into the world— because they are always calling to mind that which they have come out from. The devil gives them ample opportunity to return.
Nostalgia is thinking about all the good times and forgetting all the pain. When we nostalgically reminisce about what we have come out of, opportunities galore present themselves. One reason Abraham stayed steady with God was because he did not continually call those things to mind.
Hebrews 11:16 says, “But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”
We are strangers in this earth. We are in it, but not of it. We are pilgrims, just passing through. My speech should reflect that, as should my character, my priorities, my manner . . . it should all make people hungry to see my homeland. Heaven is amazing, and only redeemed people go there.
Abraham also demonstrates the footprint of sacrificial faith.
Hebrews 11:17-19 says, “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.”
God will, from time to time, test our faith by asking us to give up things that are precious or valuable to us. I’ve found that when I become attached to something, it seems that God always puts His finger on it and asks me at some point to give it away. I honestly do not think it is just my view of God that I am sort of superimposing on my life. I really think God does that from time to time. So I try not to like my stuff too much because I never get to hang on to the stuff I really like. It is good to hold earthly things loosely, because we are not taking any of it with us.
If an earthly king commissioned someone to sacrifice all for the sake of the kingdom, we would consider that a great honor. Well, the King of Kings has given us a commission, and it is an honor. Maybe we should call this the footprint of honor rather than the footprint of sacrifice. What an honor it is to sow something of value into eternity.
Just as Abraham received Isaac back, you will find that whatever you sacrifice to God for the sake of His kingdom, He will always resurrect and send back to you in multiplied form. That is just the way our God is. Hannah gave Samuel to the Lord. She kept her vow (God answered her prayer and gave her a child though she was barren). After that she had multiple children. That is just God’s way. It comes back good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. In His perfect timing, God pours it back. That is just God’s way.
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