To answer this, let’s first define what it means to walk by sight. Walking by sight involves analyzing circumstances, logistics, and possible outcomes when we make a decision.
Do you remember, when you were a kid, how easy it was to believe in the impossible? Boxes were transformed into playhouses or rocket ships. A swimming pool became an ocean. Children’s lack of logic and reasoning keeps them ignorant to the boundaries of reality, giving them the freedom to allow their imaginations to soar. But why is it that, over time, our intelligence overcrowds our strong belief in the impossible? Not that this is entirely bad, of course—but what if, in the midst of tossing away our childhood ignorance, we became too intellectual to believe in the impossible when it comes to our faith? As a Christian, we need faith not only to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior but also to cling to promises in His Word and to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). But how can we do this while living in a world that rejects absolute truth and over-emphasizes the validity of science?
What Does it Mean to Walk by Faith Not by Sight?
To answer this, let’s first define what it means to walk by sight.
Walking by sight involves analyzing circumstances, logistics, and possible outcomes when we make a decision. The process involves using our senses—only which we can see, hear, taste, touch, and smell—to determine what is real and what isn’t.
Walking by faith requires the opposite approach. It places emphasis on that which we cannot see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. It may acknowledge reality, logistics, and the facts, but in the end, this faith understands that we are not confined by the boundaries of reality; in fact, it trusts in the biblical truth that what we cannot see is far more real than what we can see (2 Corinthians 4:18).
This type of faith, however, challenges what we were taught in school.
Growing up, we were taught to rely on logic and intelligence. Our science teachers emphasized the importance of relying on the facts and trusting only in the data that can be seen, measured, collected, and calculated. Theories that are not developed by using this type of scientific method should not be trustworthy.
But as Christians, we know there is more to this world than what meets the eye; because of this, our faith is directed to God and His Word. And yet, when it comes to our everyday lives, it is still often a challenge for us to break the habit of trusting merely in our sight.
Perhaps it’s challenging for you to trust that God hears the prayers for your unsaved loves ones, especially when they don’t appear to be making any progress toward coming to Christ. Or maybe you’ve accepted a job position because you believed God guided you there and had a purpose for you in that occupation; but now, after working alongside miserable coworkers, it’s impossible for you to see that purpose.
It’s in these everyday challenges that we are presented with a decision: Will we trust in the way our circumstances appear, believing that our unsaved loves ones will never come to Christ, believing that nothing good could come from that work environment? Or will we apply the truth found in 2 Corinthians 5:7, which says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight”—or, as the NLT translation states it, “For we live by believing and not by seeing”?
Is Christianity 'Blind Faith' or Something Else?
Have you ever been teased because of your faith? I think we’ve all been there at one time or another—whether it’s unbelievers who mock us for believing in a good God or even fellow Christians who have smirked at us when we choose to trust God’s Word over what we can see.
The truth is, faith is never going to make sense in the real world. And it shouldn’t. If it does, then perhaps it isn’t true faith.
Some Christians only have enough faith to believe in Christ as their Savior and to believe that the Bible is God’s authoritative Word, but to go beyond that is too much for them. For these Christians, the belief that God can intervene in the midst of hopeless circumstances is to ignore the truth of reality.
However, it makes sense that unbelievers would deem us Christians as having “blind faith.” To them, the Bible is just another old book that has somehow stood the test of time. Christianity is simply another religion that people use as a crutch to feel better about themselves, their lives, and their future death.
But those of us who have accepted Christ as our Savior has come to know a love, a freedom, that is far more powerful and real than anything tangible in this world. Our life-changing transformation is evidence of the redeeming power of Christ’s blood. We’ve received all the evidence we need to believe that God’s Word stands “firm in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89), that it is “breathed out by God” (2 Timothy 3:16), and that it is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path (Psalm 119:105).
This kind of faith is described in Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
Our confidence is placed in God’s immoveable Word, and it’s from there that we know that “what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). Our confidence is placed in our belief that God is a good and loving Father who cares for His children. We have witnessed His goodness and faithfulness in our lives, and it’s in this relationship that we have experienced the validity and the steadfastness of Scripture.
Therefore, our faith is not blind but is instead far more real than anything of this world.
But that doesn’t mean we won’t often look like a fool to those who don’t understand.
It doesn’t mean that others, even Christians, won’t tease us for placing our trust in God’s promises above our circumstances.
After all, isn’t that how people treated Noah when he took a step of faith and built the ark when there was no promise of rain? Hebrews 11:7 says, “By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.”
Don’t you know that Abraham and Sarah looked silly for believing they could have a child when Sarah was 90 and Abraham was 100? Hebrews 11:11 says, “It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old.”
And what about Peter attempting to walk on water? Surely that move would have looked like blind faith to bystanders—that is until they witnessed the miracle for themselves.
This doesn’t mean we should throw away our human intelligence and reasoning. These are, after all, gifts from God. Rather, we are simply called to place our trust more in God’s power than our own. We are called to use wisdom and acknowledge reality—to acknowledge that we could sink when stepping out onto that water—but then trust that, if God has called us, He will carry us through. But it is only while our faith is being directed to Christ and His power that we will accomplish the impossible.
I think we all know what happened when Peter transferred His faith from Christ and placed it on the impossibility, the facts, of the situation!
What Does 'Walk by Faith Not by Sight' Look Like?
Think back to when you were a kid again. If you were raised by loving parents, you probably trusted that they would care for you. You trusted that they would provide food for you. When you went to bed at night, you trusted that your parents would still be with you in the morning.
This type of trust is, in fact, a type of faith. Why? Because it’s believing in what we cannot yet obtain with our senses. Sure, you may have trusted in your parents’ provision because you had already received that provision throughout your life—but to trust in it for the future required faith.
You see, we were born with the ability to have faith.
We go to bed each night trusting that we will wake up in the morning.
We go to a restaurant in faith that food will be served.
What is this type of simple faith rooted in? Trust.
And it’s from this trust in God that we can develop our faith in Him.
What reason do we have for not trusting in Him? The majestic ocean is evidence alone of His power. Sunrises and sunsets are proof of His faithfulness. The night sky broadcasts His divine competence.
Perhaps the reason we struggle in faith is that we have failed to give God, the Creator of the Universe, the credit He deserves. We have placed Him in a box, treating Him as though He can only perform that which makes sense to our human brains. And in doing so, we have made an idol out of the laws of science, acting as though it’s greater, more reliable, than the One who breathed this entire world into existence.
If we hope to increase our faith, it requires that we decrease (not diminish entirely) our faith in our own comprehension. Besides, our brains will never be able to fully fathom the wonders of God or the miracle of our salvation.
4 Ways to Have Faith When My Sight Deceives Me
Tune out the world and tune into the Word. Fear and anxieties develop when we focus too much on the negative state of the world and our circumstances, imagining the worst possible scenarios. But instead of directing our faith toward what could go wrong, let’s instead direct it to God’s promises. Our faith in God increases as we remain in His Word. Romans 10:17 tells us, “So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.”
Record both your prayers and the answers to those prayers. Keeping a prayer journal helps me to increase my faith because I can look back and witness God’s hand in my previous circumstances. Not only does this practice allow me to apply Philippians 4:6-7—which instructs us to lift our prayers and anxieties to God so we can receive His peace—but it also encourages me to trust that God is sovereign over my life and can be trusted with my future.
Intentionally choose to read books, watch movies, and listen to sermons that will increase your faith. I wonder if God calls us to share our testimonies (Revelation 12:11) so that others can be encouraged in their faith. When we hear stories from others who have overcome the struggles we currently face, our faith is renewed; after all, us Christians serve the same God, and He doesn’t withhold His love from any one of His children.
Meditate on God. When we take time to give God the worship and adoration that He deserves, He becomes maximized as our cares and troubles lose their stronghold. Take time to meditate on Scriptures that specifically speak about God’s character, power, sovereignty, goodness, and love for His children.
I sometimes wonder if God intentionally designed our minds so that we could not logically comprehend His mysterious ways. What if He did it on purpose so we could prove our love and devotion, obeying Him even when it makes no sense?
What if He wants to kill our pride as we act out in faith, proving that we care more about what He thinks of us than what others think of us?
It’s this kind of faith that pleases God, and “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).
It’s this kind of faith that allows us to receive an unnatural kind of peace that isn’t based on mere circumstances. We can look at the chaos in the world and still claim that God is in control and will destroy the enemy in the end.
It’s this kind of faith that can help us relent in trying to figure out what’s going on around us and instead relax and learn to “be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
And it’s this kind of faith that will ultimately bring us to eternity with Christ in the end.
3 Practical Ways to Walk by Faith and Not by Sight
Walk by Faith: A Misused Verse?
Photo credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/demaerre
Tessa Emily Hall is an award-winning author who wrote her debut novel when she was sixteen. She is now a multi-published author of both fiction and non-fiction inspirational yet authentic books for teens, including her latest release, LOVE YOUR SELFIE (October 2020, Ellie Claire). Tessa's passion for shedding light on clean entertainment and media for teens led her to a career as a Literary Agent at Cyle Young Literary Elite, YA Acquisitions Editor for Illuminate YA (LPC Imprint), and Founder/Editor of PursueMagazine.net. She is guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list. When her fingers aren’t flying 128 WPM across the keyboard, she can be found speaking to teens, teaching at writing conferences, and acting in Christian films. Her favorite way to procrastinate is to connect with readers is on her mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website: www.tessaemilyhall.com.
This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture's context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.
This Is the Day the Lord Has Made
Iron Sharpens Iron
Blessed Are the Peacemakers
Faith without Works Is Dead
Be Anxious for Nothing