By John Hames
"For we walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Cor. 5:7)
In entering upon the Christian life the beginner will hear many new and strange expressions, which, if not explained and made clear, will tend to confuse rather than help him. The above text is something of that order and needs to be explained, for it contains some of the most helpful lessons to be found in the catalog of a Christian's experience.
The first thought suggested by the text is that we will not always be full of joy, nevertheless, we are to press on in the way of the Lord and be just as faithful as when we are happy and joyful. Our feelings may vary many times during the day but we are not to depend them but must keep believing Jesus saves or sanctifies us "just now" no matter how dark it gets around us or how God seems to veil His face.
Second, we may not always obtain from the Lord a real clear leading as to what He would have us do, where He would have us go or what He would have us say. Hence, at such times we are to be guided by the Word and our better judgment. There are two general methods which God has adopted in leading His children. One is direct leading, i.e., by the strong impressions of the Holy Spirit we are made to realize that God wants us to lead the meeting, testify, speak to some unsaved person, refrain from talking, etc. His second method is indirect leading. Observe a few examples. A hungry man comes to the door begging food. God will not give us any special leading to feed this man but duty will suggest it.
A minister goes to church on Sunday morning and to his surprise, finds the house crowded with sinners anxiously waiting to hear the gospel message. The minister may not have any special message for them since he came prepared to deliver a message to the Christian people, nevertheless, duty suggests that he select an appropriate text, even if he does not realize a bit of the help of the Spirit, and perform his duty as faithfully as if he felt unusually led of the Lord. This is "walking by faith."
Again, two lines of duty suddenly present themselves, one of which must be immediately acted upon. What am I to do at this point, seeing I have no special leading from God to go to the right or to the left? I am to get down before God and explain the urgent circumstances and also implore His leading, then I am to get up and pursue the course that is the clearer in my mind, that is, I am to do the thing I think God would have me do. This is what it means to "walk by faith."
Many times God is better pleased with this kind of service than that which we render under more favorable circumstances and clearer leadings.