“For we walk by faith, and not by sight” is my life verse (2 Cor. 5.7). That is the reason there are 50+ walking sticks on display in my office; people knowing that was my life verse donated to my global collection of sticks over the years. Let’s explore what “walking by faith” means on a daily basis.
The diagram below is a crude visual of this principle.
The rectangle represents the passage of time be it days, months, or years, and from left to right. When I enter a new area of life in which I have no experience, the grace of God is dominant in that He guides my every step and provides close supervision. I feel His presence strongly in this new endeavor as I lean on His Spirit’s leadership (Galatians 5.16-25). Our heavenly Father watches over our every step in this new area of life, much like we guide a child’s steps as he learns to walk, or clean a room, or ride a bike.
However, the diagonal line shows (over the passage of time) grace gradually taking a back seat to wisdom. This represents what happens in all parenting situations: we guide with words, hands, and facial expressions extremely closely. Over time the child is expected to learn how to walk, how to clean the room, ride that bike. He/she is to acquire wisdom, what we are oft instructed to do in the entire book of Proverbs. In terms of “feeling” or “sensing” the Spirit, it can be perceived as if God is drawing away from us. Relax, He is always with us, even to the end of the world (Mt. 28.18-20). He wants us to grow and mature in Him, to acquire wisdom and order our lives accordingly. It doesn’t replace grace, as the diagram might mistakenly seem to represent (I’m not an artist, and would appreciate help with the diagram, you Adobe Illustrator types).
After He judges I’ve had enough time to acquire wisdom, He says use that wisdom to order your life. If you fall in a hole over & over, and He miraculously lifts you out of it, you learn little. If after the third time you have to crawl and grind your way out of the hole, it doesn’t mean God abandoned you; it means He thinks it’s time to acquire wisdom enough to avoid falling in and has decided to help you gain that wisdom in a way you become more careful!
So walking by faith is simply continuing to launch into new areas of my life, much like the priests whose feet when touching the Jordan River in Joshua 3.13. When I’m in a new area of life, He intercedes and guides much more closely and intimately; after a while I am to learn the ways of my Father and walk in similar fashion (1 Pet. 2.21).