Summary: We live our lives not based on what we see, but on what we know to be true and cannot see.
“Faith Walk” 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:10
One of the most common demonstrations of faith is one person leading another person who has been blindfolded. It is one thing to say that we walk by faith and not by sight, but if someone isn’t looking out for us we are going to bump into a lot of things. The blindfolded person relies on the sighted person to lead him or her clear of obstacles and dangers.
After writing about the necessary characteristics of an authentic community and discussing consolation and forgiveness, Paul continued to write about the Christian life by comparing it to clay pots. Christians walk humbly before our Lord and have the inner strength provided to us by the Holy Spirit. In today’s lesson Paul views the Christian life from the perspective of a journey—a journey on which we walk by faith.
INNER RENEWAL AND CHANGE
The text begins with Paul’s writing, “So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day” (vs.16).
Adversity, struggles and set-backs have the ability to cause our outer nature to waste away. They have a destructive force. They also have a creative power. Many people have weighed in on the value of difficult times.
• Paul Harvey once said, “In times like these it is good to remember that there have always been times like these.”
• Bob Richards stated, “It may sound strange, but many champions are made champions by setbacks,” and
• Zig Ziglar taught, “It's not the situation, but whether we react (negative) or respond (positive) to the situation that's important.”
I find it difficult to believe that we can find it within ourselves to respond to a situation without some reason to back up our actions. Paul gives us this reason when he writes, “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure” (vs.17).
• What is being suggested is not a denial of the stress and pain that we are experiencing. It is not putting on a plastic smile. Nor is it an empty optimism that cheerfully says, “Oh, everything is going to turn out all right.”
• Faith in adversity acknowledges that God is present in the situation. God is present in our lives in the same way that God was present during the Exodus, and the disciples in the midst of the storm.
• Trusting in God’s presence we open ourselves up to God’s creative activity instead of worry and despair.
WE WALK BY FAITH
Paul writes, “We walk by faith, not be sight” (5:7).
When we talk about faith, we are not discussing doctrinal beliefs. This has nothing to do with our concept of the Trinity or what we believe happens at Holy Communion.
Faith is trust—trust in a person or a divine being.
• Faith is trust that God is present in the situation and that God is leading us in the same manner that the sighted person leads the blindfolded person.
• Faith is trust that God is a God of love. God is for us and not against us. God wants the very best for us and never the worst.
• Faith is trust that no matter what happens God will never forsake us.
A DIFFERENT PURPOSE
Paul draws this text to a close with the words, “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him” (5:9).
Our faith develops a different purpose in our lives. We live in the reality that provides us with our daily bread; everything that we have comes from the hand of the creator. We believe that nothing is able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Because of this:
• We no longer need to be self-centered or selfish. We can live beyond ourselves.
• We no longer need to live in fear and struggle for safety and security.
Our purpose in life in changed into living a life that is pleasing to God. Not one that strives for perfection by keeping all of the commandments. Rather we strive to be faithfully obedient—to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and to share God’s love and grace with others.
Faith is powerful. Through our faith the Holy Spirit transforms our lives; the Spirit makes us different people. We see life from a different perspective and live life with a different purpose. Such a faith changes situations and also changes the world. Amen.