The Apostle Paul famously says to the church in Corinth, "We walk by faith, not by sight." Many have mistakenly interpreted his words as advocating what is pejoratively referred to as “blind faith.” However, nothing could be further from the truth.
When we look at Paul's life, we see clearly that his faith was anchored in what he saw and experienced of God in Jesus Christ. Paul was not anti-sight; rather, he was for seeing correctly.
The work of God on the cross and in history is plain to see. In those actions, we see the character and heart of God — that he is for us and that he is trustworthy and true. This seeing is the basis of our faith.
As we know, however, human sight can very often lead us away from faith. When the Israelites were wandering in the desert or when they were intimidated from the reports they received regarding the size of the people in Canaan, their sight led them to lose faith. This, unfortunately, is a regular experience for us as well — what we see unfolding around us and in our lives often stumbles us and causes us to fear and doubt God.
For Paul, the antidote to "sight that leads to fear" is remembering with the eyes of faith that despite our circumstances, our God is always faithful. The cross shows us that God loves us more than we can dare imagine. And the resurrection shows us that he will use all of his power to follow through on that love. These two truths anchor us in faith — that God will be faithful to us always — when our sight leads us astray.
Faith is a forward-propelling force. Fear freezes us in our tracks or makes us apprehensive in moving forward. Faith, however, gives us the courage and the spiritual resources to step forward into the future with confidence.
New Mercy Palisades Church is venturing into the unknown. Being planted as a new church in a new location will present to us realities that can both surprise and challenge us. However, we move forward into this new adventure anchored in faith, knowing that the horizon that lies before us, while unfamiliar, is one that our God has planned. The future is already set, and we walk into it knowing that it will be good.
In 2019, our church will revisit the very foundations of faith itself. The truths we learn in this process, we will use to grow us, fill us, and heal us, and to propel us into the works that God has prepared for us to do. And we pray that as we mature in faith, we will indeed learn to walk into the future with faith and not just by mere sight.
Pastor Kee gives a talk on the Faith Forward theme at our 2019 Kick-Off Service.
AN ARTIST’S INTERPRETATION
This is an artistic rendering of Faith Forward by one of our congregants. It is an imaginative depiction of the disciple Peter stepping out of the boat in faith to walk on the water toward Jesus. It is an evocative image blending a number of biblical elements, including the light of Christ shining in the darkness, the waves that cause Peter (and us) to doubt, the beckoning of our Lord, and the stepping out and moving forward in courage and faith into the unknown.
The Pointillism technique used outlines the main characters and physical elements of the story while leaving room and enough ambiguity for the imagination to wander and fill in the space with our own story. And the various, subtle colors elicit a sense of wonder and dynamism that is characteristic of faith in a mysterious, creative, and playful God.
We pray this image will aid you in anchoring this year’s theme in rich, biblical imagery. Art is one of the most powerful gifts God has given us to nourish and expand the mind, heart, and soul. You can download the high-resolution version by clicking on the button below. Please feel free to use it as your wallpaper for any of your devices, and may it remind you to step forward in faith in 2019.