Living a Life of Faith: Seeing with the eyes of faith

The only definite definition of faith given to us in scripture is found in Hebrews chapter eleven. This is an amazing chapter that is sometimes called the ‘hall of faith’. In this chapter we find a list of great men and women that lived a life of faith. There is a lot to be learned from these individuals who have left behind a legacy of faith. In this study, we will look at the following: I. Looking through the eyes of faith (v. 1-2) II. Creation: Faith in God (v. 3) III. Abel: Faith expressed through thanksgiving (v. 4) IV. Enoch: Faith as a daily walk (v. 5-6) V. Noah: Faith in salvation (v. 7) VI. Abraham: A man of faith (v. 8-19) VII. Isaac & Jacob: Faith for the future (v. 20-21) VIII. Joseph: Faith producing integrity (v. 22) IX. Rahab: Faith to receive (v. 31) X. Faith for today (v. 32-40)
To begin our journey into the faith life there is a fundamental truth that we need to understand. That truth is that faith is not just for salvation. You see, faith continues after salvation. All those who are born-again believers must live a life of faith. We must continue in faith. We must have faith in every aspect of our lives. This is why learning what it means to live by faith is so important. This is why the study of Hebrews chapter eleven is so vital. We begin our study with a careful examination of verses one and two of Hebrews chapter eleven: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.” The first thing we see here is that faith is the substance. The term ‘substance’ refers to that which is real. It gives a sense of reality. Faith is the reality of the things we hope for. The word ‘hope’ in the Bible means ‘a confident expectation’. In other words, faith is the reality of the things that we confidently expect from God. It is believing His Word and believing that God means what He says in His Word and that He will do what He says that He will do. Faith is also ‘the evidence of things not seen.’ This is looking with the eyes of faith. It is a confident expectation in the Word of God to the point that we what we cannot see with our physical eyes, or what we know is true but yet do not see it happening, or seeing the end result in such a way that it becomes a reality for us even before it happens. That, my friend, is faith. It is this type of faith, this real, true, Biblical faith that elders lived by or should live by. The word ‘elders’ in verse two comes from the greek word ‘presbuteros’ which means ‘council, representative, ambassador, or preacher.’ The elders, therefore, refers to men such as pastors, elders, and, perhaps, deacons. In other words, the men that are appointed to lead and serve the church are to be men of faith. They are to be men who see with the eyes of faith. A man who does live a life faith has no business in the ministry. It must be a man who trusts in God and not in the things of this world.
Now that we have looked at an introduction into the faith life, we will now turn our attention to the more specific consideration of how we see with the eyes of faith. In order to see with the eyes of faith, in order for the things that hope for and cannot see happening in the present to become a reality in our lives, there are three basic things that must be done. You see, faith in God is not a blind faith. It is an intellectual faith and it an action faith. In other words, to see with the eyes of faith there are certain things that we must do. Taken from a simple illustration that we see in various scriptures, we look to the life of the farmer. In order to see with the eyes of faith we must do the following: plow, plant, and produce. True Biblical faith does not mean that we sit around waiting on things to happen. As the saying goes, ‘God did not save us to sit on a pew.’ We must put our faith into action, and to see with the eyes of faith we must do something. Keep in mind that our subject matter is the faith life not faith for salvation. The Bible clearly teaches that as we trust or place our faith in Christ, we are saved by His grace. There is nothing that we must do in order to be saved. However, there are things that we must do in order to live a life of faith.
The first of these things is that we must plow. When a farmer is going to produce a crop, the first thing he must do is prepare his fields. If he just sits there and does nothing then there will be no harvest or no blessing. The same is true in the life of the believer. If we expect God to bless us and if we expect God to use us in great ways, then we must prepare our fields. Faith is when we see the end result before it happens and we prepare ourselves for what God is going to do. When it comes to plowing there are a few things that we can learn. First of all, to plow is to prepare. You cannot receive blessings from God unless you are prepared for it. You cannot expect God to do great things in your life, unless you prepare yourself for it. We must prepare our fields. What does this mean in the life of the individual believer? It means that we must be students of the Word of God. It means that we must have a continual on-going personal relationship with Jesus. It means that we hide God’s Word in our hearts. This is preparing our fields. If you don’t know God’s Word then you will never know the things that God has planned and purposed for you. Are you a student of the Bible? Do you spend time reading and studying your Bible every day? Do you have a close, intimate relationship with Jesus? Without this, you can never see with the eyes of faith. You will never be able to see what God can do with your life. You will never know the things that God has prepared for you. You will never see a harvest in your life unless you are prepared. This concept of preparation is also needed in the life of the local church as well. As a pastor, the one thing that bothers me the most is when we focus on where we are now rather than building a foundation for the future. There is no reason for any church to not be organized. There is no reason for any church to not have a vision. Just because your church may be small, does not mean that you cannot do great things for God. And it certainly does not mean that you can should just go with the flow and have the attitude of ‘what happens, happens’, and have no organization and preparation. For example, let’s say your church has no pre-school children. Does this mean that you should not have a pre-school Sunday School class? Of course not! Seeing with the eyes of faith is when we are prepared. You may not have pre-school children at the moment, but you are prepared for when that time comes. You have the class available, you have the ministry organized and you actively seek families with pre-school children that you can reach. Just because the people are not there, does not mean that you do not have the ministry. This is what it means to prepare the field. You do not see the results right now, but you have such a confidence in God that you will have a harvest, therefore, you prepare for that harvest. Just like the farmer in the field, if you do not prepare the fields, there will be no harvest. There are some churches that have gotten away from the Sunday evening service. Now, I may be a little old fashioned, but I believe there ought to be a Sunday evening service, and that service time is very special and valuable in the life of the church. So, for me, even if no one comes, I will still be there and preach. Why? Because I believe in a God that blesses faithful preparation. I believe in a God who will send a harvest as long as I am faithful to preaching the Word of God. Pastor friend, don’t follow the latest trends and don’t replace the preaching of the Word of God with other things. Stay faithful. Be prepared. Do the work of the ministry even if you are the only one. Prepare the field for God is going to send a harvest! A second thing that plowing does is that it not only prepares the field but it also removes the hindrances. When I till my garden I am always amazed at the number of rocks that I have to pull out. Then, as the growth season begins I am constantly pulling out the weeds that chokes the plants. You see, in our lives we have rocks and weeds that hinders our growth and chokes the life out of us. To see with the eyes of faith, to see God’s Word become a reality in our lives, we must remove the hindrances. What is that is hindering you? What keeps you from being on fire for God? What keeps you from going all out for Jesus? You see, God cannot bless, He cannot send a harvest in our lives, unless we remove the things that hinders us. Perhaps it is a sinful habit or attitude. Hebrews 12:1 tells us, “Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Child of God, you must remove the weights. You must put away those things that hold you down and hinder you from serving the Lord and living a life of faith. I am convinced that none of us ever reach our full potential because we have too many hindrances. I believe that God has blessings beyond anything that we can imagine. I believe that He desires to do abundantly above all we ask or think. I believe that He has a storehouse of blessings that He desires to pour down upon us. The reason we do not have these blessings is because of our selves. We have conformed to the ways of the world. We have bought into this world’s system and it weighs us down to the point that we are of no use to the cause of Christ. God help us. Maybe it’s financial hindrances. You may say, ‘pastor, I give my tithes, I give to missionaries, but I still cannot get ahead. No matter how hard I try I still cannot get ahead.’ Brothers and Sisters I feel your pain, I’ve been there, and to some extent I am there now. But, the one thing that I have discovered is that the mess we get into financially (including myself) is no one’s fault but our own. You see, God hates debt. Let me say that again, God hates debt. As a matter of fact, He came to this earth because we had a debt that we could not pay, the debt of sin. He gave His life to pay that debt for us. My friend, God hates debt. We as God’s people have bought into the lie of the ‘American Dream’ and instead of living in light of eternity we live for the here and now. We think we have to have a nice car. We think we have to have that certain house or property. We think we have to have the latest toys and gadgets. Why? Because that is what this world tells us. We have conformed to the world, and we are paying for it. You want God to open up the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing in your life. You want God to send a harvest, than get rid of the debt. Debt is the biggest hindrances to financial blessings. The weight that so easily pulls us down is worldliness. By the way, worldliness is not just looking a certain way or doing a certain thing, it is becoming like the world. Not just referring to sin, but to everything; buying into the world’s idea of success and fame and identity and materialism. Sadly, these worldly ideas have crept into the church, yet we wonder why God does not send a revival. We preachers are good at preaching on sin. We are good at finding things that we call ‘worldly’. While we preach against sin and worldliness, we ourselves go home to our high definition televisions and easy chairs (I’m preaching to myself here). We ourselves have car payments and credit card debts. We ourselves purchase homes that we cannot afford. We ourselves long for the latest and brightest of things. Are we not worldly, also? Preachers, look at what you have. Look at what you desire. Look at what you devout your time and energy to. Are you not worldly, too? Worldliness is not just some known sin, it is that attitude of the world. It is embracing the world’s ideals. It is listening to what they tell us on the news and on the latest talk shows. It is trying to be like everyone else. Worldliness is also when we try to push are identity or brand or denomination rather than identifying with Christ. Unless, we remove these things from our lives, we will never be able to fully see with the eyes of faith. Revival will never come. God’s Word will never be a reality for us. God will never be able to bless unless we get on our knees and repent of our ways and we remove those things that hinder us. Child of God, plow your field. Church, plow the field. Be prepared and remove the rocks and the weeds, remove the hindrances. To have a harvest, to live a life of faith, we must plow the field. The life of faith is not just sitting around and waiting on God. Though we wait on God for the harvest, for His blessings, for revival, we must plow while we wait. I love that song that says, “I will worship you while I’m waiting, I will live for you while I’m waiting, I will serve you while I’m waiting.” Faith is a verb. In order for God’s promises and blessings to become a reality in our lives, we must act. Have you plowed your fields? Are you prepared for the harvest? Have you removed the hindrances? To see with the eyes of faith, we must plow.
Not only, to see with the eyes of faith must we plow but we also must plant. If a farmer is going to have a harvest, he cannot leave his seeds stored in the barn. He must put the seeds in the ground. You cannot reap unless you sow. You cannot have a harvest unless you do the work. You cannot live a life of faith unless you do the work. Look at Second Corinthians chapter nine. In this chapter, Paul is encouraging the Corinthian church in the area of giving. In First Corinthians, Paul presented the need of the saints in Jerusalem. There was one church, the church of Macedonia that gave out of their poverty. Paul uses their example to encourage the church at Corinth to give also. It is in this context that Paul says the following: “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” The concept here is that the more you put in, the more you get out. This has nothing to do with quantity, but rather, sacrifice. It is not a matter of how much you give, it is what you give. How much of a sacrifice are you making? Seeing with the eyes of faith requires that we step out and we do the work. You may not have anyone in your Sunday School class right now, but you prepare the lesson anyway, because you believe that God is going to send a harvest. You don’t give up on that lost loved one or neighbor, you keep planting the seed, because you believe that God is going to send a harvest. There is something very fundamental here that we must understand. When it comes to salvation, there is nothing that the individual must do. It is all a work of God. It is all His doing. He finds us, we do not find Him. He comes to us and draws us to Himself. When it comes to salvation it is all God, and we need to understand that. However, when it comes to life after salvation, when it comes to living the faith life, the pursuit is shifted. We go from God pursuing us for salvation to us pursuing God for His continual leading and blessing. You see when it comes to all that is included in salvation, there is nothing that man does, it is all God, but when it comes to living a life of faith, it is dependent upon what man does and how he responds to God’s Word. In other words, you cannot expect God to bless you unless you meet the conditions. As a church, we cannot expect God to send a harvest, unless we do the work. If we just sit there and do nothing, then God is not going to do anything. There is something to be said about obedience to the Word of God. It is through living a life of obedience to God’s Word that we see God’s blessing and harvest. The church that strays from the truth of God’s Word will never have God’s blessings. Planting the seed means to live in complete obedience to God’s Word. When we live in that obedience even in the difficult times, God will send a harvest and we will be able to see that harvest before it comes, because we are seeing with the eyes of faith. In other words, when everyone else is doing wrong, we do right. When there is nothing more to give, we still give. When no one comes, we still preach. When no one listens, we still proclaim God’s Word. No matter what, we stay faithful to abound in the work of the Lord and to carry out His Word even when we cannot see the results. This is what it means to plant the seeds. If we do not plant, faith will never become a reality for us. We will just go through the motions with no realness and genuine change, unless we plant. The question is, are you planting? Do you just come to church on Sunday morning and sit there and do nothing to get involved in the work? If so, you will never see with the eyes of faith, you will never experience God’s blessing on your life. My friend, God did not save you to sit and do nothing. He has called you. He has chosen you. He has a plan and purpose for you. He desires to do great things through you. Stop sitting there and just do it! God will not bless, God will not provide, God will not send a harvest, unless you take that first step. You must get involved. You must plant. Faith is action. We do not have a blind faith. It is a faith based on the reality of God’s Word. In order for God’s Word to become a reality for us, we must simply step out and do what God’s Word says no matter how hard or how costly it may be. Are you planting?
The final requirement to seeing with the eyes of faith is not only plowing and planting but also producing. Once the farmer prepares his fields and once he plants the seed, he will then produce. To produce goes beyond the first harvest. Production is a continuation of the work. What does that mean in relation to our lives? It means that we continue in the life of faith. We keep plowing, we keep planting, and we keep producing. There will always be hindrances in our lives that need to be removed. There will always be weeds that need to be pulled. There will always be seeds to plant and work to do. There will always be souls to save. Producing is the continuation of the faith life. Once you experience God’s blessings. Once you see God at work, you will desire more and more. Your faith will increase to measures beyond anything you have ever imagined. The key is persistence. Don’t stop. Keep on keeping on. There is man mentioned in just two verses of scripture that is an example of the faith life. The example of this one man, whom the Bible says very little about, can change our lives enormously. This man is the man known as Jabez. First Chronicles chapter four and verses nine and ten read: “And Jabez was more honorable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, because I bare him with sorrow. And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.” Jabez was an honorable man. He was a man of faith. He saw with the eyes of faith. The reason he could see with the eyes of faith was because he plowed. He asked God to keep him from evil. There was a removal of the hindrances. He also planted. Jabez lived a life of worship and prayer. He lived in obedience to the Word of God. As a result, God blessed him. He saw the harvest become a reality. God’s Word became real to Him. As he experienced this, he asked God to enlarge his territory. He said, ‘God, don’t stop blessing me. I want more of you. I desire more and more. Enlarge my territory.’ As Jabez plowed, planted, and produced; God granted his request. Wow! What a lesson to be learned! Child of God, you should never be satisfied with where you are in your walk with God. You should always desire more. Church, we should never be satisfied with what we are doing and accomplishing, we should always desire more. God did not call us to manage His church but to build His church. The territory of our lives and our church will never be enlarged until we plow, plant, and produce. Living a life of faith is a continual life. It never ends until Jesus comes. The work never stops until Jesus comes. There will always be fields to plow and prepared fields to plant in and to work, and God will always produce a harvest.
I’d like to conclude with Matthew 9:37. Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” The harvest is there. The blessings are there. God is ready to pour those blessings on your life. God desires to send a revival. He longs to bless His church. However, those blessings cannot come apart from the laborers. Seeing with the eyes of faith, have the confident expectation in God’s Word become a reality; requires that you labor. Don’t think about anyone else. Don’t look at what others are doing or not doing. Don’t compare yourself to someone else. Draw a circle around you and ask, ‘Am I a laborer.’ ‘Do I see with the eyes of faith?’ Perhaps you need to do some plowing. Maybe there is something in your life that hinders you from living a life of faith. Perhaps you are prepared, but you have never planted. You have been sitting on the sidelines. You come to church but you do nothing. You hear the Word, but you do nothing about it. Maybe you need to plant. Maybe you need to get involved and get to work. Perhaps you are involved. Don’t stop. Examine your life and plow some more. Ask God to enlarge you territory and work harder. Living a life faith never ends. It is a joyous and amazingly blessed life. To experience it, you must simply step out and do it. Do you see with the eyes of faith? Are you living the faith life?

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One thought on “Living a Life of Faith: Seeing with the eyes of faith

  1. this is a beautiful word on faith it helped me a lot im encouraged hopeful with the help of GOD im ready to plow plant produce to be ad doer of HIS WORD not just a hearer I pray GOD blessing upon you and your ministry

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