One of the main challenges that believers have is that some live on the five senses — what we hear, touch, feel, smell or see — which is contrary to what the word of God encourages us. We are supposed to walk by faith, not by sight.
gracetidings with Dr Doug Mamvura
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
Moffatt’s translation of this verse reads: “Now faith means that we are confident of what we hope for, convinced of what we do not see.” Another version says: “Faith is giving substance to things hoped for.”
There are different kinds of faith. Everyone, saved or unsaved, has natural human faith. But here God is talking about Bible faith. He is talking about believing in your heart.
There is a vast difference between believing with your heart and just believing what your physical senses tell you. Faith is grasping the unrealities of hope and bringing them into the realm of reality. For example, you hope for finances to meet the obligations that you have to pay. Faith gives the assurance that you will have the money when you need it.
A believer knows that through the finished work of Christ, God’s blessings such as forgiveness of sins, healing, deliverance and prosperity, among others, are available to him that believes. Faith is your positive response to what God has already made available to you.
The level of faith one has is determined by one’s knowledge of the word of God. You can never have faith that goes beyond your understanding of His word. This is why faith comes by hearing. One has to believe the word of God and it has nothing to do with feelings or sight. One just has to believe and obey the word of God.
Many people want to get something and then believe they have got it. But you have to believe you have something and then you will receive it. You may say that you know God’s word is good, but you never will really know until you have acted on it and have reaped the results. This is why the Bible says that faith without works is dead.
Many people think faith is acting like something is so when it really isn’t so, and if we do that long enough, then it will become so. But that’s not it at all. Faith is real.
Faith is substance. This is saying that faith is real. It is the evidence of things not seen. Notice, it didn’t say “things that don’t exist.” They do exist. They just aren’t seen.
Even in the natural world, we’ve come to realise that there are things that do exist that we can’t see. We can’t see television signals, but they do exist.
A television set can make unseen signals visible. When we see the images that is not when they became real. They were already there. A television set doesn’t generate images. The set just receives the signal and converts it into sights and sounds that we can perceive.
God is real and does exist. He just can’t be seen. He is broadcasting all His power and blessings 24/7. God’s transmitter is never broken. It’s always our receiver that is the problem. If we ask God for something and we don’t see it manifest instantly, most people question why God hasn’t answered that prayer yet. They assume that because they haven’t seen or heard anything, nothing has happened. That’s all wrong. We need to have more faith in God than we have in a television station.
There is a very good illustration of this truth in 2 Kings 6. Elisha, the prophet of God, was revealing the Syrians’ battle plans to the king of Israel. Each time the king of Syria tried to ambush the king of Israel, Elisha would have warned the king of Israel. This happened so often that the king of Syria finally asked his servants to reveal who the traitor was. He knew that the king of Israel could not be maneuvering like he was without inside information.
When one of the king of Syria’s servants said that Elisha, the prophet of God, was revealing the words that the king of Syria said in his bed chamber to the king of Israel, the king of Syria sent his armies to capture Elisha.
2 Kings 6:15 says: “And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?”
When Elisha’s servant saw the Syrian troops, he panicked. He knew why they were there. They had discovered Elisha was the one telling the king of Syria’s battle plans to the king of Israel. They were in big trouble. Look at Elisha’s response to this situation in 2 Kings 6:16: “And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”
People who don’t believe anything exists beyond their five senses would say Elisha was lying. He was confessing something was so, when it really wasn’t. Elisha spoke the truth. There were more with him than was with the Syrian army. It’s just that Elisha’s forces were in the unseen realm.
The key to understanding this is to recognise there is another realm of reality beyond this physical world. Those who are limited to only their senses will always struggle with this. In the spiritual realm, there were many more horses and chariots of fire around Elisha than there were Syrian troops.
According to 2 Kings 6:17:
“Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.”
Gehazi’s physical eyes were already wide open. God was opening his spiritual eyes. He was able to see with his heart into the spiritual world. And when the spiritual world was taken into consideration, then Elisha’s statement was true.
Those who see faith as an attempt to make something real which isn’t real will always struggle with those who see faith as simply making what is spiritually true, a physical truth.
When Gehazi’s eyes were opened, the Syrians didn’t disappear. They were still there. The physical truth was still true, but there was a greater spiritual truth that emerged.
True faith doesn’t deny physical truth; it just refuses to let physical truth dominate spiritual. True faith subdues physical truth to the reality of spiritual truth.
Once you start walking by faith, you will see the invisible and do the impossible.
Dr Doug Mamvura is a graduate of Charis Bible School. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @dougmamvura.