Directed By Physical Reality Or Faith?

Directed By Physical Reality Or Faith?

Preacher Huijun - 23 January 2021

Weekend Devotion: Directed by Physical Reality or Faith?

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In a world of better information circulation made possible by the easily accessible Internet, we are all gripped by a greater sense of realism, of things happening in the world around us. We can no longer be locked in our own space with ignorance of what reality holds. For example, in the current global situation, stricken by the pandemic, the reality is people are getting sick, economy is going down, jobs are reducing, things seem to be regressing rather than progressing. A strong sense of realism is being perpetuated by the news we come across every day. As children of God, we know we need to face reality, yet we also need to guard against losing our faith as a result of confining ourselves only to the reality of this physical world but forgetting that there is a higher unseen spiritual reality too. Instead of being made helpless by the seen reality, we can trump reality by faith in God. Are you more directed by realism or faith?

 

What is being directed by physical reality?

1) A person who is only driven by physical reality does not factor in God or other supernatural elements.

Such a person is only concerned about the pragmatic reality. When he considers something, he will not think about God or any supernatural factors. He will always think that the reality he sees and experiences is the absolute and ultimate truth. There is no room for God and His works. Just as <1 Co 2:14> says, “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.”

 

2) The problem is, fallen and limited humans cannot have accurate and right judgment based entirely on what we see, hear and experience.

This is because our hearts are unreliable and deceitful <Jer 17:9>, our minds have also been blinded by Satan <2 Co 4:4>. Thus, we need God to shine His light, then we can clearly understand reality. In fact, even believers can fall into a sense of realism. When we are directed by physical reality, our responses are easily misled. When the physical reality is not optimistic, we will easily give up, resign to fate, or escape from reality, or become indifferent, not wanting to do anything; otherwise, we will only be absorbed in self-pity, focusing on our own feelings and thoughts. As a result, we are trapped by the physical reality and are unable to triumph or change anything.

 

3) However, we need to know that the physical reality only contains partial truths.

Certainly, we cannot deny that our circumstances and feelings are very real, but they are merely partial truths. In fact, there is a greater reality beyond the reality this world knows, and that is the greater reality about God. Within the spiritual reality, there is God, His throne of mercy and judgment, the work of angels, and of course also, the devil, fallen angels and their evil work. In such a spiritual reality, there are also spiritual battles and the mystery of triumphing by the blood of Christ. Therefore, a truly well-informed realist is one who is aware of the spiritual reality and understands that humans are indeed limited in the face of vast spiritual powers. As a result of that understanding, he is then willing to face the practical reality by faith in God.

 

So how does a faith-directed life look like?

<1 Co 2> 6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.

9 However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen,
    what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
    the things God has prepared for those who love him—

10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

 

1) Faith is built upon God’s unchanging truth and character.

We cannot talk about faith if the Object of faith, God, is removed. Now, faith transcends physical reality and our feelings. Realistic people are only concerned with the practical reality, but faith is rooted in God’s reliable truths and His character. While practical situations may change, God will not. Thus, the person who is directed by faith will not be shaken even if outward conditions change. Thus, <Heb 10:23> says, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Such a faith is rooted in the trustworthy character of God. Such faith which is independent of physical reality is what the world cannot understand with their human wisdom. Only when God reveals to us by the Holy Spirit, then we can be given such a spiritual faith.

 

2) People who are directed by faith will have inconceivable hope and power.

The Bible tells us that what God has prepared for us are “what no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human mind has conceived”. In other words, the person directed by faith will not be restricted by the reality that can be seen and heard. Although we may not see or hear certain things now, it does not mean that God has not prepared. Sometimes, we really do not know how God is going to work in our practical situations, to save us from troubles and make us victorious. Yet, even if we may not see the tangible solutions now, faith will help us develop a hope toward God.

 

3) Faith is not merely a mental or inward exercise, but faith will enable us to boldly submit in actions.

When we restore hope and strength in our spirit, we can naturally take practical steps of faith and have concrete actions of submission. For example, when David faced Goliath, he did not know how God would practically help him triumph over Goliath, but he had faith that the God who “rescued him from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue him from the hand of this Philistine” too <1 Sam 17:37>. To certain people, David was taking too big a risk. He was merely a boy who had not gone through any military training and even the entire army of Israel trembled in front of Goliath, yet David dared to challenge Goliath. Sometimes when we want to live by faith, it also requires courage. For how do we know that if we do not worry about tomorrow, we will surely have enough tomorrow? How do we know if we preach the gospel, there will be people who accept? How do we know if we resist sin, we will overcome it one day? When we obey God, we may not always know what to do exactly, and we are also unsure of the final outcomes, but by faith, we will have the courage to obey God, even if it does not seem logical to do so. Such faith is grounded on God’s word and His faithfulness. It trusts that when we live in obedience to God’s word, He will be responsible to deliver His word.

 

Dear brothers and sisters, while Christians cannot be impractical, we also cannot let physical reality alone direct our thinking, emotions, decisions and life. Instead, may we be directed by faith in the Lord, and cope with our physical reality, even triumphing over it, through faith in God.

Preacher Huijun
Preacher Huijun
huijun@lifechurchmissions.com

Huijun joined The Life Church and Missions (Singapore) as a preacher in 2012. She is effectively bilingual and preaches occasionally at the Chinese service. She graduated from Singapore Bible College and currently lives in Singapore with her husband, Chengji.

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