Devotion 74

Living by Faith, not Sight

I paint not by sight but by faith; faith gives me sightAmos Ferguson

I am a painter, by hobby not profession. Throughout my life, I was constantly told, both directly and subtly, I had no artistic ability. I clearly remember my 3rd grade teacher tearing up a piece of artwork, because I had coloured the sky yellow and the grass purple. After awhile, I lost the desire to be creative and threw myself into academics.

It wasn’t until I was in my late fifties, when a friend, looking at my doodles, challenged me to engage in some art classes to help re-kindle the artist inside. I took up the challenge and the rest is history.

I can clearly see the demarcation of my focus from painting by sight to painting by faith. Please allow me to explain.  Before I came to faith in Adonai Yeshua, the Lord Jesus, I painted what I saw; I endeavored to capture the physical appearance of my subject – what I saw was more important than what I felt.

Then came Adonai Yeshua and my art changed. I began to see things not by their physical appearance but by their inner qualities. In essence, I was painting by faith, rather than by sight. How could I ‘see’ something I could not physically see? Even now, when I attempt to unpack this concept, I have difficulty.

Apprehending the interior is a matter of faith, of stepping forward and being led by someone greater than I. When I surrender my desire to Yahweh, I am led to ‘seeing’ what is beneath the surface. As Amos Ferguson, the renowned American folk artist (1920-2009) wrote in his memoirs, “faith gives me sight.”

This concept of faith producing sight is not new; indeed, it existed many centuries ago. For example, Rav Sha’ul, the Apostle Paul, wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:7 – for we live by trust, not by what we see. As I have shared before, faith is trust-in-action (emunah in Hebrew) and is active, not passive. Like painting by faith, living by faith is challenging.

When I fill a canvas with what I cannot see with my eyes, I must give up expectations of what is ‘right’ and focus instead on what I ‘see’ with my heart. Similarly, living by faith requires us to surrender our worldly expectations and draw upon our hope in Adonai Elohim, the Lord God, and Adonai Yeshua. For many of us, this was not easy. Indeed, it was probably the hardest step forward I have ever taken and the most rewarding.

Perhaps you have seen the film “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?” There is a scene in the film, where Jones, played by Harrison Ford, is standing on the edge of a cliff, facing a gap of several metres to the rock-face opposite. He has been told to take ‘a step of faith’. It wasn’t until he threw some sand in front of him that he saw the land-bridge joining the cliff faces. Believers’ step forward usually does not have the physical evidence of a bridge to Faith in Adonai Yeshua but there is always evidence present. I know, many will counter with, ‘what about the cross’? For many the cross is the representation of evidence but it itself is not the evidence. The evidence is to be found in the words of Rav Sha’ul, found in Hebrews 11:1 – Trusting is being confident of what we hope for, convinced about things we do not see. Our hearts, not our eyes, go first; we see by faith that stepping forward in trust will be rewarded.

Beloved, if you have not taken that step forward towards accepting the Jewish Messiah, Adonai Yeshua, as your personal atoning sacrifice, as the TaNaKh proclaims Him to be (Isaiah 53) – the one Man through Whom a whole nation will be saved, I urge you to consider the question below, very seriously.

CONSIDER: There is only one door through which salvation and, hence, eternal life may be entered; that door is Adonai Yeshua. Not all Judaism believes in a second life for the soul; no religion will offer salvation through a Loving God. Salvation will only be achieved through a relationship with the Creator of the Universe, Hashem, Yahweh, Elohim, through His Son, Adonai Yeshua Moshichainu.

ACT: Unlike the Greek world view, the world view of Adonai Yeshua, a Hebraic world view, requires us to step forward and seek salvation, seek a relationship with the Lover of our souls. Will you step forward and ask Him to receive you as His? The rewards are beyond your wildest expectations.

PRAY: If you have not taken the step: Dear God, I have not seen you; I have no clear evidence of your existence, yet I can ‘feel’ you near me. I want to have a relationship with you. Please take me into your family of faith and make me Yours. I commit myself to you, renouncing all my sins, my associations with the idols of the world and ask You to clean me, make me as white as snow.

If you have taken the step: Beloved Abba, You know me and love me; You have formed a relationship of love with me and I am Yours. I recommit myself to you and pledge my soul to You. B’Shem Adonai Yeshua Mashichainu, In the Name of Adonai Yeshua, our Messiah.