Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 7 PART 4 – Faithfulness (2 Corinthians 5:7)
Lesson: FAITHFULNESS (We walk by faith, not by sight)
Memory Verse: “For we live by faith, not by sight.” – 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV) / “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” – 2 Corinthians 5:7 (KJV)
Walking by FAITH: As we learn from Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Faith is not similar to wishful thinking and hoping that things will happen the way we want them to if we are lucky. Faith is based on something REAL and TRUE – that is why we can have confidence that though we do not see it yet, we have received what we believed. The basis for our faith is God’s Word. We can illustrate this by looking at the story of how Jesus and Peter walked on the water from Matthew 14: 22-33.
The Story: Jesus had just finished teaching and feeding five thousand people. Jesus then told his disciples to get into a boat and go ahead of him while he stayed to pray. Later that night, while the boat was already far from land and with the wind causing the waves to pound on the boat, Jesus went out to them, walking on the water. The disciples got scared, thinking they were seeing a ghost, but Jesus cried out, “Don be afraid, it is I.” When Peter heard this, he replied, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to the water.” “Come,” Jesus said. Peter obeyed, got down on the boat and walked on the water. But when Peter looked at the wind, he became afraid and started to sink. He cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus caught his hand and said, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” Then the two of them climbed onto the boat and the wind died down. Those in the boat worshiped Jesus saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
The 3 Steps in Walking By Faith:
- Hear the Word – Romans 10:17 tells us, “Faith comes by hearing.” When Peter heard the voice of Jesus, faith came. The Word of God is so powerful that when we hear it, faith comes at that very moment. If we do not hear the Word of God, then we will not have faith. If we hear it often, faith grows. That is why reading the bible everyday and going to church and Sunday school regularly is important – this is how our faith is being built up.
- Obey the Word – Faith means obeying “right now.” Delayed obedience is disobedience. When we postpone obedience, we give the enemy time to take away the Word that we received or he may create opportunities to distract us and or cause us to doubt. We should hold on to our knowledge of the love and power of God; trusting Him that He knows what is best. That means there is no room for fear or doubt when we hear God’s Word telling us to do something.
- Look unto Jesus –Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus is the “author and perfecter” of faith. When we act in faith, what will strengthen and sustain us is looking unto Jesus. Peter had faith because he heard the voice of Jesus telling him to come. As he acted on that faith, it allowed him to do the impossible – to walk on water! This reminds us about what faith is not: faith CANNOT be seen or heard or felt. Instead, faith has to be ACTED OUT. Peter trusted Jesus because he knew Jesus was his friend (Jesus loved him and would not allow him to be harmed) and Jesus was able to do miracles (Peter has seen the demonstration of this power). Peter started sinking when his eyes shifted from looking unto Jesus to looking at the wind and the waves (the circumstances around him that contradicts his faith). Our experiences – the things we see, hear, or feel are not connected to our faith. Faith comes from the Word alone. We do not have faith because of what we see happening around us – we have faith because God’s Word says so. When we accept, trust and obey the WORDS of JESUS, then we are also accepting, trusting and obeying JESUS.