When preaching through the 1st letter to the church of Corinth, a prominent pastor once pointed out that chapter 1 through 6 was Paul’s attempt at opening the eyes of the church to truly important matters.
1 Corinthians 7:1 opens up with the words “Now regarding the questions, you asked.” They had written to the Apostle, asking him something they felt was important, but when he replied, he wrote a lengthy account regarding other matters before he even addresses their concerns. If we look at what Paul did here, we see that this is a lot like our relationship with God. We come to him in prayer, at times asking a lot of questions, maybe even in need, but the holy spirit quickly turns our attention to more important matters, or better yet, the most important matter. That matter is the matter of faith.
Of all things to focus on, faith is the most essential one. By faith we receive grace, by which we receive salvation. But beyond that beautiful gift, by faith, we live life.
And by life, I don’t mean mundane life, but I mean the most advantageous, adventurous, amazing life worth living. This life is best expressed as the path of the cross, or, the path of faith.
Now, with all care and sincerity, I don’t want to say that our prayer concerns are not important to God, but Jesus prioritizes life differently than we do. But we know that he feels our pain being that he is what Isaiah called, “a man of sorrows.” To anyone facing dire situations reading this, I pray you overcome them with God’s grace. But a question vital to that prayer being answered is, “exactly how does one overcome these situations?” The path of an overcomer is the path of faith.
We usually try to micromanage and fix every last detail. But God does things differently. We usually look for ways to make things ideal, but God has the ability to work in the most adverse situations, seemingly waiting for us to walk with him as he shocks the world with his power and love. And the irony of God’s priority in life is, when we take our focus off of the situations that may be weighing us down, we somehow gain clarity and strength to overcome, or endure to the end.
The great Apostle Peter walked on the water- strengthened- by his trust in the words of the Lord. The great follower Mary was commended for choosing what was better because she chose to sit humbly and listen to the Lord. The blind were even healed because they trusted in what the Lord said, and that latter case always impresses and perplexes the mind, doesn’t it?
Jesus really told a man born blind to go somewhere. He doesn’t aid him. He doesn’t send the disciples with him; he just sends him on his own. But the double emphasis John uses when expressing that this man was “sent” to the pool of Siloam, which is Greek for sent, shows us the power of faith in a way that may be most applicable to us, today.
We might never be walking on water like Peter literally did, but there is so much in us that still needs healing, fixing, correcting. But he doesn’t truly have all of that happen in his life until he trusts in the words of the Lord when he’s sent. Through faith, following the words of the Lord in faith, this man born blind really did have the work of God displayed in his life- John 9:3
To anyone reading this, going through many painful situations, the answer really lies in faith. We may feel so alone, but by faith, we realize we’re one of many beloved children, born of the one and only Amazing God. Maybe you were born “like this”, a certain way that you don’t like, a way that others like even less. But by faith, you’ve been born again.
Maybe you have issues that worldly “experts” say are impossible to get rid of, but by faith, the old is gone, the new has come, and you are indeed a new creation. And maybe, you’ve been hearing the voice of Satan roaring like a lion looking to devour you with his words of condemnation. Well, now by faith there is no more condemnation because you’re in Christ Jesus, so his voice is more like a pesky mosquito at best.
Faith is the true essential business, and nothing plaguing this world should have the power to isolate us from our faith.