by Ted Kyle
"The righteous shall live by faith" (Rom. 1:17).
"For we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7).
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33).
The first verse recorded above tells us that we live by faith-that is, it is to be mixed inextricably into our lives, so that without it, we would not be who we are. It influences and colors everything we do, from least to greatest. We are to be creatures of faith.
The second verse adds motion-forward motion. Our faith is not to be a stand-pat fortress: it is to carry us forward, under God's banner. Unanswered is our question, "Whither, Lord?" Simply, "Forward!"
Though we may have our preferences, and even our plans, God does not divulge our "tomorrows." And this has been His pattern from the beginning-at least, after our first parents were driven out of Eden. Adam and Eve were not forgotten by God, but their relationship with God was radically altered-and it has remained so with their descendants down through the ages.
Ever since the Fall, man's tomorrows have been for God to know, and man to speculate on. Why is it so? I believe it is because God has long been looking for men and women who will simply trust their futures to the Lord. Thus it is that Abram and his wife, Sarai, packed up their household and all their belongings and left Haran for an unknown destination. Many years later, Abram, now Abraham, obediently obeyed God's command to sacrifice his son, Isaac. He was not to know until the fatal knife stroke was beginning its plunge toward Isaac's breast that God did not intend Isaac to die on that crude stone altar on Mount Moriah.
There have been many such blind departures into the unknown-some recorded in the Bible, some told of in later history, but a great many known only to God and individuals called upon to make these new beginnings. God is still seeking men and women who will simply follow where He leads.
And this brings us to the third verse quoted above. "Faith" is not mentioned, but it is all about faith. "Seek ye first...." All our natural instincts cry out to us that we are to seek first our well-being, our physical needs, and those of our families. Service to the Lord is well and good, but only after we've seen to basic needs. Not so, answers our heavenly Father: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness," and then all these physical needs will be supplied.
We're not talking about "heroes of the faith" here; nor are we speaking only about the youthful adventurers who have only themselves to look after. God put no such limitations in that passage. He was speaking to everyone, and saying in effect: "If you will commit yourself to meeting the needs of My Kingdom, I will commit Myself to meeting your needs"-first the commitment, based solely on faith; then God's abundant response. This is the only way Matt. 6:33 can be properly understood, and it should be the bedrock on which committed Christians stand.
I like to call this level of faith "childlike faith." It literally is the faith of a young child-old enough to be fully aware that there are bogey-men and dangers in the world, but young enough to rest easy in her mind, as long as her little hand is securely clasped by Daddy's strong hand. She fears nothing, as long as her father is standing beside her. And we should know, to the depths of our souls, that we have nothing to fear as long as the Everlasting Arms support us-regardless of outward circumstances.
Ted Kyle is managing editor of Pulpit Helps magazine.