REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, written by Han Byul Kim of Remnant Westside Church in Manhattan, was first posted on August 9, 2014. Han Byul, meaning one star in Korean, is a long-time member of the church’s worship team (plays the keyboard).
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“Living by Faith in God’s promises or by Sight Driven by Our Circumstances”
When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand. When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.” He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm.
It was so fascinating to read this passage recently. This scene happened right after Paul had survived a shipwreck during his difficult journey to Rome in captivity to Caesar. Had he not appealed to Emperor Nero, he “could have been set free” (Acts 26:32), but Paul had done so under the conviction that God was calling him to go to Rome.
I envisioned how I would feel if I were in Paul’s shoes: If my decision to appeal to Caesar resulted in this long, difficult journey that almost cost my life, I would have immediately questioned it. But that’s not all. Thinking that the worst is over and I am warming my poor, wet body when, suddenly, a viper comes out of the fire, quickly wrapping around my hand. Freaking out in terror, I would be thinking, “What Rome? What Caesar? Everything seems to be going wrong!” That’s certainly what the islanders thought. Judging the situation by mere appearances, they concluded that Paul must be a terrible person.
But Paul’s reaction is quite the contrary. Unfazed by the viper, he shook it off as if it weren’t life-threatening. How is that possible? Seeing his reality according to what is unseen, that is, God’s plan, Paul operated out of the conviction that he couldn’t die just yet because he had to be in Rome to be God’s witness “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Unlike the islanders who approached circumstances with an earthly mindset, Paul approached them with a heavenly mindset.
How often do we respond enthusiastically to God’s call to live for Him only to quickly fall away when troubles, which are bound to arise on account of our faith (Mk. 4:17), cause doubts and fear in us? Don’t forget that the battle we fight is whether we live by faith in God’s promises, or by sight driven by our circumstances. “We live by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). Therefore, let us not speculate into the future based on circumstances perceived by human eyes, but walk with faith into the future in agreement with Christ, who calls us to be his “ambassadors” (2 Cor. 5:20) even to the point of suffering for him (Phil. 1:29).
Prayer: Dear God, my faith wavers whenever I face difficult trials. Instead of running to You for security and comfort, I run to friends, social media, and other substitutes. Forgive me. Help me to always look to You first and depend on You. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Romans 4