Sometimes appearances mislead. I’ve got longish fingers. I’ve got hair. I’m wearing black. I look like a piano player.
The reality is that I’m not. I do know how to read music and understand chords, but I’ve never really played piano, at least not for anyone but myself. We simply do not get a complete understanding of anything by examining an appearance alone. And we know this because we know how often we dress ourselves up even though what’s inside doesn’t measure up.
For that reason it really is odd that we so rarely understand what it means to live by faith. Rather than “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see,” we make decisions based on appearances – that which we see. We date (and often marry) based on looks. We look for a church that looks modern, bright, “alive” – likely just an appearance that reflects a big budget spent internally rather than missionally. We like our dentist because of his hygienists. We make immediate assessments about people based on their hair, weight, clothes, posture, and car. We go to college because that’s what people do. We choose an occupation based on how much earning potential it has. Almost everything in American culture is judged based on its packaging or what we perceive it can do for us based on an appearance. This includes goods, people, buildings, everything.
The good news about all this is that it also illustrates how easy it can be to walk by faith. Rather than judging people, God asks us to love them. When you can find yourself not making assumptions about someone based on their appearance and love them instead, you are living by faith. When you listen for God’s direction for your life about a decision like what church to attend rather than making that decision based on how well the pastor packages a sermon, you are living by faith. Rather than waiting for an audible voice from God, start taking some steps of faith based on that still small voice that you think you might be hearing from time to time.