Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
- Hebrews 11.1
From earthly things lift up
your heart’s eyes;
love the most loving
hosts of angels;
which dwells on high,
where the old does not groan
nor the infant cry,
where of God’s praise
no voice is restrained,
where there is no hunger,
where there is never thirst,
where on celestial food
the heavenly folk are fed,
where none dies
because none is born...
- Columbanus, Poem on the World’s Impermanence, Irish, 7th century
Faith is of two parts, and faith is only complete when both parts are present.
The first part of faith is that with which we are most familiar. It consists of those “hoped for” things that we read about in God’s Word – forgiveness of sin, heaven, eternal life, a dwelling-place with God forever. When we truly believe, we experience a measure of “the assurance of things hoped for.”
But this inward assurance of hoped-for blessings is only half of faith.
Another way to say this is, if your faith only consists of this assurance, you do not yet have a full faith, a true saving and sanctifying faith.
For faith is also the “conviction of things not seen.” The Greek says, literally, “the evidence” of things not seen. The hope we have in unseen things generates evidence in our lives. The more clearly we “see” those unseen things, the greater the likelihood our lives will give evidence of the reality of them.
What are those unseen things?
Columbanus suggests some, but, of course, there is much, much more (read on for the offer at the end of this issue of Crosfigell).
More important, what does it mean to show “evidence” of unseen things? We can’t see angels, but apparently true faith consists in practicing angelic existence in some way. We can’t see Christ enthroned at the Father’s right hand, but true faith consists in practicing that exalted presence.
Is your faith is more than mere assurance of things hoped for? Does it include the daily, vital practice of things not seen?
Living only half of faith is like seeing with only one eye. We see truly, but not fully, not as well as we might if both perspectives of sight were engaged.
If you’re living only half of faith, dear friend, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Psalm 91.1-3, 14-16 (Lauda Anima: “Praise My Soul the King of Heaven”)
All who dwell within God’s shelter in His shadow will reside.
He our Tow’r, our Fortress ever, in Him we our trust confide.
From the trappers snares He saves us; safe from sickness we abide.
Save us, Lord! We love You only; set us up secure on high!
You we know, on You we call in trouble: Hear us when we cry!
Show us Your salvation, let long life forever satisfy!
Lord, am I practicing unseen things? Isn’t praying to you a kind of practice of unseen things? Are there other varieties of this practice that I have been neglecting?
We are set to release our latest publication, The Landscape of Unseen Things. The twenty-four studies in this workbook provide a tour de force of the unseen realm and suggest ways you can begin to practice unseen things more consistently in your Christian life. Before we release this new workbook to the general public, we want to give you, the members of The Ailbe Community, an opportunity to obtain it. Righ now, for your gift of any amount to The Fellowship of Ailbe, we'll send you a copy of The Landscape of Unseen Things so that you can begin to become more familiar with the larger world in which we walk by faith in Jesus Christ. Use the donate button here or at the website, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Dr., Essex Junction, VT 05452, and we'll send your copy of The Landscape of Unseen Things right away.
And you can register for the course, Spiritual Maturity 1: Revival, to study online on your own at any time. Just visit the registration page, and you can get started right away.
T. M. Moore Principal