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Dear COA Family,

A short verse in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians aptly describes how we should live: “For we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

This tells us that living by what we see is sometimes totally opposite of living in faith in God.

An instructive story that I just read this week was about Abraham and Lot in Genesis 13. Both had grown so rich that they had to separate and go their own ways. Being the big-hearted man that he was, Abraham allowed his nephew Lot to make the first choice of area to settle in.

Lot surveyed the land before him and saw that the plains of Jordan were beautiful and rich in resources. This was because all of the water from the hills flowed down to the valley below. That would be a perfect place to sustain his livestock and grow even richer than he was currently.

Yet there was a caveat. The people living in the plains were godless and wicked. His adherence to God’s laws and ways would be severely tested. Would he choose a life of luxury in a sinful environment or choose to forego wealth accumulation to live according to God’s ways? In the end, he chose the former.

We all know the outcome of his choice. Eventually, he lost everything when all of his possessions were burnt up together with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Not only that, his wife turned into a pillar of salt when she yearned for the riches they had left behind. By choosing to make wealth as his greatest priority, he had lost all that he had originally and ended up a bitter man with a heart full of regrets.

Beloved, do you resonate with this story? Are you tempted by the wealth and pleasures that the world offers which might compromise your faith? I pray that we would always guard our hearts and be careful about the choices we make.

One way we can do that is to always question what we see as good.

Is our perspective of what is right and good always so? What does God’s word say about that? What does God’s Spirit say to us about that?

I have learnt in my years of Christian living to always possess a healthy sense of doubt towards my own perspectives and opinions. For example, is the attendance of many people in a church service or meeting always indicative that I am fulfilling God’s will? Is the receipt of more financial giving in church always a sign of God’s blessings and favour upon us? Am I truly living by the world’s standards or God’s measure of success?

Ultimately, faith is fully trusting what God says and obeying his call for us.

This, as the Bible tells us, can often be contrary to what we see or perceive. A healthy dose of self-doubt and honest reflection is important to help us be open to God’s true ways for us. Being always faithful in whatever He gives us is what counts.

After all, we live by faith and not by sight.

Revd Ian