… for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises].

2 Corinthians 5:7 AMP

Walking by faith means living in a way that shows we confidently believe in God’s promises, and this pleases God.

It means we don’t just read passages of the Bible for comfort or reassurance, but we trust them enough to change our daily decisions at work, at school, and in our relationships based on what they say.

As odd as it may sound, it’s very easy to try to live the Christian life without faith, relying on our religious behavior more than our confident belief in God’s promises. Most of the time, we don’t even realize we are doing it, and that’s why we need to reflect regularly on what it means to walk by faith and whether we are truly doing it.

Walk by faith - 2 Corinthians 5:7

Build your confidence with a faith checkup

Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.

2 Corinthians 13:5 MSG

One of the first things we can do if we want to “walk by faith” is to give ourselves a spiritual checkup—like getting a physical before trying out for a sports team. 

Why do we need faith checkups? Because sometimes our faith in God isn’t as strong as we might think, and we don’t realize it. This can happen for many reasons; perhaps life transitions, losses, or other challenges have depleted our faith and made us question God’s care or power. Or perhaps we’ve gotten distracted and stopped nurturing and exercising our faith, so it has started to wither.

Whatever the cause, I learn from the verse above in 2 Corinthians 13 that it’s easy for any of us to start “drifting along” in our faith while not truly believing anything is possible. I’ve been experiencing this lately, and it’s not a fun place to be. I start going through the motions of religion without the exciting experience of seeing mountains move. My unbelief limits the miracles I see in my life, which is what happened to some of the people in Jesus’ hometown:

And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his own family.” [58] And so he did only a few miracles there because of their unbelief.

Matthew 13:57-58 NLT

I don’t think God wants us to live an uninspired, unbelieving, and miracle-less life. He wants to give us a rich and satisfying life (John 10:10), along with the power to do things even greater than Jesus did:

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.

John 14:12 NLT

Wow. This challenges me because it’s not how I’ve been living my life. Faith is really powerful  … and that’s why we need to give ourselves faith checkups.

Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.

Romans 12:3 NLT

God wants us to be honest and measure ourselves by how much faith we have. 

Those of us (myself included) who tend to be performance-oriented may start feeling a little tense right now because we think of “testing ourselves” like taking an exam in school, and we fear we might fail.

The goal of faith checkups is to “do something” about the condition of our faith, not to feel bad about ourselves if our faith is weak in any area. Just like having regular doctor’s checkups helps us avoid some painful problems down the road and stay healthy in the long-term, a spiritual checkup can relieve any spots where unbelief is causing us pain and help us experience a rich and satisfying spiritual life for years to come.

So if walking by faith means living our lives with a confident belief in God’s promises, let’s check in on what it means to live by faith in 10 key promises from God in the Bible. 

How to walk by faith - 10 Questions to ask

What’s my attitude toward my ‘mountains’?

Walk by faith - What’s my attitude toward my ‘mountains’?

God’s promise:

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Matthew 17:20 NIV

God promises us that just a tiny amount of faith is enough to move mountains. Sometimes, these ‘mountains’ are the ones inside of us—those things that feel too big or too strong or too deep for us to change. 

Walking by faith means …

  • Facing and admitting to myself and others what my mountains are. When I believe that nothing is impossible with God, I want to see mountains in my life so I know what to ask him to move. 
  • Accepting that I am not strong enough to move these mountains myself, so I don’t try to take them on without God, prayer, and being equipped with scriptures to help me fight (2 Timothy 3:16-17). 
  • Having a joyful attitude about being aware of my own weaknesses because I see how they help me experience more of God’s power:

But he answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me. [10] So I’m not defeated by my weakness, but delighted! For when I feel my weakness and endure mistreatment—when I’m surrounded with troubles on every side and face persecution because of my love for Christ— I am made yet stronger. For my weakness becomes a portal to God’s power.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 TPT

Walking by sight means … 

  • Feeling defeated by my weaknesses and ‘mountains’ because all I can see is how big they are and how impossible it seems to move them.
  • Feeling tired because I’m relying on my own human power to do something only God can do.
  • Hiding my weaknesses and try to look stronger than I am because I doubt God or anyone else would love me if they knew the real me. 
  • Living in denial about the challenges in my life, telling myself things like “It’s not that big of a deal,” or “I could change that anytime,” or “That’s just normal.”
  • Once I step out of denial, I choose self-reliance to tackle my mountains, using strategies, plans, and human ideas instead of spiritual weapons like prayer and Scripture.
  • Avoiding steps I could take to find healing and growth. Real faith leads to action (see James 2:14-26), and if I don’t have faith, I will stubbornly refuse to do things that would help me move mountains in my life. I’ve experienced this many times with taking care of my physical, mental, and emotional health; I cry out for God’s help, yet refuse to exercise, take certain medications I need, or change my eating habits because I don’t believe anything can make my mountain budge. 

Faith in God can give even small, seemingly insignificant steps great healing power (for a cool example, check out the story of Naaman being healed of leprosy in 2 Kings 5:1-14).

Pause and reflect

  • What are some examples of ‘mountains’  in your life?
  • Have you had a faithful attitude about moving your mountains? Why or why not? 

Can I keep moving forward or do I get stuck in the past?

Walk by faith - Can I keep moving forward or do I get stuck in the past?

God’s promise:

The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.”

Psalm 32:8 NLT

They didn’t really believe the promises of God; they refused to trust him and move forward in faith.

Psalm 78:10 (TPT)

Walking by faith means ….

  • Trusting that God has good plans for my life, and taking steps forward even when I can’t see where I’m going.
  • Listening to the ways God advises me so I can learn from any mistakes I make, and knowing that it’s only my pride that makes me disgraced by these mistakes or stuck in my failures  (1 Peter 5:5, Proverbs 11:2).
  • Not giving up, but continuing to work even if something goes wrong or takes longer than I thought. 

We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV

Faith will produce work, so if we have given up or stopped working on any area of our lives, it’s a sign that we are not walking by faith in that particular area. 

Unbelief makes our hearts sluggish, which is what happened to Jesus’ disciples who had a difficult time believing he had risen from the dead:

 Come on, men! Why are you being so foolish? Why are your hearts so sluggish when it comes to believing what the prophets have been saying all along?

Luke 24:25 Voice

Walking by sight means…

  • Getting sluggish in my heart. I move slowly when opportunities come my way or drag my feet in making changes. 
  • Dwelling on past failures, using them as excuses not to try again instead of trusting that God is shaping me into someone I can’t see.
  • Settling for a small life (but also turning away from dreams and visions God has put on my heart) to protect myself from the possible negative feelings of making a mistake.

Do I spend more energy worrying or praying?

Walk by faith - Do I spend more energy worrying or praying?

God’s promise:

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. [7] And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.

Philippians 4:6-7 Voice

Walking by faith means …

  • I believe that God longs to hear my requests, cares about my needs, and will give me peace.
  • I pray about everything instead of trying to handle life on my own.
  • I practice being grateful and looking for ways God is moving instead of dwelling on possible things that could go wrong.

Walking by sight means …

  • I worry about every possible scenario, trying to protect myself from pain by imagining everything in advance.
  • I try to control things I can’t see by anxiously overthinking and overpreparing.
  • I replace prayer with activity, thinking I can reduce my anxiety by shortening my to-do list.
  • I shrink back from things that make me anxious because I don’t believe God cares about me and will help me conquer them:

But the just shall live by faith [My righteous servant shall live by his conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, and holy fervor born of faith and conjoined with it]; and if he draws back and shrinks in fear, My soul has no delight or pleasure in him.

Hebrews 10:38 (AMPC)

God wants us to live by faith, not to draw back and shrink in fear. When I start to make decisions to shrink back based on my fear of what bad things could happen, I need to see that as a barometer that my faith needs some work.

Additional verses to study

If praying about worry is a challenge, take time to read through these passages of the Bible and take note of verses that encourage you to pour out your heart to God in prayer:

How easy or difficult is it for me to ask for help?

Walk by faith - How easy or difficult is it for me to ask for help?

God’s promise: 

If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

James 1:5 MSG

God promises that we will get his help when we ask.

Walking by faith means ….

  • Boldly and believingly asking God for what I need instead of trying to figure things out on my own. 
  • Humbly asking people around me for help, too. If my heart is truly humble toward God, and willing to admit I don’t know what I’m doing, I will carry this same heart into my friendships.
  • Waiting patiently for God’s help, and not giving into despair even when I don’t see his answers right away. Abraham was a great example of this. He faithfully believed God’s promise to give him a son even when all the facts told him otherwise, and for him, walking by faith meant waiting patiently:

When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, [14] saying, “I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.” [15] And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.

Hebrews 6:13-15 NIV

Walking by sight means …

  • “Keeping all my options open”: If I don’t believe God loves to help me, I will look for the help I need in other places. For me, this usually means looking for worldly or physical ways to look and feel good (look at 1 John 2:15-17 for a description of what “worldly” means in the Bible).
  • Strategizing instead of praying. I spend more time trying to make plans or to-do lists than asking God for help. 
  • Researching instead of praying. I spend more energy searching the internet for tools or solutions than asking God for help.
  • “Worrying my prayers,” listing off all my worries instead of making bold, specific requests of God.
  • Refusing to ask for help from other people because I don’t want to look weak or risk anyone looking down on me.
  • Getting angry, discouraged, and impatient when I don’t see my prayers answered.

Am I trying to be good, or am I grateful for God’s grace?

Walk by faith - Am I trying to be good, or am I grateful for God’s grace?

God’s promise:

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. [23] For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. [24] Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. [27] Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith.

Romans 3:22-24,27 NLT

Walking by faith means….

  • I can readily admit my sins because I strongly believe in God’s grace and mercy. 
  • I know I fall short and don’t get offended if others point it out. 
  • I search my heart for my sins regularly so that I stay grateful for God’s grace and don’t take his kindness for granted.

Walking by sight means … 

  • I doubt God’s grace, so I think I need to try to please him through all the good things I do. 
  • I hide and suppress my guilt because I’m afraid of the reactions of the people I see around me. I see people much more clearly than I see God and his forgiveness.
  • I work hard to do everything right and be seen as a good Christian, then feel crushed when I inevitably fall short, or someone points out an area I need to grow.

This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”

Romans 1:17 NLT

God makes us right with him by our faith, not by our flawless performance. When we trust that, we can freely throw off our sins because we believe God is big enough and good enough to clear our record.

Which influences my life more: the Bible or my emotions?

Walk by faith - Which influences my life more: the Bible or my emotions?

He who pays attention to the word [of God] will find good, And blessed (happy, prosperous, to be admired) is he who trusts [confidently] in the LORD.

Proverbs 16:20 (AMP)

Why am I so overwrought, Why am I so disturbed? Why can’t I just hope in God? Despite all my emotions, I will believe and praise the One who saves me, my God.

Psalm 42:11 Voice

Walking by faith means …

  • I pay attention to the Word of God. I work hard to quiet my mind so that I can hear what God wants to say to me each day. I find creative ways to keep Scripture passages with me, like creating Scripture images and saving them on my phone or listening to the Bible while I drive. 
  • I know that God’s Word can be trusted more than my emotions. A sign that my faith is solid is having honest conversations with God when I don’t believe or agree with what he says in the Bible and then deciding in prayer to believe his Word more than my feelings.

Walking by sight means …

  • Believing that if I feel something, it must be true. 
  • Reacting to situations and following my feelings instead of slowing down to ask myself if my thoughts and feelings agree with Scripture.
  • Skimming the Bible out of religious habit but forgetting it as I go about my day.
  • Using the Bible to confirm what I already think or feel rather than searching for the truth.
  • Skipping Bible reading completely and searching for answers I need other places (Google searches, books, people’s opinions, etc.).

How paralyzed am I by people’s opinions of me?

Walk by faith - How paralyzed am I by people’s opinions of me?

God’s promise:

In my distress I prayed to the LORD, and the LORD answered me and set me free. [6] The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? [8] It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in people. [9] It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.

Psalm 118:5-6,8-9 NLT

Walking by faith means…

  • Knowing that God is “for me,” so I don’t have to fear people being against me.
  • Staying secure when there is conflict in a relationship, and being calm enough to resolve it because my confidence comes from God.
  • Caring more about others and what’s going on in their lives than what they think of me. Rather than seeing them as a way to get approval or disapproval, I see them as people to love:

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them.

2 Timothy 1:7 TLB

Walking by sight means ….

  • Fearing people and their opinions because I think they have more power over my life than God does.
  • Idolizing people by living for their approval and giving them a place of importance in my life that only God should fill. 
  • People-pleasing. I compromise my beliefs and my needs in order to make other people happy. As a result, I can’t genuinely love them because I’m too busy trying to get their praise or attention.
  • Preferring to be alone to avoid the stress I feel about what other people think of me when I am with them.

How easy or hard is it for me to forgive?

Walk with God - How easy or hard is it for me to forgive?

God’s promise:

Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.

Ephesians 4:31 MSG

Walking by faith means …

  • Believing that God is gracious and thoroughly forgives me. When I deserve punishment, he gives me kindness and good things. 
  • Being grateful for this forgiveness makes me want to extend this same forgiveness to others when they hurt me.
  • Being gentle and sensitive with other people, even I’ve been hurt or wronged, because I can see my own shortcomings.

Walking by sight means …

  • Not believing God could forgive me, so I try hard to be perfect and expect others to do the same.
  • Responding to hurt feelings with cutting words. I can’t see past my own emotions or believe that God could work something good from the conflict, so I use angry words to defend myself and try to make my hurt go away. I also don’t believe they’ll listen to and care about my feelings if I express them vulnerably, so I rely on my anger to get my point across. 
  • I only see how I have been hurt, instead of seeing how I have been given underserved mercy and forgiveness.

Have I stopped believing that God has a great purpose for me?

Walk by faith - Have I stopped believing that God has a great purpose for me?

One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. [17] Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him.

Mark 1:16-18 NLT

Jesus promised to show his followers how to “fish for people.” In other words, he gave them a bigger purpose than their everyday job of being fishermen. He told them they would be able to help people find God.

Walking by faith means …

  • Knowing that Jesus will do the same for me that he did for his disciples. I don’t need special talent or ability to make a difference; I just need to follow him. 
  • Being willing to leave behind the things that aren’t part of that purpose so I can follow Jesus and become who he created me to be.

Walking by sight means:

  • Thinking that I can’t help anyone. Perhaps God moves through others but not through me because my failures, fears, or weaknesses are too great for him.
  • “Holding onto my nets”: I don’t trust that God has a purpose for me or that his purpose will be good, and as a result, I’m unwilling to change my life to follow God. I cling to other things (often things that are not objectively bad) to find meaning or purpose in my life. 

Faith in God motivates us to surrender everything to him, knowing we can trust him with our lives and future. 

Pause and reflect

  • How willing am I to “leave my nets” and follow God?
  • Is there anything I’m clinging to for meaning and purpose more than my relationship with God?

How receptive am I to spiritual advice about my life? 

walk by faith - how receptive am I?

Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.

Proverbs 24:6 NIV

The Pharisees came out and began to argue [contentiously and debate] with Him, demanding from Him a sign from heaven, to test Him [because of their unbelief].

Mark 8:11 AMP

Walking by faith means….

  • Believing that God works through the guidance of many spiritual advisors to bring victories in my life.
  • Seeing spiritual advice as a good thing, and trusting God to guide me through it.
  • Responding to input and advice with receptivity. When I believe God loves me and guides me to victory, I can let my walls down and listen to my friends instead of trying to defend myself or protect my pride.

Walking by sight means …

  • Arguing contentiously with anyone who seems to stand in the way of what I want or contradicts what I think is right, much like the Pharisees argued with Jesus. 
  • Getting fixated on what I can see, and getting angry at those who challenge me to see something different.

Wrapping up

So how did you do on your faith checkup? In what areas have you been walking by faith and in what areas have you been walking by sight?

This list is not exhaustive, and I would encourage you to add your own Scripture verses and questions to it as you reflect on what it looks like for you to walk by faith. Remember that faith is fluid; it needs to be exercised and cared for regularly. Asking ourselves questions like these gives us awareness of spots we need to trust God’s promises more deeply, and we can take these on one at a time so that our faith grows stronger.

Explore more:
How Do I Know if I’m Walking by Faith? 7

Amy is a writer and editor for Deep Spirituality. She studied psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and has over a decade of experience in mentoring, counseling and community organizing.

How Do I Know if I’m Walking by Faith? 7

Amy is a writer and editor for Deep Spirituality. She studied psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and has over a decade of experience in mentoring, counseling and community organizing.

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