Jim Burns Homeword Daily Devotional for Parenting and Christian Family

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HomeWord - Oct. 10, 2008


The Impala Syndrome
This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. — Hebrews 11:1

I recently read a story on the Internet about the deer-like African Impala that reportedly can jump to an amazing height of 10 feet in the air, yet can be restrained in captivity by a wall that is merely three feet tall. Why? It seems that the Impala simply will not jump without being able to see where it will land.

This reminds me of the faith life of many Christ-followers. We have been given the wonderful gift of faith. By simple acts of faith, both small and great, God chooses to expand His influence in the world (See Hebrews 11).  Still, it seems that many Christians live like Impalas when it comes to exercising faith. I know that for myself, time and time again, I’ve let any number of small walls; those made of fear, or worry or even ‘common sense’ restrain me from exercising the gift of faith that God has given. How about you?

When we insist upon living by sight and always determining the results before we act, we short-circuit faith, cutting God and His power out of the equation in our lives. When living by sight overcomes faith, our spiritual lives begin to shrivel, we live at a lesser level of satisfaction, and our own participation in influencing the world for God decreases. According to the Scriptures, faith is a foundational principle for living the Christian life. (See Romans 1:17.)

The solution to the “Impala Syndrome” of faith is found in choosing to trust. When we choose to trust God enough to walk by faith rather than by sight, we exercise our faith and as a result, its capacity grows. Our spiritual lives are strengthened, which results in our living life to its fullest.

So, how are you doing when it comes to matters of faith? Are you consistently living by faith? Or, is your daily experience more like the “Impala Syndrome”? Today, you can make the choice to trust God and live by faith not by sight. Let our prayer today be, “Increase our faith, Lord!”


  1. What areas of life are you most likely to be similar to the Impala that doesn’t jump unless it sees where it will land? 
  2. What specific decision can you make today that will reflect walking by faith rather than by sight?

Hebrews 11; Romans 1:17; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Luke 17:5, 6

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