Abraham and Faith

As Rhonda and I read today's reading from Through the Bible Through the Year, we embarked an an interesting conversation about faith and where Abram and Sarai succeeded and failed. At one point in the conversation I noted that I didn't think Sarai to be a very good wife. I believe that God-following couples should encourage one another toward deeper faith by the life they live out together.

Eventually our conversation addressed the issue of faith in God's will and His promises.

By the way, a few people have e-mailed me wanting me to repeat this quote for them. So in case you may wish to be reminded of the description of faith I presented on Sunday morning, here it is again. "Faith is more than trusting God for what you want. True faith is trusting God for what He wants."

So we talked about what God wants and Abraham's education about how God accomplishes it. So often we want things that are in opposition to what God wants and that creates it's own disruption in our relationship with God. But SO much more often we hear what God wants and we still get in the way of what He wants.

God's will involves multiple elements.
1. The thing God wants.
2. The time God wants to do it.
3. The way God wants to do it.
4. The people God wants to do it through.

Sarai is a perfect example of knowing what God wants: a descendant for her family. But in spite of knowing what God wanted, she managed to get in His way instead of following His lead. The very idea of giving her maid servant to her husband is ludicrous! (But then again, so was Abram's idea of calling Sarai his sister instead of his wife...) In Sarai's plan of action, she neglected 75% of God's will in pursuit of only 25%. We can only assume that her own will was somehow involved in her plan to some degree as well. She pursued what God wanted (and what she presumably wanted) but neglected God's time, His way, and he choice of persons.

From Sarai's mistake we can learn 3 good lessons. (Surely you can come up with some more.)
1. Don't get anxious for God's will to come to pass. (And, it should be noted, that we should not be overly lax either, for we can just as easily miss God's will for being comfortable where we are and not wanting to move ahead.)

2. Don't mistake our ingenuity for God's execution of His plan. (His ways are not our ways...) God, being supernatural in His very being will undoubtedly unfold His will according to his supernature instead of our simple nature. Now this is not to misunderstand God's use of natural forces to accomplish His will, but let's remember Noah and the flood. Rain is perfectly natural. Using rain to flood the known earth to the point of covering all the mountains is supernatural.

3. Never assume a role in God's plan that He has not give you (me, us). Sometimes the only role we may have in the revelation that God gives us is to pray according to that will. Obedience is our role. Do what God asks us to do and don't step ahead of that. So often (at least for me) we assume that we are the star of God's plan and that our role is the central role in His plan's unfolding. And maybe we have just one job to do along the path of that unfolding and others will do other single jobs. Paul talked about that when he referred to his relationship with Apollos and Peter. He said that he had planted the seed, Apollos had watered it, and GOD MADE IT GROW. (1 Corinthians 3:1-22)

Faith and God's will. It is our journey in this world as followers of Christ. Remember don't settle for 25%, or 50%, or anything less than His thing, His way, His time, AND His people.


Diana October 8, 2009 at 1:00 PM  

That was an excellent post, and something I needed to hear. I often remember about the first two parts of God's will - I know it's what He wants and in His time - but those last two I often forget. I also like your reminder to not assume a role He has not given us. At the same time, I would add that (connected to this) we need to be aware of the role He has given us, because so often we pray (for comfort for a sick friend, for provision for a hurting family, etc...) for God to do something, and that's where it ends - we pray. We don't realize that God then says, "Okay, you. You go comfort. You provide."

epic bruce October 8, 2009 at 2:41 PM  

That is an EXCELLENT observation Diana (about when God leads us to be the answer to our prayers). Living by faith is no easy thing. The very idea that Christianity is some kind of easy way out is ludicrous. Faith is a constant work in our lives.

Eileen October 12, 2009 at 1:53 PM  

Awesome! I miss "Sunday's with Bruce."

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