We’ve been thinking a lot about where we’ve come from
and what possibilities and prospects are open to us when we believe in Jesus. The basis of the big change offered to us is faith. Someone once said that “faith is believing in something that you know is not true!” Nothing could be further from the truth. We exercise faith all the time. As I write this it’s the morning after the UK 2015 general election. The results are coming in thick and fast. I am exercising faith in the BBC as I hear them report on the results from seats across the UK. I’m doing this whilst travelling to work on a train – I exercise faith in Southern rail that they will get me to work. Faith is not blind, it is a trust placed on someone or something. The faith may be misplaced (often my faith in southern rail to get me to work on time is misplaced!). We exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ when we believe that he will give us eternal life.
Practical examples are of help! The great man of faith in the bible is Abraham. He spoke with God and exercised faith in what God said. God told him to move and promised him land and descendents, he believed and demonstrated that by living according to the promises God had given. What’s interesting is that Abraham’s faith was at times faltering. Rather than staying in the land that God promised, he went to Egypt – a failure of faith. Whilst in Egypt he seriously compromised the safety of his wife to save his own skin. He seemed to have a complete faith-failure when he tried to do God’s job by having a child with his servant rather than trusting God that his aged wife could have a child. It was an at times shaky faith as Abraham seemed to lurch from one self inflicted crisis to another. His faith failures were dealt with patiently by God, but the failures had a cost. This encourages me and somewhat worries me at the same time! As we live out our lives we have moments when our faith in God is put to the test and sometimes we fail rather badly – there is a cost to the failure, but God sticks with us.
Ultimately Abraham had a test that was of staggering magnitude. Under humanly impossibly circumstances he and his wife had a child. God had promised and God had delivered. Abraham and his wife were learning (sometimes the hard way) that God is someone that we can really have faith in. God now asks Abraham to sacrifice his son! The question for Abraham? Would he believe and act on exactly what God said – neither more nor less? Had Abraham’s faith and trust in God developed to the point where he would do exactly what God had asked – even if it seemed contrary to all that God himself had promised? Abraham obeyed. He had learned to trust God even under the most exacting test. Incidentally God provided a ram as a substitute sacrificed and Abraham’s son was not sacrificed.
Our life of faith begins when we believe in the Lord Jesus. We don’t have it all together on day one, but as we walk with God we get to know him and faith deepens. Walk in the world and watch your faith struggle, walk with God and see your faith grow.