If you take the time to read and reflect on the rest of Abraham’s biography, you quickly discover that he was a deeply flawed individual. In fact, you won’t make it out of Genesis 12 without seeing Abraham’s compulsion to lie. His life was potholed with errors and inconsistencies. More than once Abraham disobeyed God and disappointed the people closest to him. This man of faith also tended to repeat the same mistakes over and over. Does this remind you of anyone? Perhaps yourself?
Our faith doesn’t instantly free us from our faults. The promises of God over our lives don’t translate into instant perfection. The standard we live by as we follow God isn’t immediate perfection but continual progress. To remain in the struggle against sin is a winning strategy. To continue to strive and refuse to settle is the pattern of people making headway in their relationship with God.
Faith is anything but safe. As I write these words, a close friend lingers near death in a hospital. The trial of his life is marked with risks and restarts. Originally educated as a chemist, he left his first profession to pursue pastoral ministry. After starting two churches from scratch, both of which still thrive today, he again changed the direction of his life and became a professor. On more than one occasion, my friend intentionally uprooted his life from Ur. He never became so comfortable that he was unwilling to listen to God and lift his foot in response to the command to go. Now my friend’s heart is simply giving out. It’s ironic, since his life has been all heart—a heart wide open to God’s fresh direction.
What a way to live! May we always endeavor to step out in faith, allowing God to lead us to a country on the far side of complacency. Playwright Neil Simon stated it well: “If no one ever took risks, Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine [Chapel’s] floor.” Following God involves taking chances. Blessings await us on the far side of risk. And it all begins with faith, which is anything but safe.
Abraham was a model of stepping out in faith. As we take steps to follow God, we grow in our friendship with him. In what way is God currently prompting you to step out in faith and trust him?
Genesis 12, Hebrews 11:6: “Without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”