Monday, January 2, 2017

Side Tracks & Sure Things

Monday, January 2, 2017
Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.  Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. 
It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance.  He went without knowing where he was going.  And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents.  And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise.  Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.        Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-10(NLT)
As the year changes it’s typically time to think about how things went in the previous twelve months, and then do a little forecasting as to what the next year might bring.  Perhaps there is a new challenge on the horizon, or an old problem that has resurfaced.  Maybe you face a new opportunity that calls for a decision.
That was certainly Abraham’s situation[ii] when God called on him to pick up everything that he called home and family and move out.  It was a tough decision because God hadn’t even named the place, let alone what Abraham would do once he got there.  The poor man didn’t have Google maps or a real estate agent; God just told him to go.
How do you make decisions based on that kind of slim information?  The author of Hebrews didn’t equivocate; it was faith!  You start by faith – you walk by faith – and you finish that way!  
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith. Romans 1:17(KJV)
Walking by faith doesn’t mean blindness.  God expects us to investigate where He’s leading by the signs he promises to show us.  The question we all have is:  Just how do I know what is God’s leading, and what isn’t?
Well, that’s also, ultimately, a matter of faith, isn’t it?  But there is a starting point that I’ve discovered over the years that puts some meat on the bones of faith.  That starting point always has prayer as the door.  If you want to walk in faith, there is no more certain beginning than to hit your knees and lay out the uncertainty of your heart to God.  Remember what James said:
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.  James 1:5(NLT)
Now, that’s the asking part – even a child knows to ask.  What about the knowing; how can you separate God’s answer from everything else?
My answer for that has always been clearer, and proved itself out in the day-to-day of life when I bring my submission to the table.  It’s something like this:
1.     I pray for God to show me His will on doing “A” as opposed to doing “B”
2.     I submit that I don’t know which is best.  “A” has been my longtime pattern; “B” seems to be a wonderful opportunity.
3.     I confess that I want “B” to work out, but my first desire is not to miss God’s desire for my life.
4.     I explore the pros and cons of “A” versus “B”, trusting God will reveal to my heart how His will is leading to His highest blessing for the sake of His kingdom. 
This is the part that’s like Abraham moving out on faith, not having all the facts, figures, spreadsheets and contracts.  If there’s a change God wants me to move-out to claim, praying for His will is one of the ways I’ve seen that keeps me from letting Russell’s carnal nature make decisions that I will regret.  If you’re going to walk in faith with God, you’ve got to begin with faith that submits to God’s will, not your wants. 

For You Today

So, what’s going on in the beginning of this new year in which you hear God calling?  And, by the way, no contracts, no guarantees come with the “God-walk” of faith; remember, it’s the evidence of things NOT seen!
You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road…have a blessed day!

[i] Title image: By SMU Central University Libraries, via Wikimedia Commons
[ii] Genesis 12

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