Thursday, February 28, 2019
Genesis 12:10 Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.
When we talk about real faith, we understand that our experience of faith will mature. I had a wonderful discussion about this subject one morning with two respected brothers in the Lord. We agreed that the average church today has an immature view of faith. For many of us, faith is simply that God opens and closes doors. When we are new followers of Jesus Christ, opening and closing doors is a great way for us to learn dependence on God. But it is not the mature way to view faith. Let’s look at Abram’s story and discover this truth.
When God called Abram out of Mesopotamia to go to an unknown land, there were no open doors. It was not for any visible benefit that Abram made the decision to obey. He wasn’t given a series of choices and then told to test them all and see which door opens. God gave him only His direction and a promise of blessing.
When he arrived in the land to which God directed him, his faith changed: he began looking at doors again, and the results were destructive. God did not give him any direction to move to Egypt because of a famine. Abram saw what he interpreted to be a door closing and he looked for an open one. He took his eyes of faith off the original vision, and he made moves that hurt the accomplishment of that vision. True faith looks only at the vision God has given and pursues it no matter what the obstacles.
We all long for the type of faith that trusts the Spirit of God to relate God’s specific direction to us. God longs to have that kind of mature relationship with each of us. But we keep looking for doors to open or close: circumstantial evidence to validate supernatural vision.
Why do we do that? We may believe it brings security and peace by “proving” the will of God by our own rational thought process. Actually, the Word of God says, Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
Eugene Peterson, in his modern-day paraphrase of Scripture called The Message, says it this way – Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
God’s will – His direction and vision – is proven by steps of faith regardless of circumstances rather than looking for all the circumstances to line up before we take a step.
When we step out onto the path of God’s direction to pursue the vision He has given us, it will not be without obstacles. There will be doors opened and doors closed. But let’s be very careful – not every open door is God’s door and not every closed door is God’s redirection. The testing of our faith comes when we face the choice to keep our eyes of on the original direction and vision or return to the immaturity of door-testing faith.
But, you may ask, how can we trust the original vision and direction we thought we heard? Was it really God speaking? Each one of us knows how much personal intimacy with God in prayer and fellowship preceded the hearing of His voice. God does not spontaneously speak to indifferent ears. When Noah heard God’s word to build an ark, he was first identified as a righteous and blameless man – intimate with God. When we are spending time with God, we grow familiar with the way His Spirit relates to our spirit. We hear the voice of God.
When we hear His voice – mature faith obeys even if it means walking through seemingly closed doors.