I was reviewing some quotes this week and stumbled upon a good reminder. Unfortunately I can’t remember who said it first! I hate that I’m not giving credit to this encourager. Regardless, these words are rolling around in my head now: “God is saying Go, but go in Christ. Get your value in the fact that you are a joint heir with Christ”.
One of the hardest things for me about striving to obey God is figuring out when He is saying yes and when He is saying no. Regardless of whether life makes sense or is logical I know that a life living within God’s will, delighting my Savior will ultimately bring the greatest joy.
Hebrews 13-18 “For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.14 For if those who are of the Law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise is nullified; 15 for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, there also is no violation. 16 For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 (as it is written, ‘A father of many nations have I made you’) in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. 18 In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ “
God cut covenant with Abraham because of his faith alone. Abraham was not a perfect man, he took many detours on the path that God asked him to walk. Abraham was imperfect, just as we are, yet God still called Abraham his own.
Here’s the thing though, God didn’t say go have babies with whomever you want, He said go have a child with your wife. God didn’t say go to a king and lie about who your wife is, He said go, I’ll protect you. God’s grace covered these missteps along with all of Abraham’s other missteps as well. His grace covers our sin as well.
Similarly to all that surrounded Ishmael and Isaac, our missteps have consequences. God promised Abraham he would be the father of many nations and that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars in the sky. Sarah didn’t think she was meant to be part of the promise because it wasn’t logical. Ishmael was not the son God had reference in His promise to Abraham, and his presence caused a lot of conflict and disharmony is Abraham’s family.
We all take missteps in our lives, and God’s grace is always waiting for us to accept it! Sometimes “go in Christ” might actually mean stay put! God’s call to “Go” might mean going someplace that your extended family doesn’t agree with. Sometimes it might mean saying something you are afraid to say, or holding your tongue when all you want to do is defend yourself.
As we move forward in obedience we are not supposed to be content in our earthly successes. Our joy, confidence and comfort should come from the knowledge that God delights in our obedience and as a child of His we will live eternally in heaven with Him. As we “hope against hope” God increases in our lives. As we go towards God, with God, we take our place as an equal heir in His kingdom.
So, how do we move forward “in Christ”? Like Abraham we will make mistakes. We are human. There is hope though, we can make fewer mistakes by taking time to understand the Bible. Scripture is one of God’s presentations to us of who He is, and God never contradicts Himself. God never asks us to live our lives in contradiction to scripture either. When I remember this alone it gives me the strength and courage to “go”. I’ve also found that I’m more likely to discern God’s promptings when I am consistent in my prayer time. Having a mentor helped give me perspective when my emotions wouldn’t allow me to see clearly. These steps are not a “how to”, nor are they fool proof, yet they have all helped me. My prayer is that they will help you too.