Summary: If only we could have the faith of Abraham.
“Complete Trust is Perfect Freedom”
Have you ever had your faith tested?
If so, how did you stand up?
I’ve had my faith tested many, many times…
…and there have been many, many times that I was not able to stand up to the test.
Perhaps things have gone so awfully wrong, folks have treated me so badly, or I’ve felt the church has somehow let me down…and I fail…I don’t continue to trust in God as I should.
It’s as if I’m saying to God, “I’m not going to believe in you anymore or I’m not going to trust you anymore because I am so hurt…
…and I did trust you…
…I did believe in you…
…I did do what was right and you let me down!
And when I stop trusting in God, due to the fact that I have not gotten my way, I start trying to trust in myself instead.
“I’ll do things my way from now on.”
“I’ll make it on my own.”
And then, time will go by, and I will find myself in a much more miserable state of being than I was before I decided not to trust God any longer.
The happiness in life is replaced by a chip on my shoulder.
The joy in life is replaced by anger and a desire for revenge.
And the peace, the peace which transcends all understanding…feels like a figment of my imagination.
It’s at this point that God’s grace always shines through as I decide that there is no other way than to put my full trust in God.
There is no other way to be happy.
There is no other way to be joyful.
There is no other way to be at peace!
Often, I will have to learn this lesson over and over again.
When will I finally learn?
When will I stop making life so hard on myself?
Our Old Testament Lesson for this morning is a hard one, for me at least.
And it’s a hard one because I cannot relate to it in my own life, or I cannot relate to it at the level where I can say: “Yeah, I trust God just as much as Abraham did! I know where he’s coming from! Been there, done that!”
Yet, I would like to come to the point where I do trust God as much as Abraham.
Because with complete trust comes complete freedom.
When all of our trust is put into God’s hands, no matter what the circumstance, we are free from ourselves!
We no longer have to torture ourselves with things like worry, fear, outbreaks of rage, envy, quarrels, gossip, hatred, lack of self-esteem, lack of focus, lack of Center, lack of a Reason to live!!!
We are no longer slaves to these things as Paul puts it in our Epistle Lesson for this morning.
So, let’s look at this morning’s Old Testament Lesson as an example.
An example of a person who did decide to put his entire trust into God’s hands…and found that things do work out very well this way!
Way back in Genesis Chapter 15 God establishes God’s covenant with Abram: “Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them…So shall your offspring be.”
By the time we get to chapter 17 Abram is an old man and Sarai, his wife is an old woman.
Nevertheless, God is holding fast to His end of the bargain.
He tells Abraham that his wife’s name will be changed to Sarah and that she will bear a son.
At this, Abraham falls facedown and laughs.
God continues, “my covenant I will establish with Isaac whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.”
And sure enough, a year later, Sarah gave birth to Isaac, whose name means “He laughs.”
Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.”
Isaac certainly brought a lot of laughter into Sarah and Abraham’s lives, but in Chapter 22 we find that the test has begun.
We are told right off that “God tested Abraham.”
It’s good to note that God does not tempt Abraham…not that this would be a temptation.
God tested Abraham.
If we look through the Bible we will find that God does not tempt anyone…this is just not in God’s nature.
Satan tempts us in order to make us fall, to make us slaves to sin, to die—for the wages of sin is death.
God tests us in order to confirm our faith or prove our commitment.
But doesn’t God already know our commitment?
I would think so.
I believe that God tests us so that we can prove our faith to ourselves…and this makes our faith stronger…and through this we grow in our knowledge and in our walk with God.