Summary: four steps in the life of Abraham that caused him to walk in spiritual greatness
Intro: my final yearbook average in bowling has been 223 for the last 3 years. Very often people will ask me to help them raise their average. Over the years I have learned one thing, most people want to be great, but very few will pay the price for greatness. When I started bowling back in 1978, I would bowl so many games every night, that my thumb was usually swollen. Many want greatness, but only want to bowl a few games a week. The same is true in our spiritual walk, most of us would love spiritual greatness, a deep walk with God, but very few are willing to pay the price that greatness demands.
Greatness with God
Genesis 12:1-Background: Abraham became great with God, but there were four important steps in Abraham’s life before spiritual greatness took place. Tonight, we will look at these four steps.
I. Genesis 12:1-3-Stepping out with God
When Abram, who became Abraham met God, God made his first step a very difficult one. God told Abram that he would have to step out with God, leave his family behind, so that God could bless his life.
· Greatness with God many times demands a stepping out or a moving on. Years ago I asked Lauri to marry me, little did she know at the time that God would demand us to move away from family, to do ministry for Him. It isn’t that you forsake or desert your family, it means there is a moving on so that God can make you dependent on Him and not them.
· This first step is leaving that which is familiar to head into the unknown. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. God doesn’t tell us the end, He doesn’t show us everything in our destiny, He just asks us to walk and live by faith.
II. Genesis 13:14—Separation From Lot—God would never fully be able to bless Abraham with his attachment to Lot. Lot represents a lot of things, worldly desire, wrong influence, bad association. God caused the situation where separation would be necessary for blessing.
· Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom—from the natural standpoint it looked like a great direction to go. Flesh direction will lead us to destruction, Spirit direction will lead us to blessing.
· For greatness to occur there is many times the need for breaking of associations that will take us in the wrong direction. I have met people who I realize that the step between them and greatness is the breaking of a wrong relationship.
· God blessed Abraham with Lot, but he didn’t become great until this separation took place. Don’t misinterpret blessing and greatness. There are people who are blessed, financially, physically, who have yet to move into the place of spiritual greatness.
III. Genesis 21:12-13 Casting Away Ishmael—this step is a very difficult one toward greatness. Ishmael represents the flesh, dependence in self, and God demands we cast away these things so that we might follow after the promise of God.
· One of the problems for Abraham is he had become attached to Ishmael. So many people cannot let go of the past to step into the future. Some people get saved, but they look back to Sodom, some people give their life to God, but hold on to their Ishmael.