Summary: Keys to growing in faith: release what is weighing you down, let God be in charge, walk by the eyes of God's Spirit, and receive the promises of God. Lessons learned as Abraham deals with his nephew Lot.
It’s spring – the time to plant. The time to see our first tulips begin to peek out of the ground and in a few weeks start to bloom. I can’t wait! I’m so anxious for the grass to turn green and to smell the flowers. It’s a wonderful time.
It’s also a time to remember that we as Christ’s followers are to be growing up. What does that mean? That every day, you walk closer to God. Every day you learn more about your Savior. Day after day you are walking closer to his will for your life. Week after week you are living more for HIS glory. Not that you are becoming a more perfect person – you already have the full righteousness of Jesus Christ over you. You have been bought and made holy by Jesus blood. But growing means that we are living that out in our daily life. We are actually walking more like Christ.
And so the Scripture reminds us in Ephesians 4:15-16 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” And it also says in 2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
There are only two kinds of Christians in this world – those who are growing and those who are shrinking. There is no maintaining! There is not a Christian who has arrived and keeping the status quo.
Last week we saw how Abraham started down that road of faith and growth by breaking from his fears. This will always be the way of growth – we cannot grow without facing fears time after time. He had a great struggle trusting God when confronted with certain problems. But finally, he broke his fear and returned back to God.
Today we see how Abraham continues to grow immensely in his faith just like the spring flowers. What happened? How did it happen? What are some of the ways to grow in faith that we can learn from Abraham?
Release what is weighing you down
The first way of growing in faith is ridding yourself of that which is weighing you down. And by that I don’t mean your wife and children. They are our primary responsibility before God and not to be considered that which keeps us from growing in God.
Notice Abraham’s situation as he settles for awhile in the promised land (vs. 5-8).
Lot becomes one of Abraham’s biggest obstacles to growth. Certainly Abraham loved Lot – he was probably like a step-father to him since Lot’s father Haran had died back in Ur. But when God called Abraham, what did he say? “Go from your country and your relatives…” Yes, he left his country, but did he leave his relatives? He took his relative, his nephew, with him. And the result?? these problems of rivalry and strife with their livestock.
When Jesus called his disciples, they had to leave their boats, their nets, their businesses and simply follow His calling. They couldn’t be running back and forth between the two – it would have been totally detrimental to the training and mission of the Lord.
What is holding you back from fully obeying the Lord? What does the Lord want you to release? What kinds of sins, habits, possessions, or relationships are dragging you down?
Notice the strife between the herdsmen of Lot and the herdsmen of Abraham. This is exactly what happens in each one of us when we start to follow Christ – inner strife! There is a heated battle for the control of your life. The enemy (sin, flesh and the devil) wants you to do his will and the Lord wants you to follow Him.
Gal. 5:17 “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”
So what do you do? Cut off the flesh! Take a stand and confess it! What is it in YOUR life that you know is against the will of God? Renounce it! Remove it! Confess it! If you’re going to grow – you better get rid of that extra baggage – or you never will grow up. You will never see the fruit that God wants to produce in you.
Let go into God’s hands
How else do you grow? Let God be in charge. This is something that Abraham had to do over and over again. Last week we saw how he failed as he didn’t trust God to provide for him in the land and he ran to Egypt. Now he’s learning – he settles the strife with Lot by taking his nephew to a location where they can see the whole land of promise. And what does he say? (verse 9) Abraham is the elder and Lot is younger and yet Abraham allows Lot to choose whatever he wants for his land.