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Summary: Keys to living the Christian life

Keys to Christian Living

Genesis 21:1-21


During World War I, one of our American Airmen took off from an airfield located in Kobar, Arabia. Little did the pilot know that while the plane was on the ground a large rat had crawled up and inside the cockpit.

While in the air the pilot became aware of the rat’s presence when he heard some gnawing behind him. He immediately realized that the sound he was hearing was the sound of a rat. Alarmed at what could turn into a disastrous situation, the pilot remembered that rats could not live in high altitudes. So the pilot did the smart thing and pointed his airplane up and climbed to altitudes where breathing was difficult. After some time at the high altitude, the knowing stopped. When he landed on the ground he found that that the gnawing rat had died.

The gnawing rat represents well the many gnawing struggles that we face daily in our Christian walk. Many, if not all, the gnawing struggles that we face on a daily basis can be dealt with much like the pilot dealt with the gnawing rat. It can be dealt with by climbing to greater altitudes in our Christian walk.

Our last two studies in the book of Genesis have revealed to us what happens when we don’t move to higher altitudes in our Christian living. We saw the gnawing struggles bring Lot in chapter nineteen to a destructive demise. We saw the gnawing struggles bring Abraham to a point of jeopardizing God’s eternal plan and the purity of his marriage. Fortunately, God’s is faithful when we are not faithful and he intervened in Abraham’s situation, but even more importantly, he demonstrated his forgiving attitude to a saint that had gone astray.

Now, one could take a fatalistic view of the journey of faith when we observe the lives of Lot and Abraham. If our journey of faith is going to be characterized by both high points and low points, then why try? Why not take the “ka sha ra sha ra” attitude and say, “What eve will be will be?” The answer is simple; God does not want us to take that type of approach to our Christian living. Yes, we will have low points, and yes the Lord will forgive us, but God has given us everything we need to live the Christian life that he has called us to live.

The Christian life is a life of gnawing struggles, but many of those gnawing struggles can be eliminated if we will just rise to higher altitudes in our Christian walk. We can avoid the mishaps of Lot and Abraham if we have a basic understanding of the Christian life. We can spend more time at the high points and less at the low points by having some fundamental knowledge of Christian living and appropriating it.

Chapter twenty-one of the book of Genesis gives us some fundamental truths concerning the Christian walk. When we begin to understand the truths and how they can move us to higher altitudes in our Christian living, then we will see more high points instead of low points.

It is hard to believe that a chapter that declares the birth of a promised childe and the expulsion of a problem child can give us some fundamental truth concerning our Christian walk, but it does. There are three keys to Christian living that I would like to share with you, keys that are found in the first twenty-one verses of this chapter. From God’s standpoint the keys deal with the promises of God, the precepts of God, and the power of God. From the standpoint of the child of God the keys deal with trust, obedience, and yielding.

This study is designed to be very practical in nature. Some may have left the last two studies of Lot and Abraham with the question of how. How do I avoid Lot’s demise? How do I avoid the foolishness of Abraham? The answers to these questions are crucial. If we are going to have more high points than low points in our journey of faith, then we must learn to appropriate the first key, which is to rely on the unfailing nature of the Promises of God.

I. Rely on the Unfailing Nature of the Promises of God

Since the beginning of our study of the life of Abraham we have been anticipating the promise of God to Abraham concerning an heir. The Lord told Abraham when he called him that he would be a great nation. This is all fine and dandy, but Abraham’s wife was barren and they were on up in their years. Still, the Lord promises to both Abraham and Sarah that she would give birth to a son, and through Abraham’s offspring would come kings and nations, but more importantly, through Abraham’s offspring would come the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.

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