Our small group is studying The Story: Getting to the Heart of God’s Story, and last night we studied the story of Abraham: God Builds a Nation. During this study, I was reminded that about a year and a half ago, I finally said the words and meant them in my heart that I would do whatever the Lord wanted me to do. I’ve received the message several times that what He wants me to do is walk with Him.
“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance,obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.” (Hebrews 11:8-12)
There is a lot to say about Abraham and his faith in God. When he was 75 years old, he obeyed the Lord and left his home, without knowing where he was going. He believed God would give him a son in spite of his age and that of Sarah because God said He would. Abraham was 100 years old when Sarah had Isaac. When Isaac was 15 the Lord asked him to sacrifice his only son, and Isaac obeyed (believing the Lord would raise Isaac from the dead). Just before Abraham slayed his son, the Angel of the Lord stopped him. “’Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ he said. ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.’” (Gen. 22:12) Abraham continued to have faith in God, even when he couldn’t see how it would happen. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1) Abraham let God write his story, and he walked the path the Lord set before him, and most importantly, he waited on the Lord’s timing.
After his conversion Paul spent almost ten years of his life in obscurity–an absolute waste of time, so thought some. Think of what an exciting story Paul could have told. After all, how many people could top Paul’s roadside encounter with Jesus Christ? Paul was blinded by a brilliant light. He literally heard the voice of Jesus Christ. It was for real, not something conjured up by indigestion in the night. Then, after he was led to Damascus his sight was restored supernaturally. An old disciple, Ananias, prayed for Paul, gently placing his hands on this man who had been the #1 enemy of the church.
Something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Talk about a remarkable conversion! Wow! This was the kind of stuff that would draw crowds. Forget those dusty, dry orations in the synagogue. Get this guy booked for the main event. He can draw a crowd that would make a soccer match look like a Sunday school picnic.
No, God didn’t have this in mind. After three years in the desert, probably Saudi Arabia, Paul spent the next seven years of his life making tents back in his home town, Tarsus. He didn’t write books. He didn’t teach or lecture, and he certainly didn’t make promotional appearances. He sewed canvas and made tents. Occupational therapy? Better than that. God was remaking the man into something He could use.
When Paul cried out, “Lord, what will you have me to do?” he wasn’t asking for options. He was signing on the bottom line. He was committed. The issue was settled. “Ah,” you sigh, “I thought if we really commit ourselves to Jesus Christ, we can start looking for the spotlight and God’s going to do something great with us!” Strange ideas we get about commitment!
I believe Jesus Christ is remaking all of us who are committed to following Him. He has plans to use us as He sees fit, and in the timing that suits His higher purpose. When you’re constantly walking with someone you’re going to understand them better than you ever did. You’re going to know their heart. Walking with God is not just a time in the prayer closet, it’s a lifestyle that we can only obtain through Jesus Christ. When you walk with God you choose to imitate Him and glorify Him in every way. Jack Hyles said, “God’s mighty power comes when God’s people learn to walk with God.” When we walk with the Lord we draw closer to the Lord with all our heart. He becomes our focus. Our hearts longs for Him. Our heart seeks His presence. Our desire to have fellowship with Christ and be like Him will grow while our worldly desires will decrease. “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” (John 8:12)
- The Story: Getting to the Heart of God’s Story
- NIV Study Bible
- Just Sign On and Let God Fill in the Blanks