The other night in Bible study we discussed faith in the Lord because of WHO He is, not because of anything that we are. We were discussing the story of Abraham’s faith in God’s promise that even though he and Sarah were quite old and passed child-bearing years God promised him, “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.” (Gen. 12:1-2) There were many years and trials before this came to pass. But after years of waiting, Isaac was born. And during this time of waiting on the Lord, Abraham walked with the Lord and developed a relationship with Him.
Then God asked Abraham to do the unthinkable, to sacrifice his promised child, the one with whom God would establish His everlasting covenant (Genesis 22:1-19). It didn’t make any sense to Abraham, but he faithfully and obediently walked in the steps the Lord laid out for him. Because Abraham had an experiential understanding of God, he KNEW that somehow God would follow through on His promise. He didn’t understand the reason for the path God wanted him to walk, but he did it anyway, by faith. And the Lord was faithful, as He always is. “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” (2 Cor. 1:20) That powerful faith in our Lord was not only for Abraham, we all have access to it through Jesus.
During Bible study we reflected on promises God has already kept for us, to have us remember His faithfulness. Two passages were laid upon my heart, and the first is: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:38-39) This is a comprehensive listing of what canNOT separate us from the Lord. I believe this also includes the past, although it is not enumerated here, and this is a promise that I claim: nothing can separate the Lord’s love from me. And because of His great love for me, I am daily taking up my cross and following Him.
I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was 9, but I haven’t always lived my life in reverence to His lordship. Just a few weeks ago I was able to take shame that separated me from God (kept a division from my stance, not His) and “nailed it to the cross” and left it there. A burden has been lifted, which is another promise: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28) After I was able to do this, the Lord has given me several opportunities to step out in faith in steps that He has directed me, and I’ve been obedient to “walking in the Spirit” as we’ve discussed in Ephesians 5 the last week or so. I’ve really had a good couple of weeks.
We are also told that we will have trouble in this world, but are also reminded that Jesus has already overcome the world (John 16:33). So yesterday morning it seemed the devil wanted to wreak a little havoc with me, which brings up the second passage that was laid on my heart: “‘no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,’ declares the Lord.” (Is. 54:17) No matter what trials come up, we are not alone; we have the Lord on our side.
Long-range plans were discussed, plans that I do NOT want to do. This is the place in the past where I could easily spiral into depression and feeling like I had no control, no say in the future. Long story short, while on my drive to work I was praying to the Lord through tears, “Lord, I don’t want to do this. This isn’t the picture that I have for my life, but if this is the walk you want me to take, then I will take it. I don’t promise to like it, but I am willing to do your will even if I have to cry every day.”
I truthfully had a real burden about what had been laid before me, and I took it right to the cross. I was belting out the part of the song “Old Church Choir”, “there ain’t nothing gonna steal my joy!” through tears. Every chorus was less militant, and then I prayed again, thanking the Lord that my circumstances may or may not bring me happiness, but I thanked Him that my true joy and peace are in Him and Him alone. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3)
The devil may have given me a bit of a run Thursday morning, but he limped away defeated in the name of Jesus! “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Col. 2:13-15) I choose to walk in the Spirit, and tell the devil to take a hike in Jesus’s name. “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16)
Who knows what the future holds? I certainly don’t, but I DO know WHO holds my future!