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In The School of Faith (Part 6)

Walking by Faith

Genesis 12:1-7

I. Introduction: When we become Christians, we are saved by faith alone, and God intends to continually develop each of us according to His will (Eph. 2:8-9). As we grow in faith, we will all stumble and fail at times, but it is essential to remember that the path of our growth is not a straight line upwards. God intends to use our ups and downs to help us progress.

II. Abraham is oftentimes called “The Father of Faith” because he was called out from a totally pagan society into a relationship with God. He is a perfect example of what it means to live a growing, maturing life of faith. Like us, he wasn’t a perfect man. Many times, he failed to follow, trust, or wait upon God. However, the Father dealt kindly with Abraham and kept the many promises made to His servant.

III. The Requirements for Walking in Faith

  • A. Learn to Listen to God
    1. We must be able to discern when God is speaking to us either directly or through His Word. If we do not understand, we cannot know His will for our lives.
    2. Each time God spoke to Abraham, the patriarch stopped and built and altar to mark the event (Gen. 12:7-8). Likewise, each time we hear God speaking to us, it would be wise to “build in altar” in the margins of our Bibles, a textual reminder of the wisdom or direction we’ve received.
    3. We should begin each day and pray, “Lord, if You have anything to say to me, speak to my heart today—I’m listening.” He is as willing and ready to speak to us as He was to Abraham.
  • B. Learn to Obey God
    1. God instructed Abraham, saying, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives,” but Abraham didn’t fully obey these directions (Gen. 12:1). Instead, he took his nephew, Lot, with him along with his household. The result of this disobedience was strife in the family and Lot’s eventual arrival in the doomed city of Sodom.
    2. Abraham also disobeyed the Lord when he took his family into Egypt to escape a famine. However, God used that mistake to teach Abraham a lesson in obedience and, in His grace, blessed him with everything he needed.
    3. We must be fully obedient to God because partial obedience and disobedience are one in the same. They always bring consequences designed to help us learn to fully follow His will.
  • C. Learn to Depend on God
    1. Jesus never insisted that the disciples obey Him. Instead, He instructed them to trust Him and to have faith in God. He knew that trust would create obedience because the two naturally go together.
    2. When we don’t trust God, we aren’t depending on Him. As a result, we begin to feel that we are able to handle things on our own, and we begin to pull away from Him and head in the wrong direction.
  • D. Learn to Wait Upon God
    1. Abraham failed to wait upon the Lord concerning his promised son. He followed his wife’s suggestion and had a child by her handmaid, Hagar. That impatience began a conflict we are still dealing with today!
    2. The Bible clearly states that God acts in behalf of those who wait on Him (Isa. 64:4). The only way we can learn to do this is to trust in God and believe that He is always working in our best interests.
    3. When we wait, we acknowledge His lordship in our lives, and our trusting faith itself becomes an act of genuine worship.
  • E. Learn to Acknowledge, Repent, and Profit From Faith Failures
    1. God uses our mistakes to grow us in faith, which makes it possible for Him to give us even greater opportunities to demonstrate it.
    2. Abraham was able to offer Isaac as a sacrifice because he undergone many years of spiritual development learned the absolute obedience that the Lord required.

IV. Conclusion: Life at its best is a life of faith—there’s no substitute. As believers, we are learning to listen to God and obey Him, to depend on Him and wait for His timing. It is a life we can only have after we trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. And no matter what circumstances or difficulties we face, there is no way we can lose when we trust God.

(Charles F. Stanley. Copyright 2011 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.)