“Now the Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.” Genesis 12:1
Somewhere around 4,000 years ago, Abram (later renamed Abraham) heard the Lord say, “Go.” Leave everything and everyone, go out of your land of great wealth, comfort, idolatry and familiarity. Follow My guidance, My ways, and My provision - into the unknown. I will create a people from you, My people. I will be with you and will be your great reward. (Genesis 12-15)
So, Abram went.
Nearly 2,000 years later, the disciples heard Jesus say, “Go.” Leave behind your self-will, some of you, your families, careers, lands, and comforts - into the unknown. Follow My example, My Spirit, My sacrifice. I will expand My people to all nations, tribes and tongues. And, I will be with you and will be your great reward. (Matt 5:12; Matt 19:29; Matt 28:19-20)
So, they went.
Again, 2,000 years later, we heard that same call, “Go.” Leave your family, your friends, your comfort, your will and everything that is familiar to you - into the unknown. Follow Me, My Word, My promises. I will draw My people and build My Church. And, again, I will be with you and will be your great reward. (Luke 11:28; Matt 16:18; Ps 73:26; Ezk 34:15-16)
So, we went.
Remarkably, we follow the same God Abram did 4,000 years ago and the same God the disciples followed 2,000 years ago. We wrestle with the same temptations, the same sins, the same struggles as Abram, as the Israelites, as Peter, as brothers and sisters in the faith have before us. And, we hold onto the same promises. That He is with us, carries us, strengthens us, sustains us, provides for us, and deeply loves us. (Matt 28:20; Isaiah 41:10; John 3:16; Romans 8:38-39; Jeremiah 31:3; Eph 3)
Following God into the unknown may seem foolish to the world but, what is unknown for us is completely and totally secured and known by God!
We don’t have to know where God is taking us. We don’t have to know how He will do what He says He will do. Our job is to believe God’s promises. God’s job is to fulfill His promises. (Rom 4; Numbers 23:19; Deut 31:8; 2 Cor 1:20)
What we have found is exactly what they have all found before us: God. Is. Faithful. He is worthy to be followed. He is far more valuable than anything we could ever leave behind. In His presence is fullness of joy and at His right hand really are pleasures forever more. (Ps 16:11; Eph 3:8-20)
God calls us to bear our cross, to trust His ways over the world’s ways, to chase after Jesus, and to be caught by Him when we fall. Why? So we can learn how faithful He truly is. Faithfulness does not mean going where God calls us won’t be hard. It does not mean there won’t be suffering or trials. It does not even mean that we will feel His presence every step of the way. (Luke 14:27; Prov 24:16; Psalm 37:24-25; Luke 9:23; Col 3; Gal 2:20; Rom 8:17; 1 Peter 4:2; Matt 27:46)
What it does mean, is that the same God who calls us is the same God who empowers us to a life of faith, trust, and repentance. It means that after each step of obedience, He gives us the next revelation, the next piece of the puzzle. (Phil 2:13; Eph 1:17-19; 1 Thes 5:24)
I’ve heard it said this way: “Abram placed his confidence in the character and promises of God, not the clarity of the path before him.” He knew that following God would mean sacrificing things of this world, such as reputation, status, comfort, riches, friends, family etc. And, that his sacrifice would lead to great reward. Abram believed God when God said He would bless the world through him. Jesus said, “Abraham rejoiced that he would see My day. He saw it and was glad.” (John 8:56; Heb 11:6; Roms 4:3)
I think for me what is even more astounding about the call to follow God is that we can fail. It is not about perfect obedience; it is about continual obedience. It is a lifelong journey of struggling towards Christ, struggling towards obedience, struggling toward faithfulness. (Rom 5:3-5; Rom 8:28; Phil 3:12-14; 2 Tim 2:13)
Many times Abram wavered between faith and fear. Trusting God. Trusting the world. Trusting God. Trusting in himself. Trusting God. Trusting in his own ability to fulfill God’s promises. But, he persisted. He continued to look back to the Lord and His promises over and over again. And, that is what we are called to do. (Gen 12-21; Heb 12:2; 2 Pet 1:4)
Where is God calling you? What is holding you back from complete surrender to His will and desire for your life?
For me? It is trying to figure out who I am without my work. How and where can God use my brokenness, my wrestling, my giftings and my struggles to glorify Him and advance His Kingdom? For the longest time my worth and identity have been wrapped up in my career. Over and over again I default to finding my comfort and identity in my work rather than in the work of Jesus. But, graciously, He continues to call me back to what He has for me, one step at a time.
Wherever or whatever that is for you, He will not fail you. He will not abandon you. He will be with you and will be your great reward. (Heb 13:5-6; 1 Pet 5:7; Phil 4:6-7; Heb 11:6)
Coal Creek Church