Some days the Lord is talking to me while I am in the process of waking up. This was one of those days and I heard in my spirit to read about Abraham and also read in the book of Galatians. Abraham’s story begins in Genesis 11 while he is traveling with family, servants, and animals. It’s in Genesis 12 that God gets very personal with him and essentially says “Leave where you are and go to where I will show you and I will take care of everything.” The text says Abram, as he was known at that time, built an altar and worshiped God there.
When I have had personal encounters with God, my initial response is to worship as well. Worship is recognizing who spoke to you and helps you absorb what was said. When I know what God says to me about where to go, I cannot vary from it, short cut it, or find my own solution. I must continue to see God as my source, my provider. I must believe Him when He says that no matter what happens, He will show me how to walk through any situation.
God has specifically called me and will fulfill His purpose in me. It doesn’t matter that no else knows about that yet. In Galatians 1, Paul was at one time “unknown by sight to the churches”, but they recognized what God had done in him. “And they glorified God [as the author and source of what had taken place] in me.” (Galatians 1:24) Just as with Paul, the Lord will show Himself through me wherever He sends me. It’s His presence and power that needs to be seen – not my own.
God is not impressed with the positions that people hold. I don’t need to be either. I am to respect others and recognize the purpose of positions of authority, but I don’t need to walk in fear or give heed to others just because they hold those positions. Anything I do or what God does through me is not about works, but about my reliance on and complete trust in Jesus. Galatians 3:6 says that Abraham believed that God would do as He promised. A true son of Abraham is one who lives by faith, not one who relies on works. Abraham, like me, was really “works-less” because in his own strength he could never have fulfilled God’s promises for him. It required God’s doing and Abraham’s believing.
If I can learn from Abraham to not try to arrange things in the natural, like he did with Pharaoh and Hagar, but to wait for God to do the supernatural, like He did with Sarah, then what is seen is only what God can do. The short cut to accomplish the goal never works as well and man gets the glory. God doesn’t call us to try to accomplish what He has promised to do. Only He can do it! (Gal. 4:31)
I have a friend named Debbie who says we have to lay down our own natural abilities and natural desires for accomplishment so that God can work through us. There should be no mistaking that the result is something of God. If we accomplish something in our strength, no matter how great the promise of God, it’s still only human effort and can never be as great. If it’s God working through us, then it will be something we could never do on our own and others will see it as God. To let Him work through us requires a change of heart that only He can make in us.
When dealing with human ability, there are those who think they are powerful, important, or gifted and want you to court their favor (Gal. 4:17). That kind of performance is worse for then you are connected to pleasing people and making sure you are deemed worthy in another person’s eyes. If you do what man says you should do, that becomes like Paul’s reference to circumcision and making sure you are good enough. That kind of living says you don’t really trust Christ. “If you seek to be justified and declared righteous through works” and how others see you, then you are walking away from what Christ came to provide – grace, acceptance, and His righteousness through believing relationship. Through love.
People are just people. If I ascribe power, significance, or elevation to anyone, that puts me in bondage to them. If I seek to please them or stay in their favor, I am placing myself under them. That moves me away from God and towards “worship” and fear of others and what they seem to have (wealth, position, influence, giftedness). I can regard with respect earthly authority, but not walk in fear of or court the favor of earthly authority.
I am equal with other people and cannot come to allow anyone to take God’s place of reverence in my eyes. I can be inside and part of an authority structure to carry out a purpose, and I can respect the positions of leadership and what is required of them. It is wrong to use my position of authority as power over others, a reason to not respect others, or for any self serving reason. It is also wrong to allow myself to be wrongly dominated by those over me in the structure.
Could this be why Abraham became afraid and lied about Sarah being only his sister? She was his half sister, but he lied because he was in fear of his life. He suddenly found himself in a situation where all he saw was Pharaoh and forgot about God’s promise that his descendants would outnumber the grains of sand on the shore! Is this also why Abraham agreed to take Hagar as the mother of his children? God had said He would do the impossible through Abraham and Sarah.
I am no different than Abraham. I too have to learn to believe God’s word to me. The things He has asked of me are impossible in my own strength. Even if I had several college degrees and a crew of people to make my work look good, I couldn’t accomplish what He can if I trust Him and give Him free reign in my life. Is that easy? Absolutely not! But even when I stumble at it, I am learning. And even when I mess up, He still loves me. Feeling afraid of failing causes me to look at myself. Help me, Lord, to get to the place of believing You can do through me what I cannot ever hope to accomplish on my own. Help me to focus more on just being Your child than in what I am doing for You.
On this same day, I walked the wooded trails near my home. The place is such a delight that I laughed out loud a couple of times. Then I heard a little song in my head. It went like this…
Come up higher to Me
Come deeper and you’ll see
Come closer, feel my breath
There is so much for you left
On the high road or shifting sand
Your life never leaves My hand
On the mountain or the sea
You are precious to Me
© 2010, Robin Lawrimore