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Real faith

"This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone." Titus 3.8

Taking inspiration from Abraham means cultivating a faith which draws us away from what is comfortable and familiar towards God's intended future for us. It is not a straight path but we may expect many twists and turns, some of them of our own making, others put there by God for our formation. It involves trusting God even and especially when we do not understand his ways and it means taking appropriate action when we mess up: stop, confess, recover.

Abraham set out from home without a clear idea of where he was going. Yet he knew God was calling him to leave. Though he and his wife were unable to conceive, he trusted God when he promised him descendants - lots of them. When he misread the situation and accepted Sarah's suggestion that offspring might have to come through her maidservant, Hagar, he got back on track and the promise was fulfilled. There was many a wobble along the way, as when he tried to pass Sarah off as his sister, to save his own skin - twice! But that too was resolved.

It was on Mount Moriah that Abraham faced his sternest and most baffling test: to sacrifice his precious son, Isaac. He passed, not because of a ruthless instinct for self-preservation, but because he - and perhaps also Isaac? - trusted that, if he was obedient, God would ensure that whatever he did would be the right thing. God did indeed deliver an appropriate substitute for Isaac - as he would eventually deliver his own son, to be the ultimate sacrifice which atones for your sins and mine.

But first we need to learn to believe and trust God, like Abraham did...



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