This is the fourth post in a four-part series exploring what it means to belong to God. Read the third part here.
When we think about whether we truly trust God as the owner of our lives, we cannot overlook the story of Abraham in Genesis 22. God tested him in a powerful way to make sure that he really did trust the promises he received many years before. The chapter starts with “God tested Abraham.” To me, this test is the apex of Abraham’s walk with God and his trust in Him and His promises.
First, there is no confusion about what God has asked him to do. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his promised son. And Abraham committed to carrying it out.
What Abraham is about to do may seem like blind faith or unimaginable to us. But Abraham quickly examined the unusual request through his heart and mind.
Hebrews 11 tells us how Abraham reasoned with his belief—knowing who was asking him to do this—and he obeyed.
"By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, 'It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.' Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death." -Hebrews 11:17-19
This had to be a supreme test of who Abraham was trusting. His heart loved his son. But he trusted the God who had given him Isaac more than he trusted his right to have Isaac.
Abraham would obey—not in blind faith but in great faith in the promise of the One who owned both father and son. As with Abraham, God will test our hearts as well. Why does God faithfully and constantly test our faith through the circumstances of life?
"In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." -1 Peter 1:6-7
As with Abraham, God knew what Abraham would do, but Abraham didn’t until he was tested. I may say I believe something, but I really don’t know what I would do until I am confronted with a chance to choose between God’s truth and my cultural reality. People like us won’t really have to battle with what is good versus what is evil. Our tests and struggles are usually between good and God’s ultimate truth. And in this way, we will have to endure the testing of our faith regularly.
Is your Father asking you to give up something that you may think you cannot live without? Trust Him. It’s only because He wants to give you something better.
Whatever your choice is, go with God even when you may not understand the bigger picture. He will never break His promises. And you will never experience them unless you step out in faith and obey Him who owns you.
John's travels for ministry behind the Iron Curtain led him to found East-West Ministries International in 1993. John and his wife, Susie, live in Dallas, Texas and have a grown daughter and two grandchildren.