“See all that?” my brother Rob asked after we lifted the hood on my old Jeep Wrangler, “ALL of that is going to have to be moved. Are you in? We are going to have to drill out the broken exhaust manifold studs and bolts and replace them and there is NO WAY we can do it without pulling out all that stuff which is in the way.”
Well, there are supposed to be a total of 7 studs and bolts and I was down to 3 and I wasn’t wanting to be asphyxiated by the increasing carbon monoxide inside the Jeep – neither was Agathe – so what choice did I have? “How much would it cost to have someone else do it?”
“This is about a $400-$500 job to have done,” my brother a lifetime mechanic replied.
“Let’s get to it!” I concluded immediately. What else was I going to do on my Monday off?
We finished late Wednesday afternoon…as it was a three day epic, often working through the pouring rain and spending as much time buying special bits to drill out a broken easy out in one bore and welding a small rod to pull out a broken drill bit in another. About whatever could put a hurdle in front of us did just that. I’ll tell you what though, my old ’91 YJ Wrangler gets down the road just smooth as new right now, quiet (sort of) and comfortable (at least a bit more) – as an old Jeep might be!
Here’s the thing about our spiritual lives; we want them to be smooth and easy, calling on God for his promises, but we want him to follow us down our road without considering where he might want US. We want a comfortable “clean air” existence but we don’t want to have to move stuff in our lives to make it happen. We want refinement sans the fire and smoke! We want to cruise with no bloody knuckle maintenance.
Let’s look at Abraham and how he is perceived theologically: Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God’s way. For the Scriptures tell us, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” Romans 4:1-3
What did God tell Abraham that he had to believe?
I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3
After Lot had gone, the Lord said to Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west. I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession. And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted! Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.” Genesis 13:14-17
Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.” Genesis 15:1
Then the Lord said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”
And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith. Genesis 15:4-6
Wow!! How many of us have that kind of communion with God Almighty? If God took me aside in dreams, visions and visitations – AND – made those kinds of promises to me…I would believe God too!
But belief in God is a WHOLE LOT different than faith in God. We can’t simply call God out for what we think we are promised in his word and not be willing to move some stuff – and ourselves – in the direction of God to realize them!
This where it all started for Abraham (previously Abram) with God’s communication:
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. Genesis 12:1
This was NOT – Hey Abram move from Lake Odessa to Hastings – this was a complete life shift! New languages, new cultures, new places, incredible challenges! There were no “movers” to call to pack up your goods and turn the key on a truck! This was a desert wilderness, wild animals, hostile people, herd your flocks, conflict guaranteed MOVING OF ALL HIS STUFF kind of change!! And Abraham goes through ALL of this with God!!
And along the way he meets Melchizedek the High Priest King of Salem tithes to him the spoils of war – oh yeah Abraham was a warrior too – becomes extremely wealthy and sees God’s promises start to take shape in his lifetime! Abraham was 100 years old and his wife Sarah not far behind in her 90’s when they have God’s promised heir!
So we can’t just believe God’s promises and be considered righteous. We have to follow through on belief into mature faith and be willing to be moved by God, stirred by his Spirit and act faithfully in all He requires of us!
Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? [God didn’t have Abraham go through with it!] You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone. James 2:21-24 NLT
Belief, faith, actions – Abraham had it all!! (Paul and James have eternity together to work out which side of the faith cart the action horse should be hitched to)
So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. Hebrews 10:35-36
To breathe the free air and avoid having to drive your Jeep down the road with your head sticking out the window like some traveling, tongue-wagging, ear flapping dog – you are going to have to move some stuff, bloody your knuckles, break some stuff, replace some stuff, get soaked, invest in some new tools, learn a lot and feel like you’ve been run over by a truck more than once before it’s said and done for all the contorted stretching you’ll have to do.
It isn’t much different in our faith journey yoked to Christ working for our Lord and our God.
Belief, faith action – be a warrior like Abraham and move some stuff when God commands it!
Are you in?
Or will you let God use someone else to be ultimately blessed because you think the price is too high?