< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Part II of The Journey

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Part II of The Journey

We all know the story of Abraham. We all know there are consequences to any action we take. What we do can set into motion a series of events that may continue long after we’re gone. Unfortunately, when we are making decisions most of us only think of the immediate consequences. These are often misleading because they are short lived.

Abraham had a choice to make. His decision was between setting out with his family and belongings to parts unknown or staying right where he was. He had to decide between the security of what he already had and the uncertainty of traveling under God’s direction. All he had to go on was God’s promise to guide and bless him.

Abraham could hardly have been expected to visualize how much of the future was resting on his decision to follow God, but his obedience affected the history of the world. His decision set into motion the development of the nation that God would eventually use as His own when He came to earth Himself.

When Jesus Christ came to earth, God’s promise was fulfilled: through Abraham the entire world was blessed.

You probably don’t know the long-term effects of most of the decisions you make. But, shouldn’t the fact that there will be long term results cause you to think carefully and seek God’s guidance as you make choices and take action every day?

Abraham never doubted that God would fulfill His promise. Although Abraham’s life was still marked by mistakes, sins and failure it was also marked by big wisdom and goodness. He constantly trusted God and his faith was strengthened by the obstacles he faced. His life was an example of faith in action.

Abraham left a flourishing city, a city which had 2 story villas each with 13 and 14 rooms, whose walls were whitewashed plaster. A city where education was of a high standard. But, in spite of this advanced civilization Ur was steeped in idolatry.

God called Abraham to “leave your country and your people…and go to the land I will show you.” Taking his father Terah, his nephew Lot and his wife Sarah they traveled 600 miles from Ur to Haran. They stayed there for some time; his father died there and then, again, God called Abraham. He was to leave this place – another city noted for its idolatry and they went another 600 miles south to Canaan. Abraham set out on an adventure completely dependent on God, but blazing a way that generations would follow.

Part of our journey is to be spiritually fruitful. Jesus said in John 7:37-38: "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." As Christians we can be living water satisfying people’s thirst by pointing them to the source, Jesus Christ.

We may be asked along our journey to realize we love God more than anything else – by God asking us to give up something or even not asking – just allowing it to be taken –

You remember the story of Isaac. God told Abraham to sacrifice his only son.
God probably won’t tell you to kill your child, but do you cling too tightly to your spouse’s or child’s time when they may be used for others who need to know God through them?

Other sacrifices to consider: have you ever given a monetary gift that was a sacrifice? Opened your home to a needy person just because you love God? Have you sacrificed your own time?

Some things you may need to give up may be: habits, sins or ambitions that hinder you and your family from obedience to God.

On our journey we will come to forks in the road where we will have to make decisions. For instance: should we stay close to a church where our family may best be taught and molded in God’s work or follow some wordly pursuit?

We need to be watchful and aware. We need to think about the things that happen, not just go through life in a fog. We need to live life on purpose.

Here are a few more thoughts about walking with Jesus –

If I go for a walk with a friend and when we get to the end of my driveway she turns left and I turn right – we aren’t walking together. If we go the same way, but I walk really fast and she walks really slowly – we won’t walk together. Part of the reason for the walk is to enjoy time together.

It’s also easiest to travel lightly on a journey. Not carry a lot of “baggage” –which can either mean carrying around our past, unforgiveness or sins or being tied to material things.

Abraham’s journey was one step at a time – that’s all we need to do – we take a step in faith and God will lead us.

God calls us to walk with Him. To learn from Him and have a relationship with Him. Our fullest spiritual maturity is to be like God in character – we’re not done until we achieve that.

Will you commit yourself to follow Abraham in a new walk of faith – the highest walk of faith, that of sacrifice and love to God?

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