By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
We are still studying faith. It is so massive a subject, and Hebrews 11 such a rich description of what is faith. You cannot study it superficially.
The first thing we see in Abraham is obedience. This is the first manifestation of faith at work. It is unconditional, it places no demands, nor questions why.
Again I approach the favourite scripture that has marked my Christian life personally. I have had many times when God called me to do something that required a distance to travel. Not only to travel but to actually leave my familiar surrounding and give up my country and customs. What I believe, and its a personal position, is that obedience is never an optional requirement with God. When you are walking with Him, trying to be led, and focussing your life’s destiny on the Lord, you must obey to open the doors that need opening. And close behind us the doors that need closing.
My own Call to leave my area, knowing that it meant even my own country came in 1990, when God in a context of personal loss, told me that I had no option to change direction. My father passed away due to a cancer. It was a traumatic time, and over 26 years on, hardly a day goes by when I do not remember that night. He passed away and I was told by a non believer friend that my attempt to leave my home town, and go a distance was the right decision, and it would be good for me to mature and pursue a destiny not everyone understood. So in the context of grief, and going to the church where I worked at the time, I spent time in prayer, intensely, up to my father’s death, when the Presence of God came so near and so gentle. I was given a scripture which has marked my life ever since. Genesis 12:1. God was speaking to me about GOING. LEAVING. And it was so subtle the call and so gentle that it spoke about Terah’s passing, before the Call came. I knew that I was to experience a loss, and when it came, it had already been prepared for in my heart.
It was a major turning point for me personally, and it did mean that I did leave my home country, adopting a nation special in God’s Heart, called Portugal. Those 15 years there, were not easy, but filled with the acquisition of wife and family. Of whom I am thankful for them, and love them dearly.
For me, faith is only faith, when you obey. The “Proof of the Pudding” is in the eating, which is an English expression, meaning that faith is only real when we walk out in the midst of difficulty and everyone shouting negativity, or circumstances working to dissuade you. You obey the call, you LEAVE THE COMFORTABLE, you GO THE DISTANCE. You spend nights on a train, you spend moments on a plane.
God called me to a journey, by road from Nottingham to Vitoria in Spain. It was uncomfortable. I was to go to a Remar conference, ministering and working with drug addicts. From the Conference I was to travel to Portugal. All in all I spent 4 weeks away from the UK.
I journeyed 27 hours to Spain. Got to the place, to be shown that I would stay in an old factory with a 100 drug addicts. I was so tired, and as i got my bed sorted there was a thunderstorm, which wet my bed soaking wet. I was so tired, and so uncomfortable being there with all these recovering drug addicts.
I slept until 6am the next day when in the next room started guitar playing and singing. I was got up and told I had to process mouldy bread for a machine to turn it into fertilizer. I slipped in the sludge of the bread dirtying myself. After lunch I walked around this industrial estate saying “God I want to die”.
After 2 days there I was moved to a school where other delegates for the conference were there. What I knew after praying in Brixham where my home was, and people telephoning with visions and prophecies, it was that I had to allow the Lord to lead me and get me to Portugal.
After the conference was over, I was taken back to my school dorm room, for the night, and as I was transported I was sat next to a person who was going through withdrawal from drugs. It was an awful experience for me. The next day I was taken to a coach going to Viseu in Portugal. I paid nothing, and we journeyed 8 hours. In the hot sun. When I got to Viseu I had to sleep one night with more drug addicts. In very uncomfortable conditions. Then taken to the coach station the next day to get a bus to Aveiro, where I was to meet my missionary friends.
Then after 2 weeks get on a train in Aveiro and journey all the way to Santander. Took over 18 hours. Then get a ferry from Santander to Plymouth. Arrived home 3 days after I started my journey.
That is to demonstrate that to get to fulfil the objectives of the Lord I had to LEAVE MY COMFORT zone many times, and allow God to take me through very uncomfortable circumstances because through them there were doorways to get to where I was supposed to be to collect the inheritance of obedience.
What will it take you to obey Him? Will you put your faith into action to go even though you do not know your destination?
God called Abraham His friend, because He spoke and Abraham listened. Obeyed.
God challenges us today to obey without conditions, as this is proof of our faith!