Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

Walking Towards Promises
by Rayola Kelley

      What does it mean to walk by faith? We know it begins with believing something as being true. If you believe a matter, you will come into step with it. We see this in the lives of Enoch and Noah. They came into step with God’s will and purpose, and ended up walking with God. As a result, Enoch was translated out of this world and Noah was delivered from God’s wrath.

      What does it mean to come into step with the Lord? To answer this question we must consider Abraham. The one Scripture that best describes Abraham’s faith walk is found in Hebrews 11:10, “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and  maker is God.”

      When God called Abraham out of his country, he had no real consensus as to where he was going. Granted, he had somewhat of an idea of the direction he was to head towards, but he had no concept as to what was before him.

      This brings us to a very important aspect of faith. Faith is exercised in relationship to the unknown. Abraham was walking into the unknown. All he possessed at the time was the word and promise of an unseen God. Obviously, Abraham would not be walking by what he could see with the eye for his destination was not within his physical vision. He would not walk according to what he understood. He had no point of origin in which to understand what he would be seeing or experiencing. He could not walk according to any fanciful notions for he had no real expectations about where he was going. Abraham went out of his known environment because he trusted God.

      Abraham’s faith in God is what allowed him to take the necessary steps forward into a new life. His confidence in God made his steps steadfast. His trust in God would keep him on the strait, narrow path of obedience. His assurance in God would ensure that in the end he would come to the Promised Land.

       Most people want a blueprint before they tread into unknown territory. However, faith does not walk according to a blueprint, but according to the character, word, and promises of God. Faith does not walk according to the light of this world or even man’s religion. In reality, the false, temporary, fading lights of the world and man create darkness rather than light. True faith always begins when personal and worldly understanding ceases. This is the beauty about faith. It does not depend on the light of this world; rather, it walks according to the vision and promises of an unseen world.

      For example, even though Abraham was walking towards the Promised Land, his real focus or vision was on the unseen city made by the hands of God. He also understood what his real portion or inheritance was. It was not some stretch of land, but it was the Lord Himself (Genesis 15:1). Abraham would never see the physical promises come to fruition, but he understood the spiritual implication of following the God of heaven and earth. All real blessings and promises attached to Him were of a spiritual nature that reached far beyond this world. It is from Abraham’s example that we learn that genuine faith does not walk according to the present age of understanding or enlightenment, but according to an unseen age that is yet to come in power and glory.

      It is for this reason that Abraham serves as an example as to how unfeigned faith responds to God. Scripture tell us that it is faith that identifies us to the unseen kingdom and family. The Apostle Paul put it in this way in Galatians 3:6-9, “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye, therefore, that they who are of faith the same are the children of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Greeks through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So, then, they who are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”

      We know that the children of Israel thought that their biological identification to Abraham made them exceptional. However, John the Baptist put their physical identification to the great patriarch in this way, “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham as our father; for I say unto you that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham” (Matthew 3:9).

      Even though the Jews rightfully had claim to the Messiah from a biological standpoint, they could not be identified to the spiritual heritage except by way of faith. We see in some cases, such as recorded in John 8:31-47, that Jesus rebuked them because they did not believe. Although they knew their God was unseen, they still related to His many promises on a physical level that outwardly complied to religious rituals, but lacked any real heart belief or revelation. Jesus stated that they would draw near to God with their mouths but their hearts were far from Him (Matthew 15:8-9). In Malachi 2:17, we read these words, “Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?”

      Words are cheap if they are not backed up with action. There are many words, claims and declarations among those who claim to be Christians, but what do their works reveal about them? God was wearied with idle, meaningless words that had no consideration for His righteous ways. Such disobedient people proved they did not believe Him. If is for this reason the Apostle Paul clarified that the faith that leads to salvation is indeed a matter of the heart believing unto righteousness. Notice in what way the heart believes God, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).

      We know that God counts that which is inspired, compelled, or motivated by faith as being upright to Him. In spite of Abraham being born in the Adamic fallen race, he chose the way of faith. Each step of faith led him to the place where God was calling him. Every time Abraham adhered to God’s instruction, God counted his response as being upright and acceptable to Him. Since God counted Abraham’s obedient responses as being upright, He could in turn bless him. In the end, Abraham’s steps of faith would allow God to fulfill His very promises.

      Faith not only advances us in our walk, but it will bring us to the place where God will be able to reveal Himself to us and fulfill His promises in our lives. The truth is, faith is always walking towards God in expectation of inheriting His promises.

      It is important to follow Abraham in his faith walk. His example shows us how faith responds and where it will ultimately lead a person in his or her relationship with God.  Let us now examine the journey of Abraham.

      Opened: One of the things I meditated upon about Abraham was why God chose him from among all the other people who lived during his time. Perhaps 2 Chronicles 16:9 gives us an answer to this question, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him. Herein thou hast done foolishly; therefore, from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” From this Scripture we can conclude that Abraham had the type heart that God could reveal Himself to in order to bring forth His plan of salvation.

      The Call: God is always calling people. We see Him calling out to Adam in the garden. He sent prophets to the children of Israel to serve as His voice. Twenty centuries ago, He sent His only begotten Son to communicate His heart and desire to the poor in spirit. We read in Genesis 12:1 that the Lord spoke to Abraham. No doubt, His call went out to Abraham, and he heard His voice. His call for Abraham was to leave his present home for a land that He would show Him.

      Jesus’ call has gone out to all who will hear. He calls for people to follow Him into a new life. He has called the blind and leprous people to come to Him. He has called the Zacchaeus’s of the world to step down and sup with Him. He invites people to drink from the wells of salvation.

      The Promise: Genesis tells us the first thing that God spoke to Abraham after His call was the promise. God made a promise to Abraham that He would bless Him, make his name great, and that he would become a blessing to many others. Keep in mind that God was able to bless Abraham because of his faith. His name is great because of the faith he displayed. He became a blessing to those who follow in his footsteps of faith. In Abraham, we see the role that unfeigned faith plays in the lives of God’s people.

      The promise that is being offered to all of us is that of salvation. We are saved by the grace of God through the small measure of faith that clings to the promise of eternal life. It is the same faith that enables us to pursue the untold, unseen blessings that are attached to eternal life.

      Obedience: Faith responds in obedience. Abraham obeyed the voice of the Lord. He departed from his homeland. He left behind the old in order to embrace the new. Genuine faith in the Lord will always lead us away from the old. Each step of obedience will lead us closer to realizing the fullness of the new way or new life that we are being called to. As we embrace the ways of this new life, we will draw closer to the reality of the promises attached to the new life.

      Scripture tells us that if we love Jesus, we will obey Him. Hebrews 5:8-9 tells us that Jesus became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him. Unfeigned faith cannot help but obey what it knows is true, right, and pleasing to the One who is loved, honored, and worshipped.

      Separation: Abraham experienced separation from that which would keep him from inheriting the new. His father had already died, but he had to separate from the home he had always known and most of his family to a new, foreign place. He would later separate from his nephew, Lot.  He would be required to send his son, Ishmael and his mother Hagar away to pursue the integrity of God’s promise.

      As believers, we are continually being separated from that which belongs to the old way of living. We cannot combine the old with the new without destroying the old and defiling the new, leaving us with emptiness and vanity.

      Detour: Abraham was a man. We see him taking a detour. Instead of going to the Promised Land, he went to Egypt during a famine. God did not call him to Egypt. Although God protected Abraham in his foolishness, He did not speak to Him until he came back into line with God.

     Like Abraham, we will take detours, but we will quickly learn the vanity of such steps. We must turn back in repentance to the place where we last committed all matters to God to ensure the quality of our walk before Him. We must never settle for Egypt when we have yet to discover the fullness of God’s promises.

     The question is, have you settled for the vanity of Egypt (the world) or are you in line with that which God has promised to you. Keep your eyes on Him as you trust Him to lead you into that which He has promised you. Perhaps you cannot see it, nor do you understand what it all means for it is foreign to you. But, what must not be foreign to us is God. We may be walking into the unknown, but we are walking according to what we know is true and trustworthy. We are walking according to the call and leading of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.