Brothers | Balancing Act | Tests of Faith
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? (James 2:21)
It’s easy to say, “Sure, Lord. I’ll do whatever you ask” when we’re lying on the beach sipping lemonade. We might imagine standing before a firing squad, our captors demanding that we deny Christ or else. “I would never deny Christ,” we think when the sun is shining and the bills are paid. But denials come in many forms and tests are rarely what we expected. Faith untested is not faith at all, so God lets us see where we stand. “Sell it all and go to the mission field,” a rich man hears. “Turn down that proposal,” a lonely girl hears. “Take that which you love most and offer it to me,” most of us hear, and the struggle is on.
Abraham heard it and suddenly faith was not just a word. Until that moment, faith had been all blessing and promise. God had done all the blessing and all the promising; Abe was along for the ride. But then the ride got bumpy: “Sacrifice that which you love most.” For Abe, it was his son. For us it may be a dream, a relationship, a desire, a possession. It’s easy to think we have faith—until it requires too much. “That’s mine!” we cry. So Jesus showed us what real faith looks like when He said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). We don’t carry a cross in order to save ourselves; we carry one because whatever is on it will keep us from following Him. Real faith produces godly actions.
Final Thought: What must be on your cross in order to follow Jesus?
Prayer: Father, what have I been unwilling to surrender to you? I’m ready to be honest. What is in the way of my faith taking action? It’s scary to let go, but I give you _________. I put it on the cross to follow you in obedience. In Jesus’ name, Amen.