Abraham’s life shows us 5 crucial truths about following God.
1. Following God means venturing into the unknown.
At crucial moments in his life, Abraham had to trust God with a completely unknown future. God told Abraham to “go” without telling him where he was headed. He told Abraham that he would have a son without explaining how. Later on, God would ask Abraham to sacrifice this son without explaining why. John Calvin summarized God’s interaction with Abraham like this: “Just close your eyes and take my hand.”
So many people I talk to are unwilling to do this. They want to know, “God, if I surrender all of this to you, what about . . .?” They want to make sure that God will not make them a missionary, or that they won’t have to break up with their boyfriend, or that they won’t have to be poor. But God says, “For now, close your eyes and take my hand.”
If God is who He says He is, you have to be willing to trust him. If not, you’ll never know Him or experience what He has for you.
2. God’s calling to salvation and his commissioning into mission are one and the same.
There is a misconception among Christians that you get called to be God’s child at one point and then later He puts you on mission. But in the Bible, the two calls are always one and the same. God called Abraham with a purpose—to bless others. He called Moses by sending him to Pharaoh (Exod 3:7–12). He called Peter by telling him we would be a “fisher of men” (Matt 4:19). He called Paul by sending him to the Gentiles (Acts 26:16).
God’s call on your life is a call to use you in his mission. God chose you to make you an eternal blessing to someone. That’s good news for those of you who feel like God only has enough grace to save you—and that’s it. But that’s not how it works. God is like a spiritual tornado. He never pulls you in without also hurling you out.
3. You are blessed to be a blessing.
I heard from another pastor about a multi-millionaire who just loves to give to various ministries. He told his pastor that his goal in life is to “bounce his last check.” He’s a millionaire trying to go broke. He just keeps writing checks because he realizes that he’s a channel of God’s blessing.
Is that how you view your money and possessions? Are you more of a reservoir or a channel for the blessings in your life? If you are a channel, then because you’ve been loved by God, you’ll love others. If you’ve been given money, you’ll share your money. I’ve you’ve been given wisdom, you’ll share it. You’ll bless others because that’s why God has blessed you.
4. To become the blessing we have to take our hands off of everything and make God our trust and his kingdom our delight.
God did not call Abraham to add a few tweaks to his morality. He called Abraham to a whole new basis of life. No longer would he find his security in how much he possessed or how able he was to provide for himself; he had to trust God. No longer would he spend his life building his own little kingdom; he left that to seek the building of God’s.
Following God is not just “adding a little God to our lives.” It means making God our trust for the future and his kingdom our delight. All of us have things that we depend on for security and we look to for significance. These are usually good things—career, financial stability, education, family. But when these good things become our trust and our delight, they disappoint and we miss out on the true blessings of God’s kingdom.
5. To become the blessing, we have to believe the impossible.
Abraham had to believe what seemed impossible and then act on it. He had to believe God would keep his word, and because he believed, somewhere along the way he had to splash some cologne onto his 100-year-old body, put on some Marvin Gaye, and start a family.
For you to follow God you have to believe that he can save you, that he will use your life for blessing, that he will give you the resources to accomplish his will, that there are answers to your questions. It might seem like these things are impossible. But God is calling you to close your eyes and take His hand.
Times like this are what the Bible calls kairos moments—special moments of opportunity that God can use to tear us away from the world. Wealth has a way, as C. S. Lewis said, of knitting a man’s heart to this world. That is a spiritually dangerous condition. But God can use kairos moments of sacrifice to transfer our allegiance from the kingdom of the world to another one. That’s why Jesus said that our hearts follow our money (Matt 6:21). He was giving us a strategy to force our hearts away from this world: Give! Or, as Mark Driscoll says, “The primary purpose of giving is not that God would get the money out of our pockets, but that he would get the idols out of our hearts.”