“The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan” Genesis 12.1-4.
It is this type of faith we see embodied in Abram –soon to be Abraham- and Sara –soon to be Sarah- as they leave everything to follow where God leads to a new land and place to dwell, and in doing so wove faith and obedience into the DNA of God’s people. Abra(h)am and Sara(h) were faith-filled pioneers –pilgrims- and parents of the Jewish nation, people with the promise of God.
Yet Abra(h)am and Sara(h) didn’t just ‘take the plunge’ but walking in continued on-going obedience saying ‘yes’ to God with every step and their lives were marked by a nomadic existence following where God called and led them.
Abra(h)am and Sara(h) people were people who heard and heeded the voice of God and followed him. Jesus calls his disciples to ‘come and follow me’. God want followers.
Yet as Christians we have been keener to be believers, people who are orthodox in their thinking, and whilst it is good to be ‘sound’ too often we are ‘doctrinally sound’ but practically ‘sound asleep’. Whilst I am passionate about Orthodox doctrine (right thinking), I am equally passionate about Orthopraxis living (right living), faith is not just believing the right stuff and having a historical story, but rather faith should be a daily personal reality.
When I do a pastoral visit a question I often ask is “what is God doing in your life at the moment?” My grandfather used to talk about coming forward at Billy Graham in 1952, and ‘prayed the prayer’, yet the Christian faith is not a one off event but a daily ‘yes’ to God stepping out into obedience with him, the big question is “what did you do with your faith since 1952?”
Faith causes us to follow God, faith is putting one foot in front of the other and living differently, being different, faith calls and causes us to change and be change.
Abra(h)am and Sara(h) it was faith lived out in following God’s voice and call. They didn’t just believe in God –a mental ascent to a belief in his existence, or a nod to some doctrinal tick box or other- but they were followers of God, through-out their lives and in every circumstance, well almost every circumstance
I long for us –both as individual Christians- and together as the Church of Jesus Christ to rediscover our faith-infused DNA, our spiritual heritage of radical obedience and to live it out like Abram and Sara and the rest of the people we read of in the discipleship hall of fame in the letter to the Hebrews who “walked by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor.5.7) discovering: “now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Heb.11.1).