Have you ever believed God but doubted His promises? You know He is powerful, but you are unsure of seeing it your life. We know the amazing sacrifice and miracle of His Son, Jesus, our Savior, who died and rose again giving us salvation. But when it comes to living this faith out amidst the struggles of life, we often forget that when God promises, He provides. It’s easy to live in our presence and power and neglect living in His.
It’s a constant battle between the human flesh and the Spirit of God.
As we continue to learn about Abram, God’s word states that “he believed the Lord, and the Lord credited it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). Abram obeyed God when He called him to leave his family and go to the land the Lord would show him. But along the way, Abram and his wife, Sarai had their doubts and missteps of faith.
In fear, when a famine hit the land, Abram took his family to Egypt; Abram lied about Sarai’s relationship to him, making her out to be his sister, not his wife; he did this to protect his own life.
With impatience, doubting God’s promise of a child, Sarai offers Hagar, her servant, to Abram as a wife so that she could bear a child for them.
This couple’s moments of fearful doubts created needless debacles in their lives.
Fibbing about one’s circumstance and anxiously taking matters into one’s hands is living in man’s power apart from God’s. As it has been said, “Unholy means do not meet a holy end.”
But in God’s love and His grace for Abram and Sarai, He reminds, reiterates, and reinforces His covenant with them in Genesis 17. But notice the first thing God commands Abram to do in verse one, “Live in My presence and be blameless” (Genesis 17:1).
The key to an unshakeable faith is to walk in step with God’s Spirit. Paul tells us, “walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other…” (Galatians 5:16-17). To walk by the Spirit is living in God’s presence.
We cannot trust God fearlessly on earth by walking according to our fleshly desires, human perspective, or limited resources. Jesus, Himself, said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). To remain in Jesus is living in God’s presence.
These are great truths, and most of us know them well if we have been in church for a long time. The question posed to us then is “What are some tangible steps we can take that enable us to walk in step with the Spirit and remain in Jesus?” I offer you three.
1. Move your faith from your head to your heart. I lose faith when what I believe about God remains cognitive. However, when my belief alters my passions, courage, and emotions, my heart is moved or stayed by power, not by uncertainty.
Even though God credited Abram’s faith as righteousness, Abram’s faith had not quite caught up to what his heart feared. Doubt is often the barrier to this transfer.
Making the detour to Egypt because of a famine in the land, he had a choice to move his faith from his head to his heart. If Abram had chosen to have heart faith, I think they would have never gone to Egypt in the first place. He would have remained where he was, trusting for God’s provision of food. Yes, even during a famine, God had enough power to provide all that Abram and Sarai needed.
What we know about faith in God is good, but faith from the heart sees and acts upon unseen realities. Heart faith believes God’s constant power is accessibly real!
2. Understand that you are a host for His Presence. Did you know that God’s power does not want to stay inside you? God wants it to be bold, loud, and visible. He has chosen you and me to host and reflect His presence! Therefore, trusting and living out what He has promised to do through you is to unleash Him to the world around you. Confirm His promises out loud. Share it with others. Then step forward in His calling. By your example, you create anticipation for others to watch what He will do in and through you. Do not settle for less than an active faith!
Sarai settled for less when she relegated the delivery of God’s promise to a humanmade possibility. There was no glory for God in this decision. She concealed His power and brought shame to His name. I wonder, “What would have happened if she had waited?”
3. Choose your influences wisely. Be around people with heart faith. I listen to and read writings by people who believe, wait for, and respond to God’s omnipotent power. And they inspire me to live in the same way.
I can sense when someone is not living in God’s ability. Their lack of faith in God frustrates the Holy Spirit living inside me. They create such an unsettled feeling; I walk away from them knowing God is more than what they offer. Sometimes I can’t pinpoint what it is they are doing or saying that indicates a lack of faith; I just sense an emptiness about them.
On the other hand, I can also sense the wonder and glory of our God from those who genuinely live out God’s presence. God’s power exudes from their being. You can feel it!
These people make our difficult circumstance small and remind us of how vast and mighty God is. Our problems may not immediately go away, but our hope in God’s omnipotence elevates to its rightful place. We know, that we know, God is at work above, around, and in us!
We cannot end this post without noting the second part of the command God gave Abram, “and be blameless.” The word blameless does not mean perfection. To be blameless is the by-product of living in God’s presence. It means to be whole. It is only in God’s presence that we are fully satisfied and unshakably complete.