3 Practical Activators That Allow Faith to Release Your Blessing
By Samuel Lee Bowman
When we think of Abraham we think of faith. The problem is once you define faith a certain way then Abraham’s life is always viewed through that lens, and the problem with that is revelation stops flowing through his story because we cycle round and round the same old points. Pretty soon our eyes gloss over the story, our minds rush through the story, and our faith doesn’t grow because God’s fresh, transforming voice into our hearts goes silent. If faith comes by hearing we need to turn our spiritual hearing aids back on and get a fresh word, right?
So let’s turn the hearing aid up in Genesis chapter twelve through eighteen by looking at three things:
- The usual view of Abraham’s life
- A new definition of faith
- Three outer actions that reveal inner position
We’ll finish by tying the three together to reveal a new, vibrant understanding of what faith is and how to use it to break strongholds and move forward in your vision.
The Usual View of Abraham’s Life
Here’s the usual story points on Abraham:
- God speaks to Abram
- He messes up with his handmaiden
- He has trouble with Lot
- Sarah laughs at God
- Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed
- Names are changed
- Sara and Abraham finally have a child
- Abraham’s faith is credited to him as righteousness
- Faith is the substance of things hoped for
All these points are accurate, but we are cycling through the same old points and we need need God’s fresh voice that breaks the strongholds in your life. So let’s look for a radical, new definition of what faith is.
A New Definition of Faith
Most Christians define faith by quoting the scripture, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1), but have no practical definition.
Let’s define faith in this applicable way: Faith is a position before God, that you take by choice, based on two things: 1) What you think God is really like (which is the substance), and 2) What you are convinced God will actually do (which is the evidence).
Two Positions – One Weakens Faith, One Builds Faith
There are two positions you can take before God and the one you choose determines how powerful and effective your faith works.
Position one is a law position. In this position:
- God is really big, way beyond me and distant
- He is approached only by being pleased
- I must please Him by keeping all His rules
- I can’t keep all the rules, so He is hard to please
- Because I am flawed He must judge me
- I will always be making mistakes
- His favor comes only after I am perfected by trial
- What I will get from God is unpredictable
In this position if you do not please God and get in His good favor He won’t cause you to be blessed. As a result the faith of the believer is weakened because they must, like Abram, find their way to blessing through their own effort.
Position two is a grace based position and it looks like this:
- God is very close and approachable
- God is approached based on how Jesus pleases God, not how I please God
- Jesus always keeps all the rules for me, so God is always pleased with me
- God doesn’t not see my flaws, because Jesus was judged for me in my place
- None of my mistakes matter because Jesus is perfect for me
- Trials aren’t necessary because Jesus took all the trials for me, His perfection is my perfection
- I can safely predict that God will bless me because Jesus’s blessing is my blessing and He is always blessed because He is always perfect before God on my behalf
Which ever position your faith is based in will absolutely effect how you act in your relationship with God and in your life choices, especially when the pressure is on.
Three Outer Actions That Reveal Inner Position
There are three outer actions that reveal whether law or grace is your default inner position:
Now open your Bible, reread Genesis chapter twelve through eighteen and look for these three being put into operation in Abraham. What new insights jump off the page? In Chapter twelve was he a man of courage? Was he tenacious in his belief that God would do what He said He would do? Did he treat the people around him with integrity?
The Pressure That Brings Transformation
Right after God’s first word there came pressure in the form of a famine. This fallen world will always challenge the believer, who has received a promise from God, to persistently stand in the promise. Was faith bounteous in Abraham at this point or was there a famine of faith in his heart? The outer famine of the land revealed the inner famine of Abraham’s heart.
Since Abraham’s world is your world this same pattern will happen to you; promise, pressure and position. How you position yourself before God in the pressure determines how effective your faith will be in moving you toward your promise.
While Jesus has totally provided for your blessing it remains as a legal contract until it is pulled into the real world by the strength of your faith and that grows only as your understanding of your grace contract grows. The process of growth in Abraham’s faith was a process that took twenty five years. You must learn to let the Holy Spirit teach you and transform you from the inside out, however long it takes. Move your faith up faster by increasing your understanding of your grace contract!
The next pressure came when Abraham had to expose his most precious commodity, his beautiful wife, who would be the conduit for his blessing, to powerful and unscrupulous people who could force him to do anything they wanted. Under this pressure was Abraham tenacious in his belief that God would do what He said? That inner condition was revealed in how he failed to treat Pharaoh with integrity. Under pressure Abraham lied.
A New Abraham Emerges
By chapter eighteen we see Abraham dealing with Lot in a whole new way than he did with Pharaoh. He gives Lot the choice and leaves his own fate in God’s hands. Abraham has grown! Then we see him talking with God about the sinful cities in a whole new type of conversation, revealing a new understanding of what God was really like, and therefore how he can be interacted with. This reveals a whole new outlook in Abraham about how God treats people; not harshly, but with love, kindness, patience and forgiveness.
It is after Abraham has changed his inner position before God that he then excels in outer action as revealed in the big three of keys to success. He has the courage to let Lot choose. He shows tenacity in his negotiation over the sinful cities. His integrity is revealed in how he deals with the visiting high priest. Now God puts His original promise on a timeline saying Sarah will have a baby “about this time next year.” All this after twenty five years.
This twenty five year period does not reveal Abraham’s shortcomings, but God’s long suffering. This extended period of time is not about who Abraham isn’t. It’s about who God is. God is kind, patient and very gracious and will never give up on you. He is willing to put in the time, never, ever rejecting you, as you work to act out your faith and falter. Instead He is working with you to mature you until you can face the pressure with courage, stand persistently under pressure with tenacity and challenge the pressure with integrity, God has now created in you someone he can use to redeem a fallen world.
In Hebrews chapter eleven’s list of world changers we consistently see all three: unusual courage, dogged tenacity and uncompromising integrity. He has given you your vision to send you to into the battle and He has set these three as the tools to make transfers from his storehouse into your life. Your understanding of your grace covenant allows you to go for it without reservation, knowing God will always forgive and cause everything, even your mistakes, to work for your good and allow you to break strongholds, move forward in God’s vision for your life and become a world changer.