“The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to reflect their inner beliefs.” — James Lane Allen

Hebrews 11
James 2:14-26
Genesis 12:1-5
Genesis 13:14-18
Genesis 15:1-21

Belief produces. Though we cannot see, touch, or hear belief, we see the results it yields. Those results are the decisions and deeds that form our lives.

Look at Abraham.

Called by a God he couldn’t see to a land he’d never known, Abraham went. He left his family in search of a vague promise about blessings and curses. God didn’t even tell him where he was leading him.

He simply said, “Go to the land that I will show you.” Abraham found the land inhabited.

Then God said, “It’s for your offspring.” But Abraham had no children, and he and his wife had grown very old.

Still, Abraham believed. He trusted God’s promise about a future child.

When Abraham walked through the deserts, God told him the land ahead would belong to his descendants. He believed this a good thing. He then heard God tell him he’d have a son – with his wife, Sarah. She had grown old with Abraham; she couldn’t bear children. Of all the promises he’d heard, this sounded the most absurd. Sarah laughed.

When the son arrived, Abraham rejoiced. Maybe he rejoiced more at this birth because he saw a promise fulfilled. Exultant, he named this son Isaac, meaning “laughter.”

And then God seemingly reneged. He told Abraham to give back his son, to sacrifice him. He’d lived his entire life on promises, like a man stepping on stones to cross a river. Believing in their sturdiness, he proceeded, step by step. He’d stumbled at times in his humanity. But he’d believed for so long, he felt he could somehow obey once more.

With his killing knife set to plunge into his son’s chest, Abraham heard God tell him to spare the boy. What God wanted, he said, was to see that Abraham wouldn’t withhold his son from him. He’d brought the man this far, with Abraham living off the land and words from God: could he believe God with what was closest to his heart?

True belief, not mere assent, nudges us to decide and do. Will I really believe he’ll provide if I take this job? When he says, “Wait,” will I? Even though my life appears shattered? Will I speak when asked about my friendship with Jesus? Will I still love him when sickness and pain and loss strike me? Or worse, one I love? Will I give what’s closest to my heart if he asks for it?

These represent some of what our belief asks of us. But if we believe, belief yields results, and what we choose shows the depth of our belief. Belief leads our feet to the stones of Jesus’ promises. One foot after another, as God did with Abraham, he will guide each of us across our own river.

What decision have I made based on belief in the last day, week, month, year?
What decision have I made based on doubt or fear in that time?
What is the one thing I don’t believe?  That he’ll provide?  That he knows where my road goes? That he’s in control?  That he loves my loved ones?  That he’ll give his Spirit? 


© 2006