Early in this Chapter, God tests Abraham by demanding his son of promise, Issac. God was refining Abraham’s character by commanding his loyalty and charging him to live in obedience. Anytime God tests us it’s for our ultimate benefit and good. Testing and sacrifice are just part of our journey towards self-discipline and holiness. Sacrifice is offering back to God the only thing I have to give… a love-gift of myself…of giving the best I have to the One I love the most.
To be a Christian in the world today is to be like a lamb among the wolves. We’re bombarded by carnality, violence, and deception everywhere we look. This is why Jesus directed His disciples to go out into the world using practical common sense…and using wisdom to maintain a pure ethical character no matter who or what they encountered. But nor were they to be gullible and naive in their worldly interactions. As Believers, we too are called to a Godly influence in the world…but not be influenced and so seduced by it.
Jesus spoke of this glory in John 17:22, when He said, “I have given them the glory that You gave Me that they may be one as we are one.” When we become Christians, we undergo a spiritual transformation…a invisible process, a metamorphosis if you will, where our very character is changed. And by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit we become a mirror, reflecting Jesus to others. But you’ll also notice that this Scripture says we are “being” transformed with “ever-increasing” glory…which means His work in us will never be completely done until that day we meet Him face to face.
A Holy Spirit empowered ministry is bold and fearless. Psalm 138:3 says, “You made me bold and stout-hearted.” And this Scripture is so true…for under our own power we’re nothing but scaredy-cats. It’s the Holy Spirit that endows our soul, spirit, and self with confidence and courage. It’s the Holy Spirit that gives us the trust to place our total dependence and hope on God alone.
Correction…from our real fathers or our Heavenly Father can be hard, but necessary for our growth. Just as our earthly father shapes our character, our Heavenly Father shapes our spiritual character. Both have our best interest at heart and want only the greatest for us.