Sunday, June 29, 2008

Genesis 22 - We change.

The things I struggle with most are not usually external. I rarely have to grapple with an opponent in my driveway on the way to work. In most situations, I am at the top of the food chain and do not have to fear tiger, crocodile or wolverine attack. My career is not all that dependent on the weather. External challenges, although present at times, are not what holds me back. It's the internal I struggle with most.

The thoughts of inadequacy. The feelings of doubt or shame or frustration. It's mindsets that I often wage battle with. Internal beliefs that hold me back from experiencing the true freedom of Christ. Quiet lies on the inside that say I'm not good enough or that God's forgiveness has a limit. And sometimes when I lose against these thoughts for the thousandth time, I wonder if I will ever change. Is that even possible?

Genesis chapter 22 says it is.

This is the chapter in which God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. This was not the first time we have seen God say something crazy to Abraham. In chapter 15 He promised him an incredible future. And when he did, Abraham expressed some doubt.

At one point in that chapter, when told he would possess the land, Abraham asked, "O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?"

He had questions, doubts, internal battles he was losing when God spoke to him. But do you know what Abraham asked in chapter 22 when God told him to kill Isaac? Nothing.

He didn't say a word. He got a knife. He got his son. He got moving.

That is a dramatic change in character worth noting. As recent as chapter 16, Abraham was not trusting in God to provide and was instead going along with his wife's plan and sleeping with Hagar to extend the family line. So how is he so different in this chapter? How when God promises him something good in chapter 15 does he show doubt, but when God asks him to do something horrible in chapter 22 he says "here I am" and "God will provide?" What changed Abraham?

God did. He is the only one that can ultimately sustain life long change. I've changed a million things in my life temporarily, but the things I really struggle with, the big, gross struggles, those are so slippery when I try to do it myself. They just take a different shape. When I try to fix lust by myself, I just start working too much. When I try to not be a workaholic, I start finding other ways for approval or affirmation. When I get my approval issues under control, my feeling of inadequacy shape shifts back into lust and nothing really changes.

But Abraham did, in a big way. And God doesn't change, so it's not crazy to think that the same attitude change, the same heart transformation that Abraham experienced, is possible for me and it is possible for you.

You might think you'll never be a good dad or love your husband the way you should or be comfortable being single for the rest of your life, but people change. Or rather, God changes people and as difficult as that is to believe sometimes, it's true.


vanilla said...

"God changes people." The crux of the matter, and Praise God for that.

Keep up the good fight.

toni-tone said...

living here. psalm 77

thanks for more salve for a deeply painful, but good, season.

keep following His lead.

Anonymous said...

Powerful stuff!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. I know that the more I try to control things, it's like trying to hold water in the palm of my hand. It's hard to wait until God makes all the transformations so I can have all things well and balanced. It's hard to keep reminding ourselves that there's nothing good in our own power that we can do.

Ne'er-Do-Good said...

Amen. Hallelujah!

Trina said...

All I can say to this is wow. Fantastic. You have to get a book deal! But in God's time...

I read this earlier this year and this thought never occurred to me. I only noticed that he didn't hesitate as it says he rose early the next morning. But I didn't think about the change that occurred in him between these chapters.

Love it. Love this blog. Even though I don't always comment, I read it everday.

Flesheater said...

as to the whole first part, I am the same exact way. all my major battles are inernal. as to the second part. amen. G-d can radically change men.