Passing the Test of Faith
Have you reached out to anyone this week, talked to anyone about what God is doing in your life or invited anyone to read the bible with you?
Alden preached this Sunday from one of the most famous stories of the bible, 'The Binding of Isaac.' Alden explored the important lessons we can learn from this incredibly difficult test that God gave Abraham.
What was the most difficult test you ever took? How did you prepare for it? How did you feel about it?
1. Throughout his trial Abraham demonstrated his willingness and readiness to face God's test. Alden gave us the chance to compare our attitudes towards tests with Abraham's. Often our attitudes about tests are determined by how prepared we are; even so, we rarely look forward to enduring struggles and suffering. God's word encourages us to respond to difficulties in an unexpected and supernatural way. Consider how the scriptures below can transform our attitudes about trials.
James 1:2-4 (New International Version)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
1 Peter 1:6-7 (New International Version)
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
According to these passages what kind of opportunities do trials provide us?
In your trials what kind of obstacles are easier for you to recognize as opportunities, and which are more difficult?
2. The key to passing any test is being well prepared. The good news for disciples is that in Christ God has fully prepared us for every trial, and he will not let us be tempted beyond anything we can bare. Read an example of this from Christ's arrest in John 18:7-9.
Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they said. Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.” This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
What test were the disciples unprepared for that He was protecting them from?
Are there trials that you faced as a younger disciple that prepared you for tests later in your life with Christ? Or, are there trials you've faced recently that you wouldn't have been prepared for earlier in your life?
Bringing it Home
To everyone's relief not only does Abraham pass his test, but Isaac is spared, and the promises to Abraham are fulfilled. Alden reminded us that we will prevail in our trials the same way that Abraham did: by trusting God completely. Faith isn't a virtue that we develop in ourselves. It's something God graciously gives us. We've talked about the things he has done to build our trust, but like Abraham he also strengthens us through his promises for the future. What promise of God do you cling to the most in your trials?
We were given an exciting challenge to record a prayer on a piece of paper and burn it on Memorial Day as a fragrant offering to God. Would you like to share that prayer tonight?