Many people know the story of Abraham. Although we know of at least some of his weaknesses (anxious and fearful), we also know that God used him in great ways. Seeing Abraham’s transformation from being a self reliant man to a more God-reliant man gives me a sense of hope.
I have weaknesses just like Abraham did, and let’s admit it, many heroic figures in the bible also had many weaknesses as well. However, we live in a world that feeds us many lies.
The world defines success and heroes in one way, making it seem that to be successful or heroic, one has to have little or no weaknesses and maybe it can give people a sense that we can’t grow and change. This is a big deception.
Abraham’s story helps us understand that we can indeed change. But we cannot do it just by some emotional decision or reading self help books. The way to change is by living in God’s presence.
So what does it mean to live in God’s presence?
From Abraham’s example, it means seeing life in all relation to him (God), looking to him, and him alone as Commander, Defender, and Rewarder (from the book: Knowing God). Genesis 15:1 says “Do not be afraid Abraham, I am your shield, your very great reward”.
WOW! Think about these words, meditate on what this says! God knew Abraham was afraid, in fact, Abraham for so many years of his life, lived in fear! But God comes and comforts him with these words, this assurance of who He is. The best part? God says that he is Abraham’s shield and Abraham’s great reward. God makes it so personal!
In my life I have had experiences, both growing up, and as an adult, that have developed in me some fears. I think we can all relate to this to some degree. I have learned the value of relying more on God and relying less on myself. Over the past year, I have seen more of God’s presence in my life. Does this mean that God was not present before? No, of course not. However my eyes have opened up so much more to seeing his presence.
As a parent, I have wanted to become a better mother to my boys, so I intentionally studied them and saw what made them feel more loved. I started being more intentional about making them feel more loved and more secure as well. Knowing their love languages has helped me give them more of what they need.
So how is this change for me? Simple. I am NOT the “mommy” type. It’s not natural for me to be very “nurturing and affectionate”. I also live a very busy life as a teacher and I work to be an excellent teacher so I give more of my time and effort to my job.
As much as I love what I do and see the good effects it has on my students, my main job is to be a good mother. I can’t ignore that. My boys are my priority and so I have made more changes that help me become what they need. Do I still have a long way to go? Yes, absolutely! But living in God’s presence has helped me in my ongoing transformation.
In other relationships the same is happening. Let’s take my dating relationship (recently engaged).
From the start, Fernando (my fiancee) and I decided to live in God’s presence as we began building our friendship. We wanted God to guide every step. We were willing to even give up the possibility that we would ever be more than just friends, if that’s what God made clear.
The road blocks we saw at first on our journey seemed very big. But we still prayed and we always redirected each other to trusting in God. We prayed constantly, both together and on our own. We did ask God for this desire in our heart, to one day be more than friends. However both of us asked this only if it was HIS will and not ours.
We didn’t know what would happen. Yet God’s presence in our walk started becoming so clear along the way. He opened up doors we didn’t even know were there! Yet God knew all along, that’s why He asks us to trust Him!
Today we’re seven months into our dating relationship (and just a few days from our recent engagement) and we still ask God to guide our steps. We not only ask God, but we seek scriptures and advice from friends in our lives that love us and want the best for us. We know that God speaks through the Holy Spirit so having our church family in our lives helps assure us that we don’t make “emotional and unwise” decisions.
I am very thankful for Abraham’s example. God can transform anyone! It’s just up to us to let Him do so.
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