No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,
— Romans 4:20
The apostle Paul, author of the book of Romans, is talking about Abraham. He references Abraham for his exceptional faith. Faith is a verb, an action word. Abraham acted out his faith in ways that pleased God and he was blessed. Faith is not a feeling. It is the daily act of choice to believe God at his word, despite worldly circumstances.
Abraham was well past the time when men fathered children when his wife, Sarah, delivered Isaac. Abraham believed God and acted in faith, despite all natural evidence to the contrary. He could not see the evidence of God’s faithfulness until Sarah became pregnant, but he chose to believe none the less.
Faith is a daily process — a journey, not a destination. Paul says Abraham “grew strong in his faith,” which tells us two things. First, Abraham’s faith needed work over time. Secondly, he was successful in strengthening his faith. The same is true for us today. Our faith needs work, from the time we accept Christ into our hearts to the moment we take our last breath. Along the way, our faith is strengthened as we see evidence of God’s work in our lives and those around us.
How is faith strengthened? Faith is strengthened by focusing on what God has said in his word, instead of what can be seen, heard or felt in our circumstances. Remember, faith is not a feeling. Feelings lie. Faith is choosing to believe God, regardless of what you experience.
Abraham’s faith was deeply tested when God asked him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. God, without warning or reason, told Abraham to take Isaac on a three-day trip and, upon arriving, sacrifice him to the Lord on an altar he had to build. The pain, confusion and anguish Abraham must have experienced in those three days is unimaginable. Abraham was not aware of God’s ultimate plan. He did not have an explanation or a reason for what God was asking. It was by all accounts unbearable and unreasonable. But as Paul says in verse 20 that Abraham gave glory to God and did what he was asked. God later explained to Abraham that he was not asking “for” Isaac but asking “of” Abraham. He was asking Abraham for total surrender. Because of Abraham’s faith, we experience God’s blessing even today.
It is unlikely that God will ask the same of us as he asked of Abraham, but there will be times, maybe even today, when circumstances are hard or do not make sense. Believe God’s word and his promises. Your faith will grow stronger, and you will see God at work doing only what he can.