At some point, every Christian hits a wall in their journey with Jesus-- a crisis that’s beyond your control. But in His mercy, God can use that wall or situation to transform your character to be more like Christ! Abraham faced a wall in Genesis 22:1-18 when God tested his faith. Maybe your “wall” is a difficult divorce or a longing unfulfilled. Or maybe your spiritual wall is anxiety, depression, or a season where it just feels like God isn’t speaking. When hard times strike, our instincts sometimes are to go around the tough stuff. But Jesus leaves an open invitation to take his hand and journey through the wall. On the other side, you may just discover a closer, deeper, and more mature walk with God.
THE EXAMPLE OF ABRAHAM AND ISAAC
In the book of Genesis, we see that Abraham hit a lot of walls in his walk with God. First, God called him to leave his home country and go to a new land. Then Abraham and his wife Sarah faced a years-long struggle with infertility. Later, Abraham had to send his son Ishmael away. But the hardest wall of all was in Genesis 22, where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his miracle child, Isaac.
You see, Isaac was the answer to Abraham and Sarah's prayers after decades of infertility. In Old Testament times, people would take a spotless lamb - something that was innocent - and slaughter it as a sacrifice of atonement for sin. This was an acknowledgement of sin before God and the desire for a renewed relationship with God. Basically, sacrifices were the way people expressed worship. However, it was out of character for God to ask Abraham to sacrifice his child, Isaac. We see in the Scripture in Genesis that God was actually testing Abraham to see if he loved God more than his long-awaited child, Isaac. In the end, God stopped Abraham, blessed him for his faith, and provided a ram to sacrifice in Isaac's place.
THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE
The story of Abraham and Isaac is a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of Jesus, who takes away the sins of the world. See, God didn't want Isaac to die - but he wanted to see if Abraham would sacrifice him in his heart. God didn't just provide an alternative sacrifice to Abraham: He also provided his own son, Jesus, as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.
What is something God might be asking you to sacrifice in your heart? Is there something in your life that has grown larger in your heart than your love for God alone? Consider whether you have an unhealthy attachment that God wants to free you from. See, God wants to grow us, his followers, from a childish faith to a mature faith. Then, we can follow God even when we can't quite see what he's doing. Then, when we hit walls in our faith journey, we can learn to surrender and stick with Jesus when everything inside us wants to throw in the towel.
THE CHRIST JOURNEY
The truth is, we all go through a journey of about 6 stages in our faith journeys. Pete Scazzero, Janet Hagberg, and Bill and Kristi Gaultiere have called these stages The Christ Journey, and they are outlined below:
- Confidence In Christ: This is the first stage when you become a new believer. Your heart is awakened with faith in a fresh way.
- Help From Others: At this point, new believers join a local church family. You realize that your journey with Jesus requires help from brothers and sisters in community.
- Role In Ministry: In this stage, Christians begin identifying their gifts and talents to start serving in ministry. This is where you develop a heart to actively serve others.
- Inner Journey: This stage comes on the other side of a wall in your faith walk. This is where you move beyond surface-level faith and travel to deeper faith through pain, confusion and uncertainty.
- Surrender To The Spirit: Here, you learn to pray Jesus' prayer of surrender in the Garden of Gethsemane: "Not my will, but Yours be done." (Luke 22:41-42). You release your control and come to a place of full surrender to Christ.
- Transformed By Love: This last stage is where the perfect love of God has driven out all fear, and you can trust Him to provide in all circumstances.
These stages of The Christ Journey may not be a one-time journey in your life. You may go through these stages at multiple times in your life. In fact, the last and final stage of being transformed by God's love is ongoing and will not be finished in our time on Earth - but rather, only once we are finally home with Jesus and see Him face to face will we truly become transformed as He is.
As you learn how to develop an Emotionally Healthy Spirituality in your life and relationships, we pray the Holy Spirit will spark a spiritual revolution of healing in your life and home. To continue learning, check out the below additional content from Liquid Church:
- ARTICLE: Know Yourself To Know God - Many Christians fail to examine their inner world and thoughts. However, you cannot become spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature. Click here to read the article on The Liquid Blog.
- ARTICLE: How Family Dynamics Impact You - God's choice to birth you into the family you grew up in has a huge impact on who you are. Do you know how your family dynamics impact who you are today as a follower of Christ? Click here to read the article on The Liquid Blog.