December 30, 2012 - Have you ever failed as a disciple of Jesus Christ? The new year is a wonderful time to begin again.
by Anne Graham Lotz
In all of human history, few names are greater than that of Abraham—the father of the Jews, the father of the Arabs and the father of faith for Christians. Yet Abraham's life, again and again, was marked by failure. The reason we associate Abraham with faith and friendship with God is that when he failed, he didn't quit. He began again.
Read Genesis 12:1-13:4
After the Choice to Pursue Knowing God
- From the following verses, describe who Abraham was when God first called him: Genesis 11:26-27; Joshua 24:2-4; Acts 7:2.
- Of all the people living on planet Earth at the time, why do you think God called Abraham? See Genesis 18:18-19; Deuteronomy 7:7-8; Proverbs 8:17; and Jeremiah 29:13.
- Relate Abraham's calling to your calling. Consider the following verses: Ephesians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13;
1 Peter 1:2, 2:9.
The Choice Is Personal
- Count the personal pronouns in Genesis 12:1-3. What do they tell you about God's call to Abraham and Abraham's choice to respond?
- Read Matthew 4:19 and 16:24-26, inserting your own name for the personal pronouns.
- When did you reject living an apathetic, complacent, pew-warming type of Christian life and make the choice to pursue knowing God by your own experience? Give the approximate date and describe the circumstances surrounding your choice.
The Choice Is Powerful
- How did Abraham's choice change his life? Relate this choice to John 3:36 and 5:24.
- How did Abraham's choice enrich his life? See Genesis 12:2-3. Relate this to John 10:10 and Ephesians 1:3.
- What veiled promise did God give to Abraham in the last phrase of Genesis 12:3? See Galatians 3:16 and John 8:56-58. How is this promise given to you in a spiritual sense? Read 1 John 3:2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18.
- How has the choice to pursue God changed your life? Enriched your life?
After the Commitment to Pursue Knowing God
The Commitment to Walk
- Restate the command God gave to Abraham in Genesis 12:1. Give the three phrases that indicate Abraham's obedience to that command in Genesis 12:4-5.
- How old was Abraham when he followed through on his commitment to pursue God?
- Do you think you are too old to begin a lifetime commitment? Too young? Too busy? Too poor?
- What do you learn from the following people who also walked with God? See Genesis 5:21-24 with Hebrews 11:5; Genesis 6:9 with Hebrews 11:7; Luke 24:13-27.
- What special promise is given in 1 John 1:7 to those who walk with God?
The Commitment to Worship
- What do you think the altar could represent in Genesis 12:7-8?
- In what way could you build an "altar" today? See 1 Chronicles 16:29; Romans 12:1; Matthew 6:5-6; Psalm 63:1; Habakkuk 2:1.
- How does God desire to be worshiped today? See John 4:23-24. Does your worship satisfy His desire?
After the Collapse of the Pursuit to Know God
- What circumstance seemed to trigger Abraham's wandering away from where God had led him? How can this same circumstance occur in our lives spiritually?
- Was Abraham operating under God's direction? What decision have you made without prayer?
- What phrase indicates Abraham thought going to Egypt was a small, insignificant, temporary decision?
- What was Abraham worried about? Were his fears legitimate?
- What are you worried about? What does God say about worry in Matthew 6:25-34 and Philippians 4:6?
We Do Wrong
- How did Abraham's worry lead him into wrongdoing? How has your worry led you to sin?
- Describe the suffering that resulted from Abraham's sin. Who has suffered as a result of your sin?
- Do you think sin is ever confined exclusively to one person, or does it affect others? Give examples from your own life.
- Have you ever been rebuked by a non-Christian for something you should not have done? Describe how you felt.
- Which phrases indicate that Abraham profited from his sin? Do you think the wealth Abraham acquired in Egypt was a sign of God's blessing? See Genesis 13:5-7, 16:1-6.
Has sin led to suffering that has led to shame that has led to a substitute for God's blessing in your life? Are you painfully aware of your failures in the past? Then ...
Come Back to the Cross
- What phrase indicates Abraham was searching for God?
- After leaving Egypt, where did Abraham end up? What was the significance of this place in Abraham's life?
- What do you think the altar represented to Abraham at this stage? See Isaiah 6:5-7, 44:22, 55:7; Jeremiah 3:22, 24:7; Colossians 1:20, 2:14.
- Repentance means to turn around, to stop sinning, to change your mind. What evidence is there that Abraham truly repented?
- Write out a prayer as you choose to return to the Cross and repent of your sin. See Psalm 51 for help.
- As you return to the Cross in repentance of sin, give phrases that encourage you from 1 John 1:7-9; Ephesians 1:7; Psalm 103:12; Psalm 32:1-5.
Has your whole journey collapsed into miserable failure? Then celebrate this new year by beginning again. Come back to the Cross. Come back to Jesus.
Are you sure of your salvation?
Follow the Steps to Peace online to recommit your life to Jesus.