On Responding in Obedience

Genesis 12

I have always said, and continue to hold, that of everything pertaining to Abram, this serves to display his true undivided faith in the one true God above anything else from his life. Abram here is called by God to leave his country, to leave his kindred and his father’s house, and to “go to a place that I will show you.” And the Scripture tells us his response very plainly, “Then Abram departed as the Lord had told him.”

To fully grasp the power of this faith, we must consider that there was no Church, no Holy Scripture, no priest or pastor telling him God’s will. There was no one to help him discern what he must do, nor was there a precedent given forth by Holy Tradition. There was no “empirical evidence” of God’s existence, and, as he was ten generations removed from Noah (according to the genealogy in Genesis chapter 11; 942 years after the flood), he had neither witnessed any miracles nor had he received any promises from the Lord. And yet, like we see in future events, like the disciples when they were called, he obediently went when the Lord called. All based on his unwavering faith and trust in God.

See, especially in this generation and the last few preceding it, we are far too apt to allow our faith to be tainted by logic, by human wisdom. We arrogantly think that we are contemporary gnostics, with access to wisdom and understanding that was unavailable to our forefathers. The Lord calls us to go somewhere, to do something, and we make no allotment for this faith. We demand evidence. We demand our own agendas and goals be met. The Lord calls us to do something and we argue against that calling, ignoring the voice of the Lord and sacrificing His commands on the altars of our own desires. We tend much more often to place our own human desires on a pedestal and demand that God Himself bow down to us.

We see this lesson echoed in the gospels. As I stated, with each of the disciples, Jesus calls to them, “follow Me,” and those who so do unquestioningly are rewarded. Each of the disciples had lives, they had jobs, they had families, they had all of the same things that each of us have, and yet when they were called away, they did so with no delay. No arguments. No “theological debates” about whether they should obey or not. They were merely given a command and obeyed it, as they would have an earthly king. We, on the other hand, are far too often the man who wished to bury his father first. We say that we wish to follow Him, to obey Him, to make Him the Lord and Master of our lives, but constantly we willfully allow ourselves to be tethered to our old lives. We constantly turn back to the grindstone, unwilling to do that which we are commanded to do. To commend ourselves and our whole lives unto Christ our God.

We must instead look to Abram as the champion of our faith. If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation. The denial of self that Jesus speaks of is not metaphorical; our lives, our interests, everything about us is completely changed when we leave all to follow Christ. In our baptism, we experience death and are then resurrected into Christ. We must be fully willing to surrender everything and respond in faith when the Lord beckons us, rather than seeking excuses not to. It was not for nothing that the Lord admonishes us that “if any man love mother or brother or sister or father more than Me, he is not worthy of Me.” There can be nothing that we esteem more highly than our Lord, and when He beckons us, let us look to the disciples, let us look to Abram, and respond in faith.

Christ is in our midst.

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