I’ve caught myself thinking these exact statements lately. Such as: “If I could describe how I want my life, it would be those two words – Good. Balanced.” I want to be able to say that I’ve lived a good life. Or for someone to see how I live my life and say “what good balance she has in her life!” I have this internal struggle to externally have this perfect life. Naturally, it has drawn me to judging someone else’s life.
So I found myself diving deep into the story of Abraham. Let’s call him Abe. If you don’t know Abe, he was a man who was promised riches and descendants as many as the stars in the sky. He had a child with a woman who was not his wife, and then later had a child with his wife at the age of 100. He had this internal struggle for external security and control over the fulfillment of his promise from God. To summarize JI Packer’s evaluation of Abe – he offered up his own wife to a king on a couple of occasions, had little moral courage, was vulnerable to pressure, lacked strong principle, and had a deficient sense of responsibility. Spoiler Alert – he gets it all despite his, what I would consider, shortcomings.
What drove me to look into Abe’s life is what I read in Romans 4:20-25:
“20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”
Do you see what I’m seeing here? They said he didn’t waver, that he grew strong, and that it was his faith that was counted to him as righteousness! I don’t think Paul, the writer of these verses, heard the right story about Abe. Did Paul hear about how Abe took another woman to ensure he had descendants? Did Paul see where God promised Abe that He’d shield/protect him, and yet he feared the kings and offered up his wife to these men like a pimp?
What I failed to see in judging Abraham’s life, was that through all of this, he was learning what JI Packer calls the habit of walking with God. We see Abe learning to rest in God’s revealed will, relying on God, waiting on Him, bowing to His providence, and obeying Him even when it is the strangest of commands. We see Abe walking with God instead of doing the works of God.
This was a revelation to me despite the many, many times that I had heard his story – he learned to just be with God instead of doing for God.
I was listening to a podcast recently about perfectionism from Proverbs 31. The guest speaker stated “We’re human beings, not human doings.” BOOM. It all came together, why I was so drawn to Abe’s story.
Abraham learned to just BE with God, not DO for God.
As I go back to Romans, I have a new perspective of what it means that it wasn’t just for his sake that he was counted righteous, but for us too! It was for me, (selfish and narcissistic, I know, but I’m claiming it), to realize that it’s less about what I do to prove to the world that my life is good and balanced, and more to do with my walking with God.
So, that’s where you’re finding me – learning to walk with God. Am I good at it? No. Am I balancing real life with my walking with God well? No. Am I getting it right? Not all the time. Do I catch myself emphasizing the doing for Him instead of the being with Him? Yeah. BUT I’m learning the habit of trusting, resting, relying on, waiting on, bowing to His providence, and learning to obey when I hear His voice speak. I’m learning to just BE with Him, and less focused on doing for Him.