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The First Mark of Faith

February 6, 2020

Without weakening in his faith, [Abraham] faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Romans 4:19 (NIV)

If we didn’t know God, we might be tempted to think that God is mocking Abraham and Sarah. There they are—candidates for the nursing home—and God is talking to them about children!

But God was not mocking them. When God calls His people to something impossible, it is so that He will be glorified in the way that it comes about.

Remember, God is using the story of Abraham and Sarah as an illustration for us. What does God say to us today? What is His calling for our lives? “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:16). Jesus explained this: “Be perfect… as your heavenly father is perfect” (Mat. 5:48). When God says this, the response of faith is not to say, “I’ll do it, Lord, or I’ll die trying.” You will die trying! Faith faces the facts. Faith says, “This is beyond me.”

If you set your heart on being the perfect parent, you will kill yourself trying. Trying to be the perfect parent does not come from faith! Perfectionism is always a sign of the absence of faith, because the first mark of faith is to face the reality of one’s own condition.

When Christ says, “Be perfect,” He is not mocking you. He is bringing you to face the reality of your own condition. He is calling you to something impossible, so that He may be glorified in the way that it comes about.

Do you struggle with perfectionism? Ask God to help you face the fact that you cannot do what He calls you to do. Tell Him, “I cannot be god. You alone are God. Cut the roots of pride out of my life and help me to be holy.”

The Author
Colin Smith

Colin Smith is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the president and teacher for Unlocking the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.

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