- All of us are capable of looking forward and anticipating things. Unfortunately, we are more prone to anticipate negative things rather than positive ones. We have become habitually pessimistic.
- Faith is about anticipation also. In contrast to what we normally do, faith teaches us to anticipate the goodness of God instead.
- The faith that can truly celebrate knows how to anticipate! Hebrews 11:8-12 and 17-19 teaches us this principle.
- How can we learn how to anticipate? We need to let go of four obstacles.
LETTING GO OF FOUR OBSTACLES
1. Let go of *certainty*.
8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
There’s nothing wrong with certainty per se. When we are planning to do something, it’s good to think about various possibilities. But sometimes we can be so fearful of the unknown that we cannot venture forward by faith. To develop faith that can anticipate, we often need to let go of our need to be certain of everything.
2. Let go of *comfort*.
9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
We all want what is familiar and comfortable. But often to develop faith, we must learn to go outside of our comfort zone. Many times God allows circumstances in our lives that challenge us to go beyond what we normally consider as safe.
3. Let go of *considerations*.
11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she[b] considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
The ability to consider things as either being logical or not is a gift from God. We should use it. But sometimes God wants us to go beyond what is humanly possible to experience the possibility and reality of God’s power. Faith is often illogical, but it is never unreasonable.
4. Let go of *control*.
17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
We always want to control the outcome of various things in our lives. That’s why we have the tendency to be afraid or worried about so many things. To develop faith, God wants us to let go of control. He wants us to surrender completely to His will so that we can experience His peace.
Turning Point: “Faith that can truly *celebrate* knows how to *anticipate*.”
GROUP DISCUSSION (30 minutes)
- Which of the four obstacles do you find it hard to let go of?
- In what area of your life do you need to let go of an obstacle to faith?
- What will you do this week to start letting go to trust God more?