Picture this: Abraham, the father of faith, embarking on a journey of purpose, with every step, his divine path was becoming clearer before him. Yet, like all of us, his faith faced the crucible of testing. His experience invites us to explore our own journey of faith, for it’s not a question of “if” we’ll be tested, but “when”. When the test happens, where we focus our attention will determine our success in fulfilling our mission in life.
Three Areas to Focus On
1. Focus on God’s *instructions*, not on our emotions. (Genesis 21:1-21) – Sarah asked Abraham to get rid of his son Ismael. This distressed Abraham. But the Lord instructed him to listen to his wife, promising him that Ishmael would also become a nation. Often, it would be through our emotions, and especially our relationships, where we will be tested. Focusing on God’s instructions, and not on our emotions, will help us pursue our mission in life.
2. Focus on God’s *provisions*, not on our expectations. (Genesis 22:1-19) – After waiting for so long, God finally gave Abraham a son in his old age. All his expectations for the future are now resting on his son Isaac. But God tested him by asking him to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering on a mountain. What would happen if his son Isaac died? What would he do? In the same way, we will be tested to rely on God concerning all our expectations for the future. Remember, He will provide.
3. Focus on God’s *directions*, not on our inclinations. (Genesis 23:1-24:67) – After the death of Sarah, Abraham asked his servant to go back to his relatives in order to get a wife for his son. It would be more practical for Abraham to get a wife for his son among the people that he was already living with. But, by faith, he knew it would not be God’s will. So, he assured his servant of God’s guidance for his mission. In the same way, we must learn to listen to God’s directions, rather than our own inclinations, in order to fulfill our mission in life.
1. Central Idea: “Fulfilling your *mission* will require your focused *attention*.”
2. We will all be tested as we walk by faith toward the mission that God is calling us to fulfill. We must not trust in our emotions, expectations, and inclinations. Instead, we must focus on God’s instructions, provisions, and directions.
3. This week, ask yourself, “Am I really focusing on God’s purpose for my life? How am I handling my emotions, expectations, and inclinations that tend to sidetrack me?”
1. How can you relate to Abraham’s experience of facing tests in your own faith journey? Have you encountered situations where your faith was tested?
2. The sermon emphasizes focusing on God’s instructions, provisions, and directions. Share a personal experience where you had to rely on God’s guidance rather than your own emotions or expectations. How did it impact your journey?
3. In the story of Abraham and Isaac, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, which was a significant test of faith. How do you think you would react in a similar situation? How can we trust God’s provisions when faced with challenging circumstances?
4. The sermon mentions the importance of not trusting in our inclinations but instead seeking God’s directions for our mission in life. Can you share a situation where you had to discern between your own desires and what you believed God was leading you to do?
5. The conclusion encourages us to assess whether we are truly focusing on God’s purpose for our lives. How do you evaluate and maintain your focus on God’s mission amid life’s distractions and challenges? What practical steps can help with this?