Character determines how a person interprets God’s will. When Abraham received the command to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering, Abraham interpreted it to mean that God wanted Isaac put
to death; he was convinced of it. And yet when God sent an angel to stay his hand, Abraham obeyed. This is the great point of Abraham’s faith: he was prepared to do anything for God, even something that went against his own beliefs. If Abraham had placed his beliefs over his devotion to God, he would have slain Isaac, then claimed that the voice of the angel who came to stop him was the voice of the devil (Genesis 22:11). That is the reasoning of a fanatic.

It took the pain of a tremendous ordeal to set Abraham right. God couldn’t purify his faith in any other way. If we obey what God says according to our sincere beliefs, God will break us from beliefs that misrepresent him. There are many traditional beliefs that misrepresent God—for instance, the belief that God permits the death of a child because the mother loves the child too much. This is a devil’s lie, and a travesty of the true nature of God.

If we remain true to God, he will lead us straight through every barrier into the inner chamber of knowledge of himself. The devil will always try to hold us back. There will always be a point along the way where we must give up sincere beliefs and traditions. Don’t ask God to test you. Don’t declare that you’ll never fail him. Abraham didn’t make declarations. He simply remained true to God, and God purified his faith.

Wisdom from Oswald

We are only what we are in the dark; all the rest is reputation. What God looks at is what we are in the dark—the imaginations of our minds; the thoughts of our heart; the habits of our bodies; these are the things that mark us in God’s sight.  The Love of God—The Ministry of the Unnoticed, 669 L