In the Old Testament, people demonstrated a close, personal relationship with God by separating themselves physically from friends, family, and home. Abraham “obeyed and went,” leaving everything behind. Today, the separation God asks of us is more of a mental and moral separation. We must maintain a radically different mindset from those who do not have a personal relationship with him, even if they happen to be our nearest and dearest. “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother,” Jesus said, “such a person cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26).

As disciples, we are called to walk by faith. Faith never knows where it is being led, but it knows and loves the One who is leading. It is a life of faith, not of intellect and reason. It is a life of knowing the One who sends us out. The root of faith is knowledge of a person—Jesus Christ himself. One of the biggest traps we fall into is the idea that God will surely lead us to worldly success. He will surely lead us into a personal relationship with Jesus. That is his measure of success.

The final stage of the life of faith is the development of our character. There are many moments in our walk with God when we feel our character being transformed. We might feel God’s blessings wrap around us when we pray, and for a moment we are changed. Then we go back to the ordinary days and ways and the sense of glory vanishes. The life of faith isn’t a life of mounting up with wings but a life of walking and not fainting (Isaiah 40:31). It isn’t a question of sanctification but of something infinitely greater: of faith that has been tried and has stood the test. This was the faith of Abraham, a tried-and-tested faith built on a real God. “Abram believed the Lord” (Genesis 15:6).

Wisdom from Oswald

Am I getting nobler, better, more helpful, more humble, as I get older? Am I exhibiting the life that men take knowledge of as having been with Jesus, or am I getting more self-assertive, more deliberately determined to have my own way? It is a great thing to tell yourself the truth. The Place of Help, 1005 R