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You can change your life! No matter who you are or what you're experiencing right now, that's good news. If you're living in glorious victory, you can go on to even greater glory. If you're living in defeat, you can turn it around. You don't have to live with lack. You don't have to live in mediocrity. You don't have to live in sickness. In Jesus Christ, you can change your condition!

How do you make those changes? By faith. I can almost hear you thinking, "Oh no, not faith!" Yes, faith! I don't care how many faith fanatics you've known, or how many faith failures you've heard about. Real, Bible faith is the most powerful force you'll ever apply to your circumstances. If you want to change the quality of your life, you're going to have to learn something about it. That's all there is to it.

One of the best ways to learn about faith is to study the life of Abraham. Except for the Lord Jesus Christ, no person in the Bible lived more fully by faith than Abraham did. When I think about Abraham's walk of faith, two words always leap up in my spirit. "Fully persuaded." Abraham was a man who was fully persuaded that God's promises were true. Paul said so in Romans 4:18-22. Speaking of Abraham, he wrote:

"Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness."

Like it or not, if you want to enjoy the promises of God in this life, you're going to have to receive them just as Abraham did: by becoming "fully persuaded." Partially persuaded won't do. Almost persuaded won't either. The marvelous promises of God will be yours when and only when you, like Abraham, become fully persuaded.

Consider healing for example. Are you so fully persuaded that God's promises are true concerning health and healing that if your doctor told you that you had cancer in your body, it wouldn't shake you? Are you fully persuaded that God is going to meet all your needs even when your company is downsizing? Would you greet news that the economy was entering another Great Depression with peace or panic?

I'm convinced most Christians are not fully persuaded about God's promises. That's why we have so many so-called "faith failures." Real faith never fails! But often, people get into trouble by trying to act on something when they're only partially persuaded.

How do you know when you're fully persuaded? The answer lies in the life of Abraham.
Verse 20 of the passage of Scripture we just looked at says that Abraham, "Staggered not at the promise of God." In some versions, the word "stagger" is translated waver. Abraham didn't waver at God's promise. Have you ever wavered at a promise in God's Word? When you're standing on a promise and some friend comes and tells you how terrible things are, do you feel yourself wavering a little? If so, you're not yet persuaded.

When you're confronted with a negative situation in your job or finances, do you consider the circumstances? Or are you, like Abraham, so focused on the reality of the promise of God that you don't even look at that impossible circumstance? If you consider those negative circumstances, you're not yet fully persuaded.

When human reason says there's no way things are going to work out for you, faith still keeps hoping. If you're not continuing to hope when all basis for hope is gone, you're not fully persuaded.

Remember this: the only things you are going to receive from God by faith are those things about which you are fully persuaded. I don't care how many times you confess it. I don't care how many faith tapes you play. Regardless of how badly you want to believe it, you're not going to experience the delivering power of the Holy Ghost and receive the promises of God until you're fully persuaded. Abraham made four faith mistakes that postponed his becoming fully persuaded. If you can avoid those mistakes, you can more quickly start receiving the blessings of God.

MISTAKE #1: Fellowship With the World
We find Abraham's first faith mistake in Genesis 12:1-3: "Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."

Then in Verse 4 we're told, "So Abram departed." Most of us are fairly impressed by that. After all, God said "Go!" and Abraham jumped up and went. However, Abraham's obedience was not as complete as you might think. Just like you and me, he was prone to make mistakes. And right at the start here, he makes a significant one. God's specific command to Abraham was to "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred." Abraham only obeyed half of that order. He left but brought his ungodly nephew, Lot, along with him! It was Abraham's first recorded act of disobedience. Don't get the wrong idea. I'm not implying that following the call of God necessarily means leaving your family behind. God frequently uses entire families in a mighty way. In this case, however, Lot represented the old way of life in Ur of the Chaldees - a way of life that Abraham had been directed to leave behind. Lot was not a spiritual man and was still very much tied to the pagan ways of doing things. Lot represents an unhealthy love of the things of the world. His presence complicated life for Abraham and his family for many generations.

The lesson for us is a simple one. When we are responding to the call of God, it is vital that we sever fellowship with people who are still hooked into the world's way of doing things. Regardless of whether they call themselves Christians or not, if they're in love with the world like Lot was, such fellowship will keep us from becoming fully persuaded.

Let me distinguish between fellowship and relationship. It's an important distinction. I feel sure God wants us to preserve relationships with ungodly friends or family as potential channels of ministry into their lives - so love them and keep those channels open. But fellowship means a sharing of heart - an impartation of one life into another, which is why the Bible says that we're to have no fellowship with darkness. It'll pull you back toward the old way of life and delay the promise of God.

MISTAKE #2: Running From Trouble
Abraham's second faith mistake is brought to our attention in Genesis 12:6-7; "And Abram passed through the land into the place of Sichem unto the plain of Moreb. And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, unto thy seed will I give this land." Here God is saying, "Congratulations, Abraham, you've arrived! This is the land I'm going to give to your seed!" But how does Abraham respond? He leaves! "And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was grievous in the land" (v. 10). But instead of trusting God to supernaturally meet his needs in the midst of famine, Abraham said to himself, "Hey, times are tough here; I'd better head for Egypt!"

At that point, Abraham allowed temporary circumstances to move him out of God's will for his life. Don't make the same mistake. Though it is possible to experience hard times because of disobedience and rebellion, you're not necessarily out of the will of God just because famine touches your life. God can - and will - bless you right in the midst of a famine if you're following His direction for your life.

MISTAKE #3: A Compromise of Integrity
Abraham lied about his wife by calling her his sister, and she was dragged off into a pagan king's harem. But God intervened: "God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man; for the woman which thou hast taken; she is a man's wife. But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord wilt thou slay also a righteous nation? Said he not unto me, She is my sister? And she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocence of my hands have I done this. And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart, for I also withheld thee from sinning against me" (Genesis 20:3-6).

Think about the irony of this situation. Here is a pagan king acting with integrity, while Abraham, the man of God, is not! What would cause such a strange reversal! What would cause Abraham to so flagrantly compromise his integrity? Unbelief. God had vowed to Abraham that He would bless those who blessed him and curse those who cursed him. But obviously Abraham didn't believe that. When he felt threatened by the foreign king, he chose to rely on manipulation and deception rather than the promise of God. He compromised his integrity out of sheer unbelief.

When you tell someone you are going to do something, do it. Be a person of integrity. If you don't, like Abraham, you'll find yourself inadvertently postponing the day of becoming fully persuaded.

MISTAKE #4: Impatience
Abraham's fourth faith mistake was by far his most serious. It took place about twelve years after God had promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations and that Sarah would bare him a son. It took place when Abraham and Sarah grew tired of waiting for that promise to be filled: "And Sarah said unto Abram, 'Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her.' And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai"(Gen. 16:2). Abraham and Sarah simply became impatient and decided they would help God out. Most of the time, that's the reason Christians miss God. It's not because they don't hear His voice. It's because they don't wait for His timing.

There they are: Abraham's four faith mistakes. Detours that delayed his faith and kept him from arriving at the place of being "fully persuaded" where the promise and blessing of God were waiting. But, praise God, you and I don't have to take those detours. We have the written Word. We have the examples of men like Abraham to learn from, and we have the Holy Spirit leading us into all truth. We have everything we need to move right into the realm of being fully persuaded.

Once you enter that realm, there's no power in hell or on earth that can keep you from God's promises. There's nothing that can keep you from turning defeat into victory - nothing that can keep you from going from one degree of glory to another. Once you enter the realm of being fully persuaded, every promise in the Word of God is within your reach. Get ready to go from frustration to faith.

Copyright © Mac Hammond Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
 
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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