“He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” - Romans 4:19-21
How did Abraham develop such strong faith? Paul says that he did not weaken in his faith, nor did he doubt in God’s ability to carry out what he had promised. How did Abraham believe in full confidence that God would do what he said?
It could be said that belief was easier for Abraham, simply because God had spoken directly to him. This is true, yet Abraham still had no reason to trust God. Don’t we doubt the voices of those who make promises to us? God’s word cannot be compared to human promises, but our sinful nature has the tendency of equating the two, leading us to doubt God. Paul also points out that Abraham’s faith was not due to his circumstances, because God’s promises were impossible considering Abraham and Sarah’s physical conditions. For how could a barren woman give birth to an entire nation?
Perhaps Abraham’s faith stemmed from his response to God. When God called him, Abraham immediately acted and obeyed the command. He never hesitated, but fully gave himself over to the will and purposes of the One who called him. The writer of Hebrews denotes Abraham as being a member of the hall of faith; defining faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Thus, Abraham chose belief in response to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
There can be many takeaways from the story of Abraham, one of them being the importance of identifying and responding to conviction. This is a righteous prompting from the Holy Spirit to align with the will of God; however, conviction from the devil can be shameful manipulation disguised as discipline.
Like Abraham, we must be able to determine the direction of God in our lives through conviction, as well as trust that God is exactly who he says that he is. The Bible, history, and our lives serve as a testament that God’s faithfulness will never cease. All that we can offer God is our heart and our belief, just like Abraham. Through the blood of Jesus, our faith will be counted to us as righteousness too.
What is your response to this? Where can you see God’s faithfulness in your life? What convictions have you felt from the Holy Spirit recently? I encourage you to test your conviction with scripture and see if it aligns with the character of God. If you are certain of the direction of God, then respond in faith like Abraham by choosing obedience.