Deniers will tell you that your past, points to your future. It is simply fact to them that your history determines you path forward. God realizes the issue with humanity is that there is no one that can secure redemption of their own will. But God’s will provide a means to alter that trajectory.
Jesus came to change the dynamic. He doesn’t care about your history; His ultimate investment is in your trajectory.
Sarah: A Case Study
Hebrews 11:11-12 (CSB)
By faith even Sarah herself, when she was unable to have children, received power to conceive offspring, even though she was past the age, since she considered that the one who had promised was faithful. Therefore, from one man — in fact, from one as good as dead — came offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and as innumerable as the grains of sand along the seashore.
It really doesn’t matter where you came from nor the position you find yourself now. What is critical, is where you go from here!
This passage doesn’t spell it out the full story of Sarah; Abraham’s wife. We’re not disputing anything stated in this passage, but we will note what its says. Even though she was well past the age of child bearing, God had made it known to her that through her, Abraham’s legacy would be a great nation. Through her his linage would spawn a people so numerous that their numbers are far too great to count.
Sarah’s faith in God’s promise to her and her husband Abraham, resulted in this becoming true. Essentially, her faith set the trajectory of her future.
I have, for a long time, used Sarah as an object lesson for myself. I’ve held Sarah up as a symbol of what I don’t want me to be.
Here and likely going forward from today my perspective on Sarah is going to evolve. Evolve because, I saw something this morning, about Sarah, that I want to make sure I keep in practice, in my life experience.
Her example provides comfort and strength for us in our struggles with the enemy. Comfort, from the stand point that her initial acceptance of God direction was met with disregard; but despite that God continued to work to move her forward to a right relationship with Him. Strength, because of the power that is engaged when we plot our course congruent with God’s plan for us.
Up until today, you might hear me say “I don’t want to be a Sarah”. I said this frequently when I found myself injecting my thoughts and schemes in place of God’s direction.
While, that is exactly what Sarah did prior to the passage we referenced initially, she altered her position (repented) and placed her trust in what God said.
Prior to this, Sarah, upon receiving the word from God that she and Abraham would become a great nation, immediately felt that God had missed something. She was too old to have children. Because of this, she devised a plan to fulfill God’s promise for Him.
Genesis 16:2 (CSB)
Sarai said to Abram, “Since the Lord has prevented me from bearing children, go to my slave; perhaps through her I can build a family.” And Abram agreed to what Sarai said.
Sarai (later to be named Sarah) had an Egyptian slave girl named Hagar. Hagar was of child bearing age.
Sarah doubted the words of God imparted to her about their family. So she took it upon herself to scheme up a means, by which, she could ‘fix God’s plans, by injecting her own thoughts’.
Her plan worked for the most part. Hagar gave birth to Ishmael. But that was the limit to this plans success because there was contention between Sarah and Hagar as soon as Sarah realized that Hagar was expecting. Trouble that would carry forward to this very day.
Later God again told the couple again, in no uncertain terms, that ‘they’ would have offspring that would become this great nation and that offspring would be from Sarah.
It was only then that Sarah believed the Lord and set her trajectory by Faith. Abraham on the other hand was still trying to tell God about His business.
Genesis 17:15-20 (CSB)
God said to Abraham, “As for your wife Sarai, do not call her Sarai, for Sarah will be her name. I will bless her; indeed, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she will produce nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”
Abraham fell facedown. Then he laughed and said to himself, “Can a child be born to a hundred-year-old man? Can Sarah, a ninety-year-old woman, give birth?” So Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael were acceptable to you!”
But God said, “No. Your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will name him Isaac. I will confirm my covenant with him as a permanent covenant for his future offspring. As for Ishmael, I have heard you. I will certainly bless him; I will make him fruitful and will multiply him greatly. He will father twelve tribal leaders, and I will make him into a great nation.
So now you have the full picture of what was leading up to Sarah’s reestablished faith in the promises of God.
It was reading about her great faith this morning that I realized the beautiful message in Sarah’s story that had escaped me till now.
It doesn’t matter what is in the past. Our efforts may have even included subjugating the very plans, that God has mapped out for us, in defiance to His provision.
What does matter is that we repent (alter course), embrace his Word in Faith, and reset our trajectory on the path that He designates for us.
Taking the story of Sarah to heart and then pairing it with my own. It’s clear to me that while my earlier reference to Sarah, may have been justified, I certainly can’t talk, because my own history has been erratic at best.
My sordid past, not only reflects a lack of faith in God’s promises, intent, and plans for me; it boarders, if not broaches the boundaries of contempt!
The enemy would use this to defeat me and circumvent the plans God has laid out for me.
‘You are inadequate for the task before you. You will surely fail. LOOK! See what you did in the past!’
Attacks from an enemy who is literally ‘hell bent’ on taking me out of the picture. He knows that he’s lost the battle for my soul, but he can’t stand the thought of me being in compliance with the will of the God, who he detests and envies.
The reality is that God doesn’t care about the past once we are washed in the forgiving blood of His Son; Jesus!
Setting the Trajectory
1. the path followed by a projectile flying or an object moving under the action of given forces
The definition fits, doesn’t it? The ‘path followed’; the path defined by His Word.
Psalms 119:105 (CSB)
Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.
‘Under the action of given forces’.
Romans 8:14 (CSB)
For all those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons.
Already we have uncovered part of ‘setting our trajectory’ on the proper course considering the first few words of the 119th Psalm. ‘Your word is a lamp to my feet’.
Remember Sarah? Her faith in what God told her established her proper trajectory in accordance to the will of God. That faith was based on God’s word.
It simply didn’t matter that she doubted God earlier, or that she attempted to inject her will in place of God’s plan. What mattered was the fact that she altered her position and then acted in faith based on what God had conveyed to her and Abraham.
And so it is with all of us who seek to be in the will of the Lord.
Because of Grace
Grace; the unmerited favor extended to us by Jesus Christ, in His selfless act of shedding His blood to take our punishment.
When we trust in this Grace we are absolved of all sin; clean slate. Putting us on a footing that we could have never approached without this Grace. Upon receiving this Grace the Holy Spirit enters in and abides within us.
With this Grace in play two things remain:
1) Repentance – We suspend our current trajectory in favor of following a trajectory in line with the path laid out for us by God; His plan!
Acts 2:38-39 (CSB)
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.
2) Follow – The Holy Spirit is our guidance system to properly maintain a correct path in alignment with God’s plan for us.
Matthew 16:24 (CSB)
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.
The Holy Spirit our interpreter and intercessor.
Romans 8:26-27 (CSB)
In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
The Holy Spirit our teacher.
John 14:26 (CSB)
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.
The Holy Spirit our guide.
Luke 12:12 (CSB)
For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what must be said.”
Jesus made the investment in us. He paid with His blood. I do want to be a Sarah! I don’t want to inject my will in favor of His. I want to align my trajectory with the will of the Father.
His ultimate investment; my trajectory.
Not my will.
Wiling to follow in His footsteps.
His Grace, my faith, in action.