Proverbs 24:10 says, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” Ephesians 3:16 Amplified says, “May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the (Holy) Spirit (Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality).”
Our innermost being is our character on display. Hebrews 1:3 says of Jesus, “ Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person…” The Greek word for express is charakter. It means the exact copy of representation.
How does God build our character? Romans 5:3 says, “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance.” Verse 4 in the Amplified says, “And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity)…”
Our character is developed as we embrace our trials. Hebrews 12:11 says IF we are trained by them. Look what Jesus said to Peter. In Luke 20:31, Jesus told Peter that satan had desired to sift him.
Sifting is best described in Amos 9:9, which was written to the house of Israel. It says about His sifting, “…as grain is sifted in a sieve; yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground.”
Jesus assured Peter that He would come through the sifting. Our trials sift our faith, as Peter’s trial did his. Let Luke 22:32 speak to your heart now in your trial. It says, “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
I take great courage from this verse. Jesus prayed for Peter’s faith to remain steadfast. I also appreciate His words, “when” and “then.” There will be an end when God’s purpose for our trial is accomplished.
Our trials are a training ground. There is much instruction during the process. The Lord will lead us to passages in His word that He wants us to implant. He also bids us to ask Him for wisdom, but to ask in faith that He will answer. James 1:6-8 says to ask in faith without wavering.
Abraham did not waver in unbelief. He did not consider his body as good as dead. He did not ponder all the ramifications of Sarah being beyond child bearing years. Romans 4:20 Amplified says, “No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God…”
Here is the key to his inner strength. The verse continued, “…but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God.” He praised the Lord for what He was doing! Abraham embraced his impossibility by refusing to look at it. Instead his gaze was on the Lord’s ability not their inability.
What an example for us to follow. Was Abraham’s character sterling? No. What did he do behind closed doors when he thought no one was watching? What did he pass onto his son Isaac? His message and his messenger were not the same.
Isaac did the same thing as his father with the same king. He lied. In Genesis 26:7 he told the men that Rebekah was his sister. Behind closed doors, after he had been there a long time, verse 8 says, “…Abimelech…looked through a window, and saw, and there was Isaac, showing endearment to Rebekah his wife.”
The whole story would have been a testimony of God’s goodness, instead Isaac brought reproach onto the name of the Lord. John 3:21 encourages us to live in the light of the truth of God’s word—always.
It says, “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” All secret sin is seen with God’s eyes. Yes, we might hide it from others, but before Him all things are exposed, naked, and defenseless. More on this tomorrow.