Faith like Abraham
God wants us to believe Him and act on that faith. If we simply had to believe without doing anything to show that we believe, what good is that? Without the works that demonstrate our faith, we will not grow in godly character. James the apostle asked, "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?" (James 2:14). The answer is no; faith alone cannot save.
Neither is salvation by works alone, and it can never be. But you cannot grow in the character of God if you are not doing the works that demonstrate your faith. When you put your trust in God and act on your faith, you will see God's intervention. And this will inspire you to seek and trust Him even more.
When we act on our faith, we learn how to think more like God. He wants to see that we believe what He says and that we are willing to show our love by obeying Him. For "faith without works is dead" (James 2:20), but "Abraham our father (was) justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar" (James 2:21). "Faith was working together with his works," and by works his faith "was made perfect" (James 2:22).
God told Abraham to take his only son and offer him "as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you" (Genesis 22:2). Abraham did not hesitate. He "rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey" and he went with his son and the wood for the offering (Genesis 22:3). He did not question or argue with God. He simply obeyed.
Abraham demonstrated absolute faith in God, even at this startling command to sacrifice his son. He believed God's promise that his descendants would come through Isaac, and He knew God was trustworthy. Abraham's actions revealed what was in his heart. He showed that obedience to God was the most important thing to him. This is what God wants to see in us.
Sometimes we must deal with very difficult situations which we may not understand. Like God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son, the trials we face may not make any sense. Nevertheless, even when he did not see how God would save his son, Abraham believed God and he acted on that faith. This is a lesson for all of us, for "the just shall live by faith" (Hebrews 10:38).
When we act on our faith like Abraham did, God sees what is in our hearts and justifies us like He justified Abraham. We will grow in godly character by putting our faith into action. We will live our lives like Abraham, who "waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God" (Hebrews 11:10). So, keep up your "work of faith...in the sight of our God and Father" (1 Thessalonians 1:3)!