The example of Abraham – Sofa Christian? Or Overcomer?

“In the world ye have tribulation; but be of good courage: I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

That the world is a danger for believers, which can have a lasting negative influence on our lives, is made particularly clear by the example of Abraham. As people increasingly devoted themselves to idolatry, God called Abraham out of the world in sovereign grace. He gave him unconditional promises in which the patriarch was to trust (see Gen 12:1-3).

Then the faith of Abraham was tested by a famine in Canaan - and he failed. Abraham sought refuge in Egypt , an image of the world, hoping for a more comfortable life there. But the plan did not work. His time in Egypt interrupted his communion with God - with far-reaching consequences: The possessions he received in Egypt later led to a dispute between the shepherds of Lot and the shepherds of Abraham. How much strife there has been among believers because of possessions and money!

In addition, Hagar came from Egypt to the promised land. She is an picture of the covenant of the Law (see Gal 4:21-31), which is considered one of the elements of the world (see Col 2:8,20). Legal thinking that wants to achieve the promised blessing of God through its own efforts is completely contrary to the grace of God and cannot bear fruit for God.

In Hebrews 11 we read about the "treasures of Egypt". It was on these earthly riches and "securities" that the Egyptians trusted at that time, and it is exactly these on which people still place their trust today. Financial wealth contains the great danger for believers to act independently of God and to trust more in possessions than in the living God (see 1 Tim 6:17)!

Are you willing to critically examine how much you rely on financial security and how much you really trust in God?

Like Abraham in his time, we too today are in great danger of escaping the trials through which God allows us to go by fleeing to Egypt - spoken in type - or by adapting to the spirit of this world without waiting for God and seeking His will.

In trials of faith the attraction of the world for Christians often increases. How quickly do we flee to Moab, figuratively speaking, because there is famine in Bethlehem (see Ruth 1)! Instead of securing food for God's people with the energy of faith, as Gideon did, one quickly has the tendency to retreat to the comfortable sofa, from where the weak condition of the believers is often judged. It is always easier and more comfortable to retreat or run away when, for example, a local meeting (church) is in a weak spiritual condition, instead of standing where God has placed us, depending on the Lord and doing the work of edification!

In the desert, Satan tempted the Lord Jesus with everything this world has to offer. How did the Son of God behave when He was confronted with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (see Luke 4:1-13)? Although He fasted for 40 days and was hungry, He did not use His power for His own benefit. He did not even want to eat anything without having an instruction/direction/authority from God. Nor did He take a shortcut on the way to rule over this world, but remained faithful to God and went through suffering to glory. He also refused to put God to the test lightly, because He did everything in dependence on His Father and trusted Him with all His heart. With determination, He ultimately went to Jerusalem knowing that He would not be ashamed (see Luke 9:51; Isa 50:7).


How do you normally deal with trials that God allows in your life? Are you easily discouraged and try to give up or do you try, where God has placed you, to stand firm and edify others? Take Moses as your example. "He persevered, as seeing him who is invisible" (Heb 11:27). Be ready today to deny yourself, to take up your cross and follow the One who overcame the world!


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