When I was a young boy, there was a little sapling in my parent’s front yard. One day, I broke off the top of that sapling while hitting my cousin with it. You see, he was chasing me and I saw the sapling so I jumped over it (that’s how small it was). Then I reached back and pulled it as far as I could, and just as he reached me I let go of it, flipping the trunk up and hitting him, breaking off the top of the tree. That was forty years ago and now that tree is about fifty feet tall! If you could have stood in our yard for a day or a whole week waiting for it to grow, you would have thought, “This tree is not growing one bit!” And yet over the course of 40 years it has grown to be a tall strong tree.

The life of a Christian is like that tree. We may grow very slowly, but “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil. 1:6 ESV

Abraham is not an example of sudden spiritual success – he was a real work in progress. He had some rough edges. In fact, Abraham’s story is just a little embarrassing. He does not look like a great giant of the faith when we meet him in Genesis 12. But God was just beginning a work of faith in Abraham. In fact, God uses Abraham’s failures to teach him (and us) what it means to truly trust God and walk by faith. Abraham often takes two steps forward and then one step back, but he does keep moving forward. Conversion or regeneration is just the start of the magnificent, glorious work of salvation. It is not merely a matter of you being dedicated to God. God is dedicated to you! God is going to do a very thorough work of grace in each and every one of us who are saved by His grace.

An excerpt from Dr. Keathley’s sermon series entitled “Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Lessons from the Life of Abraham”.