If you want to grow spiritually, if you are thirsty for the miraculous and the divine in your daily life, you absolutely must pay close and passionate attention to Abraham. He’s not an ordinary Old Testament character, or just a name on a list. The apostle Paul called him the “father of faith,” the example, the model, the plumb line, the standard and the father of all believers (see Romans 4:12).

Isaiah, the prophet, issues this vibrant call to us: “Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness and thirst for the living God. Fasten your eyes on the rock from which you were cut. Give your attention to Abraham, your father. For I called him when he was alone and unknown; I blessed him and multiplied him. For the Lord shall restore all the wasted places and make wells of living water spring forth in the desert. Joy and voices of thanksgiving and gladness can be heard again. Give me your attention, My people! Set your eyes on Abraham” (see Isaiah 51:1-4).

Do you get the impression from reading these lines that Abraham has something to say to us? Well, you’re right. Paul, the scholar, apostle and world changer whose remarkable and inspired writings have marked the history of mankind, tells us that “there is a promise that is assured for those who will walk in the faith of Abraham” (see Romans 4:16).

Dear reader, let’s lift up a veil and discover a treasure. Let’s plunge into the Book of Beginnings—the Genesis of Abraham’s faith—to dig up a spiritual gold mine of eternal value: faith with a refusal.

“The Lord said to Abram, Come out of your country and out of your father’s house to a land that I will show you. I will make you a source nation and I will bless you. I will make your name great and you will become a source of blessing unto the ends of the earth for generations to come” (see Genesis 12:1-3).

Dear friends, this faith with a refusal that characterized and defined the personality and life of Abraham touched the heart of God and became a key to the perfect fulfillment of the astonishing promise you just read. In biblical terms and in the global perspective of Scriptures, Abraham is not only the father of the millions of Jewish people through history, but also the spiritual father of every believer who has placed his faith in Christ, from across the centuries to our present day. There are over one billion followers of Christ on the earth. We are the fastest growing religious movement in the world, and according to Scriptures each one of these precious Christians is a son or daughter of Abraham!

Claude Houde, lead pastor of Eglise Nouvelle Vie (New Life Church) in Montreal, Canada, is a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences conducted by World Challenge throughout the world. Under his leadership New Life Church has grown from a handful of people to more than 3500 in a part of Canada with few successful Protestant churches.