“I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people” (Leviticus 26:12).
The biblical metaphors depicting the life of faith as a journey are too numerous to list in a brief devotional thought. Along with roads, paths, highways, signs, markers, and the call to follow Me, walking is, perhaps, not only the most common metaphor but the most beneficial. Even beyond the metaphorical imagery, however, a literal walk is not only great exercise, it’s a wonderful way to get away from the “noise” that clutters one’s life, and clear your head. Taking a walk offers an effective way to “turn down the volume” and better hear the One who walks with you.
“‘I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,’ declares the Lord” (Ezekiel 37:14).
Filled with regret, sorrow, and failure, nothing can be done about the dry bones of a dead past. Not even God will change our past. Even so, by pursuing and allowing the transforming work of God’s Spirit today, we are laying the track to the future God has in store. Tomorrow’s hope is today’s energy.
“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness” (Psalm 37:3).
To think that the psalms were penned in the idyllic conditions of a holy temple is to miss the importance of blooming where we are planted. The psalmist wrote in the harsh, barren landscape of Babylonian exile. It’s the reminder that we cannot allow our circumstances to determine who we are and how we act but, rather, it is who we are in Christ Jesus that determines how we act in our circumstances.
“Do not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb” (Psalm 37:1-2).
“Fret” is a translation that fails to fully capture the angst of the psalmist. The Hebrew word depicts an anger and level of frustration that seethes beneath the surface. It is a theme dominating this psalm (1,7,8), and can dominate our lives as well. Like the psalmist, we have unfulfilled desires and dreams, we see injustice at every turn, and the battles against evil and life’s pitfalls are unrelenting. Things are not suppose to be this way. Don’t fret. The world is having its day, but the Lord will eventually have His.
“Work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12b-13).
When writing of salvation, the very verb tense utilized by the Apostle Paul, indicates that the true nature of the Christian faith isn’t what we have become but what we are becoming. While the work of God in Christ Jesus is a matter of the heart—an inward transformation—it is played out in our daily lives. Working out your salvation is the practical and visible side of a greater inward reality.
“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead…” (Philippians 3:13).
By observation, it seems many reach a stage in life where they rest on their laurels; reflecting on past accomplishments. Paul’s encouragement is to keep going, don’t quit, stay plugged-in; laurels are something to be resisted. If we are not careful, all the things we used to do can become an excuse for doing nothing today.
“Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:42).
Bearing one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) necessitates our borrowing from one another. When I am weak, I need to borrow your strength; when I am shaken, I need an offering of your stability; when I am fearful, I need a loan of your courage; when I despair, I need your hope; when I weep, I need the availability of your shoulder. Borrowing comes in many shapes and forms. As co-strugglers and wounded-healers in the life of faith, we share from what we have available this day to help others get through their day.