Archive for April, 2015
“If you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and commandments…” (1 Kings 3:14).
The life of faith isn’t a blind pursuit but, rather, it is an informed obedience. Our Lord does not call us to follow after him and then leave us to our own intuition and “gut feelings” as to how we ought to live. Such subjectivity would produce only subjective results. Thankfully, we are given the word of God as an objective standard. Much like a road map or playbook it offers clear instruction; directing the course of our lives and the strategies that best accomplish the purposes of God.
“If you walk in My ways…” (1 Kings 3:14).
One’s orientation comes to bear on all of life’s “situations;” the choices and decisions we face each day. Orientation is a both/and equation of genetic predisposition and the nurturing effects of social and behavioral conditioning. For the people of God, however, we are not bound by such limitations. Ours is a walk that chooses to rise above such natural inclinations; orienting our lives towards the strength of God’s resources instead of the weaknesses of our flesh.
“In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, ‘Ask what you wish Me to give you’” (1 Kings 3:5).
While the opportunity to ask anything of God evokes thoughts of unimaginable possibilities, it is a request that should not be hastily made for it reveals the deepest desires of one’s heart; our passions and preoccupations. Such petitions to God are both dangerous and indicting; revealing the character of who we are and becoming the basis for how our life will be judged and evaluated. Be careful what you ask for.
“This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you…Then it happened when the Philistine rose and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:46,48).
The best time to face your fear is today. Postponing or allowing it to go unchallenged allows fear to only grow in our imagination to even larger proportions. The significance of the present day is a theological reality that must not be discounted. Today is the day God desires to set you free from the bully of fear. Let your confidence be in Him; not your circumstances.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24).
Imagine yourself as one of eight runners on a track, crouched at the starting line, staring down the lane in front of you to the finishing tape that awaits the winner. Each one is taut waiting for the gun to sound. Knowing that only one can can win and receive the prize each runner will give maximum effort; straining every muscle, fiber, tendon, and sinew to run victoriously the path that is set before them. As believers, Christ has set before us the path of how we ought to live. By the power of his indwelling Spirit, we run with a greater passion, desire, and determination than would any olympic athlete. This is because they run for a perishable crown and we an imperishable. Each day brings a new leg of the race. Run well today.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:23-25).
The confession of our faith extends beyond the mere declaration of our lips to the action of our lives. One of the ways we stimulate and encourage others in their faith is by our presence in the assembly of God’s people. By our faithful, rhythmic, habitual worship attendance and participation not only does it contribute to our growth, but we become agents for changing the lives of others. Our personal faith is never just about us. By our faithful church attendance we confess our faith to others.
“David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, ‘I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them’” (1 Samuel 17:39).
Being something you’re not is awkward, cumbersome, and will eventually trip you up. While Saul could think only in terms of conventional warfare, armor, and swords, David was secure enough in his faith, and comfortable enough in his own skin, to go forth into battle an unconventional way–with a stick, a sling, a few stones, and the confidence that God would deliver. Being a new creation in Christ Jesus means we can embrace the uniqueness of our distinctive gifts and personalities to face any giant that seeks to put fear in our hearts.
“For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God” (1 Samuel 17:26).
For David, it is incomprehensible that an assessment of any battle, or any other circumstance in life, would be done apart from the providence of the one true living God. David offers a theological reality that shapes his view and interpretation of all things; that ours is a present and active God; engaged in the affairs of his people. If we really believe God is alive then we must live as if it is so.
“Then they set out from Succoth and camped in Etham on the edge of the wilderness. The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night” (Exodus 13:20-21).
The road to Etham was a familiar and well-traveled path; requiring no miraculous intervention. It’s another reminder, much like the command of Jesus to remove the stone from the tomb of Lazarus and to unbind him (John 11), that God will never do by a miracle what he expects us to do by obedience. It is in the unknown wilderness wanderings of life that we experience the timely provision of God for the future that he has set before us.
“Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, ‘God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones from here with you’” (Exodus 13:19).
As believers, we are but a prolonged legacy of those who have experienced the faithfulness of God. We are not the first to be called forward; to walk into the unknown; to leave behind the comfortable and familiar. We are inextricably bound to the generations who have come before us; whose faithful example God uses to guide us into His future.