Archive for January, 2008

His Ways

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

At the end of each calendar year I find myself looking back over the previous twelve months with a lot of thanksgiving. Instances of God’s grace, His favor, His help, His faithfulness, etc., are rehearsed in my mind. But along with that there’s something else that takes place and that is I also go back over specific things and I take “inventory” of my life in regards to how (or how not) I have obeyed the voice of the Lord.

2 Cor. 13;5 (Amp) says “Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you?

I need to examine myself, take stock, make an assessment, give an account, and see what I come up with. The Message Bible says, regarding this same verse, “Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.” That last part is so important! If you fail the test, do something about it!

There’s a big difference between seeing where I have missed the mark and just kind of shrugging my shoulders and saying “Oh well” and apathetically continuing on in my disobedience, OR seeing it, repenting of it and doing whatever it takes to line myself up with the course God has mapped out for me and revealed to me through His Word and Spirit!!

My prayer and deep desire for our body is that in the year that lies ahead we will see a very significant increase in how the ‘ways’ of God are esteemed and treasured and guarded in our hearts and proclaimed and lifted up as the standard among us. The way of God for us as His bond servants; the way of God for those of us who are husbands and fathers; the way of God for those of us who are wives and mothers; the way of God for those of us who are young adults, teenagers, and young children; the way of God in how we handle relationships; how we handle our money; how we handle a crisis; how we handle His people, and how we handle unbelievers. God’s way, not our way.

Proverbs 14;12 and 16;25 both say the same thing: “There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end of it is the ways of death. “ It seems right, seems good, seems okay, sounds logical, feasible,it’s how Mom and Dad always did it, and how Uncle Joe does it, and all the kids at school do it, and Oprah says… You get the picture. The only time I can find in the Scriptures where it is safe to go with “it seems good to me” is if, and this is a BIG if, it is preceded by this: “it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us” as is found in Acts 15;28. If the thing in question lines up with and bears witness to the heart of God, the nature of God, the word of God, the ways of God, the principles of God, etc., then you can pretty much take it as the will of God and proceed! If it doesn’t pass that test, then you shun it, discard it, and turn away from it no matter what everyone else is saying or doing.

When the ways of God become something that you highly regard and esteem above all else, it will serve and prove to keep you in the will of God. His ways, treasured as something near and dear to your heart – the crucial factor at work in your life that will cause you to continue to seek the Lord. It’s what will cause you to choose life and not death; blessing and not cursing. It’s what will cause Him and His precious ways to be witnessed by others when they see how you live. After all, what they really will be seeing is Him living through you and isn’t that the crux of Christianity? My bold proclamation is to be that I’ve been crucified with Christ – I’m dead, my life is not my own, but some how, some way, as contradictory as this sounds – yet I stand before you living and breathing… dead but still alive! The catch being that the life I NOW live, is being lived out by the faith of the Son of God, Who loves me and gave Himself for me (Gal. 2:20)

In Philippians 2:12 the Apostle Paul urges the believers to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”. He is not, of course, referring to us somehow being able to achieve our own righteousness and right-standing in the eyes of God, which is only accomplished by the blood of Jesus Christ. Instead he is referring to, now that we are that new creation in Christ, continue to follow hard, pursue, and walk out our christianity. For our “conduct to be worthy of the Gospel of Christ”; to “walk worthy of the Lord fully pleasing Him”. The mistake I see many of us make is we take Paul’s exhortation to “work out your own salvation” and then stop right there. We leave out the “with fear and trembling” part! There’s a circumstance or situation in our life that we need to “work out” but we attempt to do it totally on our own – not seeking and inquiring of the Lord and HIS way but our own way, or the world’s way, or the easiest way, or in keeping with our particular opinion or philosophy, etc, etc. There’s no fear or trembling in that! There’s no praying, seeking, inquiring, or maybe even fasting. There’s no searching the Scriptures, or seeking godly counsel. There’s no dying to ourselves and groaning from within saying “nevertheless, not my will, but Your will.”

I encourage, as well as challenge you, that this year of 2008 be one where you set out with all your heart, mind and strength to seek out, esteem, choose, obey, prize and hold especially dear the way of the Lord in all things and in every thing.

“Make me know Your ways, O Jehovah; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth, and teach me; for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day long.” PSALM 25: 4, 5