God is working hard these days to assure my heart of His care, and instruct me in The Way. The title for this pondering comes from the Amplified version of Psalm 37:23, and the thought of its truth thrills my heart.
“The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies Himself with his every step].”
When God delights in our way, He busies Himself with our every step. God is a personal God, big enough to give full attention to each one who truly seeks Him with the whole heart.
Something else God impressed upon me this week tells me how to walk in a way where our steps are a delight to the Lord. A friend sent me a word of encouragement, written to the body of Christ, authored by Marsha Burns, wife of Bill Burns, Pastor of Faith Tabernacle in Kremmling, CO, sent out in his Spirit of Prophesy Newsletter. In it, she writes as God gave it to her, and I quote:
“Beloved, I am calling you to a higher and more concrete level of faith that will become the basis for activity and endurance. Much of your spiritual function has been fueled by hope rather than faith and trust in Me, says the Lord. I would have you come to a level of true belief according to My will and purposes.”
I need a light bulb coming on right here to picture God’s nudge in my Spirit as I read, “Much of your spiritual function has been fueled by hope rather than faith and trust in Me.”
You see, hope is the product of a type of faith. Hope is something for which we look to happen with faith that God will do it. I believe God’s word that says Jesus is coming again, and therefore I have hope. Functioning out of hope is trying to live in the product of faith without putting forth the effort of faith.
In Hebrews 3-4, God makes it clear that the faith He delights to see in us leads to belief that produces obedience. Delight-producing faith is active, not passive.
You see, we don’t sit all day watching the east for Jesus to come, doing nothing with our time. If we do, something is wrong with our faith. God has a purpose for our being here. Like with Esther, God implores us, “How do you know that you are not here in this place where you are at God’s ordination for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14b, paraphrased)
It is not an accident that we live in our here and now. God has a purpose for our being here. The question is, will we believe God with faith to obey His instruction? Will we trust by faith that He has our days numbered for His purposes and not one will be robbed from Him as long as we trust Him with obedient hearts that deny self in order to fulfill His purpose?
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Hope alone waits to see what the Lord will do. Faith trusts the Lord to be Master and obeys through action in the wait.
Thinking on that good word of encouragement, I had to ask myself: Am I living by faith that believes God through obedience, doing things He calls me to though they may be difficult for me, showing myself of sincere belief that He is Who He says He is and He can do what He says He can do in and through me and my circumstances? Am I actively waiting with hope for Him to work in my circumstances while using me in the midst of difficulty? Am I living as He instructs me, out of belief that He is not only God in my circumstances, but Lord in my life?
Or am I living by a hope that sits on the sidelines waiting for Him to do the miraculous in my situations, as though I have no part or responsibility to Him in this life He gives me?
I have to admit, with many emotionally wrought excuses, I have been sitting on the sidelines of hope a lot lately, waiting for a miracle from God to end the challenge, remove the difficulty, and give reprieve. My excuses are all wrapped up in my fears and insecurities, my weakness and desire to run from the situations filling my mind’s eye; all of which blind me to the truth that God is bigger than my circumstances and situations. I fail to see the truth that His strength is only made stronger by my weakness being entrusted to Him who is able to make me stand.
No more of that. By faith, believing for His grace and provision, I say, “No more!”
Yesterday God gave me marching orders and geared my day to fulfilling that instruction. The doing of it was a blessing to me; not just in doing it, but in experiencing the provision of His strength for it. I don’t understand why He sent me where He did, other than it being an exercise of faith, but I trust that His purpose was fulfilled as He busied Himself with my every step of obedience, and hope in Him fills me with assurance while proof is yet to be seen.
This morning, as I write, I am up early because He called and I followed. And the minute I sat down to be with Him, His Spirit drew me to write this word. By His grace, faith to believe is renewed, and obedience is achieved, the product of it being hope that His purpose is fulfilled in the doing and His glory revealed.
Father, thank You for caring for my every step and for instructing my heart to walk in the care You have for me. By grace, I will live by faith, this day and each to follow, realizing it to be the basis for activity and endurance, trusting that You delight in obedience, and watching as You busy Yourself with my every step. As I press forward with faith to live as one in whom You delight, it is by Your grace that I pray with hope in Jesus name, amen.