Order my steps, part 1
When we ask God to order our steps, what are we really asking him? Seems like a great deal right? Having the creator of the universe reigning sovereign over your life, guiding your very footsteps?
Well, the fact of the matter is that it is a great deal. It should be noted, though, that this deal might not be as “peachy” as one might think. Agreeing to a partnership with the King of kings and Lord of lords means strapping up for a long, interesting ride.
Proverbs 3:5-6 charges the believer to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight (or direct your paths).” The relationship that we as Christians have with God is one of trust. This relationship requires that we “test and approve what God’s will is” (Romans 12:2) and seek his will for our lives.
The plan of God for your life and mine—I can guarantee you—is not what we would choose for ourselves. As people in today’s day and age, we are so obsessed with instant gratification. Some things God will do instantly, like the salvation of our souls when calling upon him with sincerity of heart. However, God is not one to operate instantaneously when it comes to our destiny.
When God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt, the Bible details something worth mentioning. Exodus 13:17-18 tells us:
“When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though it was shorter. For God said, ‘If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’ So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.”
This, I believe, is the model that God follows for all of our lives. We always want the shortcut, but we do not have any clue of the kind of warfare the quick route to destiny will entail. For this reason, God does not lead us through our own Philistine countries (whatever they may be) but leads us to the Red Sea.
Notice, though, that despite God’s determination to keep the Israelites from facing war, they did leave Egypt armed for battle. This means that following the plan of God will entail facing adversity, and opposition from the enemy.
Consider our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. After being literally affirmed by God, upon his baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit, Jesus experienced adversity. Mark 1:11-13 reads, “And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’ At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan.”
As soon as Jesus was anointed for his public ministry, he was placed in an uncomfortable situation. Not only was he challenged, but it was the Holy Spirit that led Jesus into his showdown with the devil. Just as the Holy Spirit led Jesus into adversity, we face similar circumstances. This is not to set us up for failure, but to show us that we have the power to overcome (1 John 4:4), so that we would be encouraged to continue along the path that he has trod.
Now, when asking Jesus to be your personal Lord and Savior, you are saying “yes” to his will for your life. This yes means that you are in it for the long haul. Much like the prophet Jonah, if you choose not to follow God’s orders, your “yes” gives God the permission to send a whale your way until you get your act together. After all, God “disciplines those he loves” (Hebrews 12:6).
To be continued…