Don't Jump the Gun on God

"Follow it, so that you may know the way you should go, for you have not passed this way before" (Jos 3:3-4).
"Follow it, so that you may know the way you should go, for you have not passed this way before" (Jos 3:3-4).

Keeping in Step with the Spirit

Have you ever come to a place where your life has lost its momentum, plateaued or gone out-of-sync? In the past, things have been going your way. There’s nothing like clear skies and sunny weather. But then, an unfortunate bump in the road causes you to lose control and veer to the wayside. Then it dawns on you. You’re life is stuck in a rut for who knows how long? Your cushy job wasn’t that secure after all. The smooth start in your marriage is now on the rocks. The nest egg you’ve been nursing suffers financial fractures. You’ve strayed into unfamiliar territory and it isn’t wise to venture far from your vehicle. Better to call for roadside assistance and stay where you are. Wait for help to arrive. Wisdom has it to be still and wait on the Lord (Ps 27:14; 37:7; 38:15). But your patience runs awfully thin as the clock continues to tick. While you sit behind the wheel, tempting options play out in your head. You think to yourself, “Maybe I can make it to the next town on foot? It’s still bright and safe to walk outside. If I start now, I can probably make it before nightfall.”

These are the times when I find myself constantly struggling to be in control of my own circumstances. This tendency causes me to step my bounds, jump the gun, and run ahead of God. I find myself crossing the line with a human remedy rather than waiting on the Lord for his divine directive. The results have been remedial, and at times, detrimental to my growth in relationship with Him.


Geographic Obstacles

When Joshua led the Israelites toward the banks of the river Jordan, they arrived at the final geographic obstacle in their arduous journey. The long-awaited fruit of their destination lay just ahead. The people of God had only to cross over this body of water before entering the Promised Land. But it’s the time of harvest and the banks of the Jordan are overflowing! Do we build a bridge or construct boats to get across? Should we simply take our chances and swim against the strong current to the other side? Why on earth would God lead us to this barrier before blessedness? Waiting on God allowed His people to fathom the fact that His ways are not our ways. In Joshua 3:3-4 we read:

“At the end of three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, ‘When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God being carried by the levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place. Follow it, so that you may know the way you should go, for you have not passed this way before. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, a distance of about two thousand cubits; do not come any nearer to it.’”

This passage comes as a holy reminder that I should keep my spiritual walk in check. When confronted by life’s difficulties, dead ends or impossible odds, we aren’t told by God to go by our human instincts. Neither are we given the luxury of sorting things out our way or even second-guessing the Spirit’s leading. And going by our “gut feel” is definitely out of the question. The command can’t be any clearer—“Follow it.” What part of “Follow it” is difficult to understand?

We know that God’s presence resided in the ark of the covenant. If I am to obey the command of God, it is His lead rather than mine that I should follow. Only then will I know the way that I should go. After all, it is painfully obvious that where God’s presence is leading me to is a place that I have not passed before. It is completely beyond my control to understand the territory ahead with all the dark valleys and mountaintop experiences that come with it. The child of God need never forget, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths” (Prov 3:5-6).


Holy Boundaries

Craving the fruit of the tree of knowledge, Adam and Eve got ahead of themselves. They reached out and partook of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. This act of disobedience was tantamount to telling God, “We want to decide what is good for us and what is evil for us. That decision is ours alone to make. We’ve become our own boss. God, don’t tell us what to do!” Indeed their eyes were opened to human possibilities, but blinded to God’s will for their lives. Others followed in their fallen footsteps and paid a painful price. Moses struck the rock, Samson flirted with lust, Saul offered strange fire, and David abused his power. Getting ahead of God goes on in the lives of His people today.

By faith, God is constantly teaching me to remain dependent upon His guidance and provision every humble step of the way. Walking away from the Lord has caused me to enter into a state of restlessness and wandering. When I deliberately make my plans apart from God, I find myself walking the wilderness of want. Holy boundaries are for our good—keeping us bound to God and free from evil. Today, after many a detour or diversion, I stand at the crossroads asking God for the ancient paths; where the good way lies that I may walk in it. Only then will I find rest for my soul (Jer 6:16). Of course, the temptation is to resort to any human made form of security by mapping out the spiritual trip via GPS (Global Positioning System) in order to avoid any surprises along the way. But as I follow the Lord, I am discovering that He is my GPS (God’s Present Security) allowing me to be still and know that He is God (Ps 46:10). “The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps” (Prov 16:9).

In the past, those who followed after God’s presence were to keep their physical distance from the ark. Today, God’s presence has come near. In fact, he now presently resides in the life of everyone who has faith in God as they follow Him. We live a Spirit-led life. In verse 5 Joshua said to the people, “Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.” The amazing part about keeping in-sync with God’s Spirit is that we are sanctified or being made holy as we walk in Him. And though we may not know what tomorrow may bring, we have faith that God will do a wondrous work among us. Be encouraged to stay the course in the storms of life. Hold your horses! Don’t jump the gun on God. "If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit” (Gal 5:25).

Copyright 2009, Gicky Soriano. All rights reserved.

Recommended reading:

Keep in Step with the Spirit: Finding Fullness in Our Walk with God
Keep in Step with the Spirit: Finding Fullness in Our Walk with God

J. I. Packer's Keep in Step with the Spirit focuses on the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Now in its second edition, this book is not merely a theological study, but a rousing call to encourage believers to implement the Spirit's directives in their lives. Packer explains how to get the Spirit in focus and how to map the Spirit's path in life. He restates the Christ-centeredness of the Spirit's ministry, reaffirms the biblical call to holiness, and even-handily assesses the charismatic movement. Readers wanting to understand this movement, believers interested in the ministry of the Spirit, and fans of J. I. Packer's writings will appreciate this radical call to personal and corporate revival.

 
Praying: Finding Our Way Through Duty to Delight
Praying: Finding Our Way Through Duty to Delight

Easy is never the word that fits real praying," say evangelical Christian heavyweight Packer and Nystrom, a freelance writer who has penned more than 70 books and Bible study guides. Packer's series of talks on prayer combined with Nystrom's transcription and input blend to create this definitive work that will deepen readers' understanding of a difficult subject. Both authors admit struggles with prayer, which makes their words even more reassuring for Christians who rarely confess to similar wrestlings.

 
Led By The Spirit: How the Holy Spirit Guides the Believer
Led By The Spirit: How the Holy Spirit Guides the Believer

What does it mean to follow God? In a personal and pastoral way, Jim Elliff seeks to help the believer gain confidence in understanding and following the will of God.

This book is not only practical, but answers some of the most important questions which confuse sincere believers in their desire to do God's will. Jim Elliff emphasizes that guidance has far more to do with sanctified reason than such extraordinary measures as seeing signs or hearing voices. This is a balanced and biblical approach to a vital subject.

 
The Wonderful Spirit Filled Life
The Wonderful Spirit Filled Life

Life abundant--Jesus promised it and we long for it, yet few Christians seem to have it. Blending lively anecdotes, commentary, and teachings from the Bible, Stanley introduces you to the Holy Spirit. He is not an oversized electrical current you just plug into when you need additional help, or a theological concept, but just as real and active as Christ. He has personality as well as a specific job description and a definite desire to be an active part of our lives.

 

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Comments 20 comments

Froggy213 profile image

Froggy213 7 years ago from On A Mountain In Puerto Rico

Thanks for this hub--I needed to hear that.


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 7 years ago from California Author

Thanks Froggy213. I just signed up a couple of days ago and it's so encouraging to know that this hub ministered to you.


thecatholicexpert profile image

thecatholicexpert 7 years ago

I really enjoy this hub as well thanks very much for posting it up here, great work!


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 7 years ago from California Author

Bless your hubber heart!


Pastor_Walt profile image

Pastor_Walt 7 years ago from Jefferson City, Tennessee

Great hub. I am going to enjoy reading your hubs. Thumbs up from a new fan!


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 7 years ago from California Author

Thanks for giving my hub a read. God bless you.


coffeesnob 7 years ago

I am learning to wait - those circumstances come so often. But I can look back and say I have grown each time. Thanks for the reminder of God's presence and his guidance


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 7 years ago from California Author

Wait-training indeed builds spiritual muscle. Thanks for taking the time in submitting an encouraging comment. Press ahead in His presence and guidance.


Gee Gee 7 years ago

This is an area in my life I am developing. I am at the most challenging point in my life with waiting. I am unemployed with 2 young children and wife to care for. I have a university education and very persistant in seeking opportunities to care for my family and others. I am highly creative, energetic, fast, reasearch intensive, passionate about businesses, achiever, scientific background, compassionate,and driven. You can call it may nature, but I like to execute and receive great results immediately, so I can take care of my family. Now God has had me at a stand still, with doors closings left and right for 2-3 years now. What I to do?


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 7 years ago from California Author

First, let me say that I am encouraged that you used words like “developing,” “challenging,” and “seeking” in your honest, down-to-earth comment. It is obvious that the Lord is leading you through a process—a life changing process. We live in a product-oriented world that is interested in the “now.” This way of life drives people to demand instant results in the difficult situations they find themselves in. The word “wait” is not part of their vocabulary, as they have no time to be still, process, and grow in their God-given circumstances.

So rather than being product-oriented we must become process-oriented. God is not interested so much that we will get from point A to point B. He gave us His word that we will make it to point B as He has promised Abraham the product of his pilgrimage—his inheritance (Gen 17:1-8). What interests God is the whole process of how we get from point A to point B. What captures God’s attention is that you and I are willing to take the trip through faith with Him at the helm. God is not simply interested in solving our problems by driving us in the shortest way possible to reach point B. Rather the Good Shepherd leads us in the way that we should go. He’s interested in the process of developing our faith every step of the way in Him between points A and B. It is clear from the gospels that our Lord valued faith and wanted his followers to have faith. He commended a great faith when he found it and he rebuked those of little faith. The Bible declares that we are saved by faith (Eph 2:8), the just shall live by faith (Rom 1:17), and without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6).

I empathize with your struggle brother. I have been jobless for over two years now. There are moments when I find myself crying out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest” (Ps 22:1-2). Yet in the interim period, the dark valley of faith, I have come to believe in a God who said, “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Heb 13:5). I won’t sugarcoat what it means to follow Jesus. Taking up one’s cross daily is difficult (Lk 9:23-25). I wake up every morning and the invitation to die today, greets me—to die to my dreams, my independence, my being the “provider” of my family. The upside is that Jesus invites us to see the heavenly Father for who He really is in our lives—the Provider who we can fully depend on. And yes, dreams do come true as God is in the business of resurrecting lives anew of those who wait on Him.

As a fellow traveler, we live out the reality of our lives in a constant “paradox of faith.” Focus on the Person of God rather than His promises. The purpose of faith is not to produce a detour around our problems, but to process a faith under fire. The world tried to convince those who have gone before us that “to see is to believe,” but total dependence upon God means “to believe in God before we see.” Continue to develop, stay challenged, and keep seeking His kingdom. As did the Israelites, they followed it, God’s presence, by waiting on Him.


Gee Gee 7 years ago

That was and is very encouraging. As I die to myself and give all to God, what suggestions do you have to keep seeking the kingdom as I wake-up every day?

As I wait on him what does this waiting consist of?

Thank you,


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 7 years ago from California Author

A farmer plows his field, sows the seed, and fertilizes and cultivates his crops. As he performs this work, he knows that in the final analysis, he is ultimately dependent upon the forces operating outside himself. The farmer knows that he cannot cause the seed to germinate, nor can he call on the rain and the sunshine for growing and harvesting his produce. To realize a successful harvest, he is dependent on these things from the Creator.

The question you asked: “As I wait on Him what does this waiting consist of?” Or to put it another way, “What am I to do myself, and what am I to rely on God to do?” Based on the farming illustration, the farmer is in a joint venture with God. The farmer knows that unless he diligently pursues his responsibilities to plow, plant, fertilize, and cultivate, he cannot expect a harvest at the end of the season. He will reap the benefits only when he has fulfilled his own responsibilities. This partnership is spelled out plainly: the farmer cannot do what God must do, and God will not do what the farmer should do.

In keeping with the theme, “Don’t Jump the Gun on God,” as we follow the Lord, we work while we wait on Him. Although I have been jobless for over two years, I haven’t remained passive. In an active faith, I continue to seek for employment, send out my résumés, follow-up my job leads, perform part-time work, have garage sales, volunteer to preach and teach in churches, and write a lot hubs. I do this all the while knowing that it is God who creates the opening and opportunity for me to pay my bills and support my family. To realize a “roof over my head” and “food on the table,” I am dependent upon these God-given things as I persist in seeking His kingdom (Mt 6:33).

Gee Gee, based on your work experience, you are tremendously gifted by God in what you do. I know that God isn’t going to squander your gift, but lead you to unwrap it for a waiting world in need of what you can offer—in His time. As we together work and wait on the Lord, know that I have you in my prayers brother.

Note: You may want to read my other related hubs on this subject namely: http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/The-Purpos and http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/You-Will-G

Do keep me posted as you keep in step with the Spirit. All blessing then.


Gee Gee 7 years ago

Again, well said Gicky. You were able to put this together thoroughly. I can see where this worked so well in my past, while today's results have been more challenging. I suspect he is calling me to take my faith to a new level and your suggestions above plus more creativity are part of the new steps. I shall continue to keep you and others in prayer who are in the same situation as we wait on the Lord. The processing is in progress and I look for to what God wants to do with these gifts. I will keep you posted and peruse your hub diligently.

Again, you have been a great blessing and may God bless you and yours.


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 7 years ago from California Author

Thank you for keeping me in your prayers Gee Gee.


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 7 years ago from Roseville, CA

I know when I am in the situation of ministering to others that are younger (age-wise) and new in the Lord's walk, and they are facing the same struggles from where I've come, I advise them earnestly to stay on the path the Word of God shows us. Every time I wandered off the path, then wandered even further and further....just finding my way back was the challenge, setting me behind where I would have been. So many consequences could have been spared; the missed mark of opportunity the Lord had planned for me!

I now stand on the FAITH and claim Joel 2:25 "I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten," and also that of Jeremiah 29:11 "'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."

Thank you for this hub that I am so blessed to read. God bless you!


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 7 years ago from California Author

How true! You know, our walk in Christ could end up being a series of remedial lessons. And God has all the patience in the world to see us through that same wayward path and wait until we get it right. At one point, we stop in our tracks and say, "Wait a minute. Haven't I been here before?" We may stray away from His lead and miss the mark, but the Good Shepherd is sovereign over our lives. Thank God He brings us back to the fold to fulfill the plans He has for us.


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 7 years ago from Roseville, CA

Yes, amen. I was strayed away for the last fourteen years. I was called to ministry 20 years ago and served for nine years. Because of sin and life's waves of destruction I got tossed around and had to find my way back. I was invited to go to see Nick Vicucic (lifewithoutlimbs.org), a young man of 26 years old (same age as my oldest son) who has no arms and no legs. His ministry was powerful, in that I cried all the way through the service. God changed my heart right then and there, and for four months now I have not been the same. All these hubs came out of a revived Spirit of Life in me from Him. I seek to never wander off this path again! Praise God, He is faithful!!


Gicky Soriano profile image

Gicky Soriano 7 years ago from California Author

I must say, Nick Vicucic gave such a powerful testimony. No arms, no legs, but a heart that reached out to God. In truth, life without Jesus is far worse than life without limbs. Thank God that He used this man's message put you together again. It's my prayer that you faithfullly keep to the path He's placed before you.


Judah's Daughter profile image

Judah's Daughter 7 years ago from Roseville, CA

Yes indeed! He is our arms and legs! And so much more!!


Gee Gee 7 years ago

Gicky,thanks for the prayer and encouragement, please keep us covered.

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