Don't Jump the Gun on God
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.
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).
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.
- The Purpose-Led Life
“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going” (Heb. 11:8). Like Abe, even though we do not...
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.