We tend to think that if Jesus Christ compels us to do something and we are obedient to Him, He will lead us to great success. We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us. In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way. What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself.
What is my vision of God’s purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish— His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see “Him walking on the sea” with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see “Him walking on the sea” (Mark 6:49). It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God.
God’s training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future. We have nothing to do with what will follow our obedience, and we are wrong to concern ourselves with it. What people call preparation, God sees as the goal itself.
God’s purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life right now. If we have a further goal in mind, we are not paying enough attention to the present time. However, if we realize that moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.” Deuteronomy 6:6
A quick read through the Old Testament leaves no doubt that God wants His people to take His Word seriously. The Jews were told to write the commands on their doorposts and teach them to their children. They wore phylacteries—leather pouches that contained God’s commands—bound to their left hand and forehead. I suppose it would be like writing verses on Post-it notes and sticking them on yourself! And while most of us would not be ready to do that, the point is clear—God’s people take His Word seriously when it comes to living by its standards.
The psalmists had a good handle on this. In fact, the very first psalm recorded for us paints a clear picture of the value of God’s Word. It says that the key to a blessed life involves meditating on God’s Word day and night (Psalm 1:2).
Unfortunately, the value of meditation has been lost on modern Christians, perhaps because we have allowed the New Age movement to steal the word from our vocabulary. But all through Scripture we are called to meditate on the Word and works of God—to stop long enough to smell the biblical roses. To get alone, be quiet, and take it all in. To run His words through our minds over and over again.
If you’re among those who love God’s Word, here’s how to give it the VIP treatment in your heart.
Visualize it. Take a relevant principle from Scripture and visualize what it would look like if you lived it out. What would be the outcome of praying for your enemies? What if you gave your money to a worthy cause rather than buying that thing you’ve been wanting? Think about what it would look like if you lived out God’s Word.
Internalize it. The best way to meditate on God’s Word is to memorize it. When we get it inside our heads, it enables the Spirit to bring it to mind in “clutch” situations.
Personalize it. Don’t just think of the Scripture in vague terms, but insert personal pronouns and pray the passage back to God using “I” and “me” so that His Word is directed right to your heart.
Soon you will find yourself saying with the psalmist, “Oh how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (Psalm 119:97).
“So foolish was I, and ignorant; I was as a beast before thee.”
Remember this is the confession of the man after God’s own heart; and in telling us his inner life, he writes, “So foolish was I, and ignorant.” The word “foolish,” here, means more than it signifies in ordinary language. David, in a former verse of the Psalm, writes, “I was envious at the foolish when I saw the prosperity of the wicked,” which shows that the folly he intended had sin in it. He puts himself down as being thus “foolish,” and adds a word which is to give intensity to it; “so foolish was I.” How foolish he could not tell. It was a sinful folly, a folly which was not to be excused by frailty, but to be condemned because of its perverseness and wilful ignorance, for he had been envious of the present prosperity of the ungodly, forgetful of the dreadful end awaiting all such. And are we better than David that we should call ourselves wise! Do we profess that we have attained perfection, or to have been so chastened that the rod has taken all our wilfulness out of us? Ah, this were pride indeed! If David was foolish, how foolish should we be in our own esteem if we could but see ourselves! Look back, believer: think of your doubting God when he has been so faithful to you–think of your foolish outcry of “Not so, my Father,” when he crossed his hands in affliction to give you the larger blessing; think of the many times when you have read his providences in the dark, misinterpreted his dispensations, and groaned out, “All these things are against me,” when they are all working together for your good! Think how often you have chosen sin because of its pleasure, when indeed, that pleasure was a root of bitterness to you! Surely if we know our own heart we must plead guilty to the indictment of a sinful folly; and conscious of this “foolishness,” we must make David’s consequent resolve our own–“Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel.”
“Who went about doing good.”
Few words, but yet an exquisite miniature of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are not many touches, but they are the strokes of a master’s pencil. Of the Saviour and only of the Saviour is it true in the fullest, broadest, and most unqualified sense. “He went about doing good.” From this description it is evident that he did good personally. The evangelists constantly tell us that he touched the leper with his own finger, that he anointed the eyes of the blind, and that in cases where he was asked to speak the word only at a distance, he did not usually comply, but went himself to the sick bed, and there personally wrought the cure. A lesson to us, if we would do good, to do it ourselves. Give alms with your own hand; a kind look, or word, will enhance the value of the gift. Speak to a friend about his soul; your loving appeal will have more influence than a whole library of tracts. Our Lord’s mode of doing good sets forth his incessant activity! He did not only the good which came close to hand, but he “went about” on his errands of mercy. Throughout the whole land of Judea there was scarcely a village or a hamlet which was not gladdened by the sight of him. How this reproves the creeping, loitering manner, in which many professors serve the Lord. Let us gird up the loins of our mind, and be not weary in well doing. Does not the text imply that Jesus Christ went out of his way to do good? “He went about doing good.” He was never deterred by danger or difficulty. He sought out the objects of his gracious intentions. So must we. If old plans will not answer, we must try new ones, for fresh experiments sometimes achieve more than regular methods. Christ’s perseverance, and the unity of his purpose, are also hinted at, and the practical application of the subject may be summed up in the words, “He hath left us an example that we should follow in his steps.”