“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and He delighteth in his way” (Psa. 37:23).
The Bible often calls the Christian’s daily pilgrimage a “walk,” and we are told to “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God,” and “if we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” When we walk, we take one step at a time. Our days are made up of “steps,” one by one, and “the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.” He delights to guide our steps, as we look to Him. And He does so by His Word. “Order my steps in Thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me,” and “hold up my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.” It is written that when “the law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.” Thus “righteousness shall go before Him; and shall set us in the way of His steps.” Let us walk each step in humble dependence upon the Lord, praying Him to “show me Thy ways, O Lord; teach me Thy paths,” knowing that “all the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies” and that “Thou wilt show me the path of life.” By His Word He shows us the right paths and steps for us, for “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
The Lord leads us a step at a time, As we look to Him through the Word; Step by step, day by day, He guideth, Until we are home with the Lord.
Every saved person has a responsibility toward every other true believer, for “we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” Therefore we are to “bear … one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” remembering both to be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints,” and to “rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep,” and to be “exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” This will cause us to seek after those “things wherewith one may edify another,” and to “look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” God’s Word tells us to “be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.” We are to “observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.” We “have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Let us then be “forbearing one another in love,” not forgetting to “be … kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
“Bear ye one another’s burdens,” Our dear Lord says to His own; It will make your heart more tender Than living for self alone.
“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature” (Col. 1:15).
Our Lord Jesus is “the image of God,” being “the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person.” He is also “the firstborn” of all creation. The word “firstborn” means either first in time or first in importance. In our Lord’s case, of course, it means first in importance or rank. As far as time is concerned, “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” He could say that “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” But He is “the firstborn” in importance or rank. The highest place of honor in the universe belongs to Him, not only as the eternal Son of God, but also as the exalted Son of Man. God “raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.” For “God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow … and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” “that in all things He might have the preeminence.”
He’s above all in heaven and earth, The One whose right it is to reign; Is He Lord of all to us e’en now, As we wait for Him to come again?
“God … hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Tim. 1:8-9).
“Salvation is of the Lord,” and we have been saved altogether by God’s grace. “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” But He has not only saved us that we “should not perish,” though this is blessedly true; He has saved us also from that eternal doom “according to His purpose.” Elsewhere we read that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” The purpose, then, for which God has called us is that we might “be conformed to the image of His Son.” The full consummation of this will be at His coming, for “we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” But even now, God is making “all things work together for good” to that end. And as we look upon our Lord in the Word, “with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, [we] are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Changed more and more into His image, As we gaze upon Him in the Word, Reflecting His likeness to others, Showing forth to them our dear Lord.
“Teach my Thy way, O Lord; I will walk in Thy truth: unite my heart to fear Thy name” (Psa. 86:11).
For the believer to “live godly in Christ Jesus,” “to walk in the Spirit, and … not fulfill the lust of the flesh,” and to “put … on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh,” there must be godly determination to know and do the will of God, well expressed in the above prayer of David: “Teach me Thy way. … I will walk in Thy truth.” “Show me Thy ways, O Lord; teach me Thy paths. Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me: for Thou art the God of my salvation; on Thee do I wait all the day.” And even when we desire to know and do His will, how fitting is the prayer to “unite my heart to fear Thy name,” for we must remember that in the saved person there is not only “the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness,” but there is also “the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” We must be able to say that “I have chosen the way of truth: Thy judgments [ordinances] have I laid before me. I have stuck unto Thy testimonies.” Thus will we find the heart united “to fear Thy name.” This will be our one purpose, and we can say with David that “one thing have I desired of the Lord,” and with Paul, “This one thing I do.”
“Unite my heart to fear Thy name,” O Thou my Saviour and Lord; I would that I might walk in truth, In obedience to Thine own Word.
“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain” (1 Cor. 9:24).
The Bible often likens the Christian life to a race, in which every believer is a participant. And “seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” If we would run so as to “obtain” a reward when we stand before Him, it will be because we are constantly looking away from ourselves and other people and circumstances, and “looking unto Jesus.” He is the Goal upon which the eyes of the runner must be steadfastly fixed. “I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” With Paul, may we be able to say that “I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Let us run with patience the race, Looking to Jesus our Goal, Until we shall look on His face And walk on the streets of gold.
“I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee” (Isa. 41:13).
It is said that the Word of God contains enough “fear nots” or the equivalent to give us a new one for each day of the year. Why are there so many? Is it not because fear is so common among God’s people? It is indeed good to be able to say, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid,” but there are times, many of them, when we need His Word to “fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.” Our Lord wants us to have peace in our hearts at all times and under all circumstances, and peace is the opposite of fear and worry. He said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you. … Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” It is His never-changing presence with us that calms our fears. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee,” so “I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me.” He has said that “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest,” and, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
“I will fear no evil” or hurt, For “Thou art with me” each hour, Leading “in paths of righteousness,” And keeping me by Thy power.
“This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoreth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me” (Matt. 15:8).
Could our text be true of any of us, as it was with Israel when Isaiah (29:13) spoke it and when our Lord quoted it to the Jews of His day upon earth? We live in a day when there is much profession of lip, but little godliness of life. Churchanity has taken the place of Christianity in many quarters. The name of the Lord is often heard, but the manifestation of Him in the life is too little seen, for “they say, and do not.” Such “profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him.” Assuredly, “my brethren, these things ought not so to be.” We who know the Saviour “have received mercy … [and ought to] have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” May it not be true of us that “they hear Thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.” So “be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
Professing to know the Lord Jesus, Yet living for time and for men, What will it mean when we see Him Whose blood has redeemed us from sin?
“Thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, charity, patience” (2 Tim. 3:10).
Notice that Paul mentions his “doctrine” before he speaks of his “manner of life.” In fact, his “manner of life” came as a result of his “doctrine,” that which he believed. Let none of us make the foolish and unscriptural statement, so often heard, that it matters not what we believe, as long as we live right. The fact is that we cannot live right unless we believe right, and we cannot believe right unless we indoctrinate ourselves with the Word of God. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Before the Word of God reproves, corrects and instructs us, we must know its doctrine—we must know what it teaches. “God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” So “give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine,” being “rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving,” and “hold fast the form of sound words.”
Taught from God’s Word by His Spirit, The truth that has made me free, From sin’s dominion and power, That praise unto Him might be.
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up” (James 4:10).
God greatly desires that the believer “be clothed with humility,” and this must be genuine, that which will stand “in the sight of the Lord,” not the put-on “voluntary humility” of one “vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.” Humility is just the opposite of pride and haughtiness, and “before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honor is humility.” Verily “pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” He “whose name is Holy” says that “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” For “whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” That being the case, “humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” And how do we thus “humble [ourselves] under the mighty hand of God”? The succeeding verse tells us. It is by “casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” When we do this, we are confessing that we ourselves cannot handle our cares, and we will find that “He giveth more grace … unto the humble.”
Humble yourself in His presence, That blessing from Him you may know; His grace He will pour upon you, For grace He does love to bestow.