March 1st 2020: Gaius Douglas

Gaius-March19The Steps of a Surrendered Life

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.”

Psalm 37:23

The steps of a man are established of the lord. Seven steps are identified in studying the scriptures of the surrendered life of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our thoughts are often on ourselves. We are saved by His grace yet so often we go from ourselves to compare to the Lord Jesus Christ, but we should go to the Lord Jesus Christ and see how we measure up to Him.

We see Christ, a surrendered life to the glory of His Father, always living, always abiding in the presence of His Father, God. When we are studying the Word of God, Augustine said, The Old (Testament) is in the New (Testament) revealed.” If the Bible is the only book you ever read, this is all you need to know because the Spirit of God is your teacher. You will know everything you need to know about God. How often Jesus quoted from the Old Testament.

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way.” (Psalm 37:23). Who is the man? It is not the unbeliever, it is the believer in Christ, the person who is being established in God. The world hates the believer in Christ. The world has to come to Christ. The Bible says, “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world,” (John 17:14).

In everything you do, if you know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, you know God is the one who is in control, directing your ways, “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps,” (Proverbs 16:9). So often we plan this and that. Afterwards we add the strap line, ‘God willing.’ Shouldn’t we have gone to God first? God allows it. There is a well-known quote, Man proposes but it is God who disposes.‘ God opens the door, but many blessing we ignore because we turn away from His path. We say no and shut the door on God. He is gracious and opens it again, but again we say no. When He opens the door are you willing to walk through it?

We are who we are because of who Jesus is. He is our example, He is the one who has gone before us, who made those first steps. Now He says, ‘Are you going to follow me?’ This man is the Lord Jesus Christ. The Father sent the Son, “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Saviour of the world,” (1 John 4:14). He was the one God used to establish His way. He delighted in His Father’s words and His Father’s ways.

“Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him, Rejoicing in His inhabited world, And my delight was with the sons of men (Proverbs 8:30-31).” Who is this man? It speaks of the man Christ Jesus, who delighted in His Father’s thoughts and actions. He was daily His delight. He rejoiced in everything the Father did and said, in every aspect. His delight is you and me, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16). The Father loves us, gives us the richness of His blessings. Whatever the Father asks Him to do He will do it (Psalm 16). Who enjoys being in the presence of God? None other than the Lord Jesus Christ. There is enjoyment, excitement. The steps of the Lord Jesus Christ followed, He sought His delight in His Father.

He is the one who spoke the world into being, He came from the Father and is one with the Father, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” (John 1:1). He dwells in the bosom of the Father. Where do you dwell? Where are you living? It’s a challenge to our heart. Where we are dwelling depends on what comes out of our mouth. Our words and actions show where we are dwelling. He was dwelling in the bosom of His Father. He lived in Nazareth, played games and enjoyed life. He associated with you and me so we can’t say ‘You don’t know what it’s like on earth’ because He came! Aged twelve, He was found in a synagogue – a child teaching and debating, doing His Father’s business, dwelling in the bosom of His Father. If the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God, found it necessary to dwell in the bosom of His Father, what about you and me?

Does it mean no-one else can live this life because it is too high? Surely He allows us to slip here and there? The Lord Jesus Christ never slipped, He never allowed any latitude, “Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.  And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” (John 8:28-29). If the Lord Jesus Christ is my Saviour, my Lord, then surely He is able to bring me into the ways of Himself, “Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day,“ (Psalm 25:4-5). Without Him we can do nothing; we can’t walk one step which is pleasing to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Can we live this life?  “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,” (John 1:14). The Word became flesh. He identified with people. He wanted to save, to show them how to please His Father. He wants us to be able to call him, ‘My Father.’

So I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8). He came, became man, became like you and me  – apart from sin. He walked in this world and says, ‘You can do it because I did it.’

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” (Philippians 4:13). God says you can do it! You can walk this life because of Jesus Christ. We can look at our failings, our weaknesses, yet ‘I can do all things through Christ. “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God,” (Colossians 3:3).

We can be strengthened by Him. We are learners at His feet. Jesus called Matthew, saying ”Follow Me.” Matthew got up and followed Jesus, “As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him,” (Matthew 9:9). We don’t read anything about Matthew’s responsibilities, his family. He got up and followed Jesus. The fishermen left their nets and followed. Peter was married, loved his mother-in-law. He had responsibilities but he left and followed Jesus. James and John were with their father Zebedee but they left all and followed. Jesus says to you, to each of us, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men,” (Matthew 4:19). He is not just saying, ‘Do your very best.’ He has saved you for His glory, His honour, His blessings. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” (1 Peter 1:3). After Jesus met the woman at the well she preached immediately. She was so full of energy!

“The steps of a man are established by the Lord,” (Psalm 37:23). The Lord Jesus Christ identified with us in coming into this world. He established steps. How can we follow? Remember where He went and how He went. As we come around the Lord’s Table, remember He came down from glory, went lower down to death. In becoming a Christian He is asking us to death. We have to die; there is death to things of the past in exchange for life in Christ. He was baptised into death. “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God,” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

We are now washed, sanctified. Christ’s death on Calvary’s Cross has washed and clothed us, made us righteous, a son of God. We are sanctified, set apart, for His glory, honour and praise because Christ has done it. You have been justified. God has declared it so. We are no longer condemned. You are one in Christ. You have everything necessary to follow Him. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. It happens at re-birth, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,” (Ephesians 2:1).

Jesus wants you to join Him, share in His glory, all the things the Father has given Him.

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