Continuing from my last post, I am going to point something out in the middle of the book of Exodus. When Moses is brought before Pharoah to ask him to let his people go and worship God in the desert, Pharoah refuses. But there is a small detail easy to miss:
“The Lord said to Moses, ‘When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharoah all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.'” (Exodus 4:21)
Did you catch that? Who hardened Pharaoh’s heart? GOD did.
Now you may be asking, “Why in the world would God purposely harden Pharaoh’s heart when He could just change it instead and avoid all the plagues and devestation Moses is going to perform?” Good question.
Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart? So His glory and power would be known. True, there were probably easier ways to accomplish the task of freeing the Israelites, but God had bigger plans. God promised deliverance and he chose to fulfill his promise by revealing his strength and power to the max. Miraculous signs occurred and hearts were changed.
How does this apply to you today? Is there someone or something that seems to be standing in the way of freedom and contentment, whether your own or somebody else’s? Instead of becoming discouraged or frustrated with God, trust that He knows what he’s doing. Sometimes God allows things to happen in our lives for a bigger purpose, to reveal His glory and strength.
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs- heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:17)
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)
Galatians 5:25: “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
Keep in step, it says. Walk at the same pace with God, meaning don’t lag behind or get ahead. But what exactly does this mean? How can we prevent ourselves from lagging behind or getting ahead?
Lagging behind means we aren’t putting enough effort to stay at the same pace. Basically, this means we aren’t putting enough effort to keep up with our relationship with Jesus. If you want to prevent yourself from lagging behind, you have to continuously seek Him and yearn for His guidance. When you stop to tie your shoes in the middle of a jog with friends, you may be left behind and have to put more effort into your step to catch up. This is similar to your walk with Christ. If you stop walking with Christ, or stop to tie your shoes metaphorically speaking, you will lag behind. To regain the distance put between you and where you should be next to Him, you have to step it up. Follow His plan for you, trust in Him, become once again entirely focused on your Creator and Redeemer.
Besides lagging behind, it’s possible to get ahead. As mere humans, we don’t see the big picture that God does. We don’t always know his plans for us, the things he’s going to do in our lives, and the things he’s already doing in the present. Sometimes this may result in losing patience. When you stop trusting God’s perfect timing and plan, you may start deciding your own. You might seek relationships that isn’t part of God’s plan, you might lose sight of God’s goals and purpose for you. You might make decisions without consulting Him, you might try to take shortcuts that will probably only end disastrously anyway. This isn’t what God intended. He wants us to walk in step with Him. He wants us to trust Him.
Take an evaluation right now of where your life is headed. Are you lagging behind or getting ahead? If so, you’re not the only one. Everyday, we must remind ourselves that keeping in step with Christ is the only pace that will bring us peace and contentment, temporarily on this earth and eternally in Heaven. Don’t lose sight of where God wants you to be- right next to Him.
“In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want youto get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences.” -Ephesians 4:1-3 (the Message)