PSA 143:10 ESV
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!
Yes, God wants us walking on stable and level ground, metaphorically/spiritually speaking, that is.
Yes, we will encounter challenges, valleys, mountaintops – but those are the struggles and circumstances of the world around us – and our circumstances are not where our feet should be securely planted. (John 16:33)
When our feet are planted spiritually upon the rock of Jesus Christ, trusting in His promises, seeking Him and walking faithfully, we will find ourselves walking upright on a level and firm foundation. Even when the world rocks and shakes around us, it shouldn’t affect the footing of a faithful believer. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
So when I find myself being shaken by my circumstances, I have to ask myself –
Am I standing on the firm and level foundation of a life completely trusting in God for everything? Or do I let doubt occasionally creep in and make itself at home in a place where it should not be welcome or tolerated? (Matthew 14:31)
Hope is not the same thing as belief.
Hope is living with doubt in our lives, not yet trust fully in the Lord, but trying to get there.
Hope is the infancy of belief, it is the seed of belief not yet matured. (James 1:5-8)
When we only have hope, we might be seeking answers, we might be seeking proof, we might not yet know how to trust God because we don’t yet really know Him. It’s like the difference between dating someone for the first few times compared to having lived as a married couple for decades. Trust is built up over time. (Hebrews 11:1-40)
Hope is good, it’s even great – because without Hope, without SEEKING first – we might never FIND faith, trust, and belief. And a faithful life is Hope that has been spiritually planted in Christ and that is alive and growing, sinking its roots deep into the soil. (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
Faith is that place where doubts are overcome, where our hearts are surrendered to relying on the Truth of the Word of God instead of relying upon our own understanding alone. It seems quite contrary to the logical and intellectual pays off me that wasn’t too size everything up, categorize it, and sorry it into the appropriate box. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
But Almighty God is so much greater than something we could compare to earthly things. The most beautiful and amazing thing on earth is only a dim shadow of His full glory. Can’t we understand that a creator God that can walk on water, heal people, create the cosmos – that His ways would be so far above and beyond our own ways and understanding. (1 Corinthians 15:40-41
So at some point, we give up trying to completely understand God, and that either results in belief or in disbelief. if we believe, we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
And this belief, this faith, it shifts our focus from self to God – and we are changed, we are renewed, we are born again into a life that is driven by a whole new set of motivating forces in our lives. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
And when we believe, we learn and put into action the precepts and instructions that He has for our lives. We are enabled and empowered to do this by the gift of the Holy Spirit that comes to live in us – to guide us, teach us, comfort us, convict us, and overcome sin in our lives. (John 14:16, John 15:26, John 16:7)
Belief does not come without change, because belief is a change on the inside that should result in a change on the outside. (Romans 22:1-2, 2 Corinthians 5:17)
Religious practice focuses on the outward and visible things – go to church, talk about God, tithe, donate to charities, pray, study the Bible, serve. And these things help us to know where we are in our walk, but they are not belief, nor do they contribute to salvation. Because if we do these things out of obligation, we aren’t yet standing on the firm and level foundation. It is when we believe, that these things become a way for us to draw closer to a God that we love and appreciate – to better understand His nature and His ways and His purpose for our lives. (Matthew 6:1-34)
It is in this faithful walk that we find love. Because He loved us first. Not some lustful emotion, but an unending, unconditional, and sacrificial love that lifted us up. And when we know this love, and we possess it – it isn’t something that we hide away in a box. No, once we know love, we want others to know love too – because we see His example, and we want to be like Him. In fact, by spending time in His presence and under his tutelage, we become more like our teacher. (1 Corinthians 10:31, Ephesians 5:1-33)
And then we know Love. Agape love. Unending, unconditional, sacrificial love. (1 John 4:19)
And if we don’t have love, we don’t have anything. (1 Corinthians 13:2-3)
But if we have love, we will live a fruitful life. Sharing these fruits of the Holy Spirit with others. (Galatians 5:22-23)
So let’s not remain in fruitless lives empty and dead without love in our hearts. (James 2:14-26)
Let’s not be satisfied to remain with only Hope, but let’s seek first the Kingdom of God and find ourselves believing and trusting in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – letting Him prove himself a faithful and true friend. (Matthew 6:33)
But let’s also not compare our current portion of faith to others, so that we won’t be tempted to either boast of ourselves or be envious of another – but let’s encourage and equip one another, trusting that God has me right where He needs me to be for my next step up – I just need to keep stepping up every day, every moment. (2 Corinthians 10:12)