This is the first in a series of posts about walking with God the “right way”. As background, see Worshipping God the “Right Way” (1 Chronicles 11-16). I don’t believe I am able to cover this topic comprehensively, so I am just focusing on what the Lord is showing me recently on this subject.
I will be traveling with the children of Israel from Exodus 15 to Exodus 19 for this series of posts. It may seem unusual to go to the Old Testament for this topic, but I believe there is a wealth of insight to be gained from these chapters.
All of these posts will focus on relating to God in the manner that He wants. Said in a New Testament way, we want to learn how to relate to our Head (Jesus Christ) as the Bride (the Body of Christ) in a way that honors and respects Him.
There are many ways to satisfy our own view of our relationship with the Lord without actually pleasing Him. I encourage you to consider three things to help set the stage for this series of posts.
- The Lord Does Not Demand We Have a Good Relationship
- We Have to Choose to Set our Mind on Him
- Our Role is to Submit and Respect (i.e. Fear) the Lord
1. The Lord Does Not Demand We Have a Good Relationship
13:5a love does not insist on its own way1 Cor 13:5a (LEB)
11:29 Take my yoke on you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.Matthew 11:29 (LEB)
This means you can walk with God in a way that does not please Him and you may not know it. You may be blind to your actual condition while thinking you are doing what God wants (Revelation 3:14-22).
3:17 Because you are saying, “I am rich, and have become rich, and I have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and pitiable and poor and blind and nakedRevelation 3:17 (LEB)
2. We Have to Choose to Set Our Mind on Him
This is our choice. We have to make a conscious choice to set our mind on the Lord and the things of the Lord.
2:18 Let no one condemn (i.e. disqualify) you, taking pleasure in humility and the worship of angels, going into detail about the things which he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by the ligaments and sinews, grows with the growth of God.Colossians 2:18-19 (LEB)
4:15 But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow into him with reference to all things, who is the head, Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined together and held together by every supporting ligament, according to the working by measure of each single part, the growth of the body makes for the building up of itself in love.Ephesians 4:15–16 (LEB)
This means we need to decide to pursue with diligence and endurance to get to the “right way”. We must move away from a fleshly approach and towards an approach of setting our mind on the Lord (proper spiritual approach) and focusing on Christ (our Head).
8:6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.Romans 8:6 (ESV)
3. Our Role is to Submit and Respect (i.e. Fear) the Lord
This isn’t as hard as it seems, but it isn’t “easy” either. As members of the Bride of Christ, we all (men and women alike) receive the same scriptural instruction as wives in our relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ. The instruction to wives in the Bible match with the key teachings of Jesus (see Summary of What Jesus Teaches) to the disciples.
5:21 being subject to one another out of reverence for Christ 22 —wives to their own husbands as to the Lord, 23 because the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church (he himself being the Savior of the body). 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, thus also wives should be subject to their husbands in everything.Ephesians 5:21–24 (LEB)
… and the wife must respect her husband.Ephesians 5:33b (LEB)
Note: The Greek word (Strongs 5399) for “respect” is fear. It is the same word used to describe the “fear of the Lord”.
This means that Jesus Christ is taking responsibility to sanctify us. This is what makes it “less hard”. We don’t have to figure out our spiritual growth or take control of it. We have to submit and follow. We have to do this in a proper respect (aka fear) of the Lord.
In upcoming posts, we will start by looking at the following topics which take us right back to the Old Testament. Not everyone is comfortable navigating the Old Testament for things that connect to our relationship with the Lord under the New Covenant. Paul indicates the following:
15:4 For whatever was written beforehand was written for our instruction, in order that through patient endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we may have hope.Romans 15:4 (LEB)
We will be looking closely at Exodus 15-19 at a very formative phase of the development of God’s relationship with His people as a guide for better understanding the “right way”
- Exodus 15 – Celebration after Salvation & Baptism, Healing of Bitterness, and Strengthening for the Future
- Exodus 16 – Healthy Nourishment for Growth
- Exodus 17 – Life Supply, Refreshment, and Victory over the Enemy (i.e. the Flesh)
- Exodus 18 – Man’s ways without God’s always get inserted at the beginning of a journey of relationship.
- Note: God comes back later and deals with this in the end
- Exodus 19 – Individual mutual relationship with God established
Dear Lord, sometimes things seem like too much for me. I need your help in to walk with you the right way. I know you do not demand or force me to relate to you the right way. You request it and you have given me your son, Jesus Christ, as my supply to do these things. Lord help me to set and keep my mind on you and the things of your kingdom. I need help with keeping my attention on you. I am submitting myself to you and placing myself (my life) in your hands and asking you to help me each day to continue to walk with you how you want me to do so. I do not know how to keep doing this each and every day, but I am asking for your help. I know your way is better. I know I need your help each day. I also know I do not understand what it really means to respect (i.e. fear) you properly. I do not want to have bad experiences, but a right way of relating to you is more important to me. Please help me to change my attitude to match what is best for my relationship to you.– a. layman’s prayer
Summary of What Jesus Teaches
Looking at the things that Jesus repeatedly and/or consistently says to the disciples and others we can see the following things…
|Jesus Says||The Opposite||Verses|
|Follow Me /|
Hear and Obey
|Deny Yourself /|
Take Up Your Cross
1 Peter 3:13-17
|Don’t be Afraid /|
Don’t be Anxious
|Fear (Spirit of) / |
2 Timothy 1:7
1 Peter 3:13-17
1 John 4:18
|See and Believe /|
2 Timothy 1:7
1 Peter 3:13-17
1 John 4:18
|Forgive as you are Forgiven||Bitterness /|
Two Greatest Commandments
The underpinnings of all of these items are expressed in the two greatest commandments.
22:37 And he said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment.
22:39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”Matthew 22:37–40 (LEB)
The Lord’s Prayer
In addition, here is Jesus’ recommended approach to addressing God. Do not look at this prayer for it’s wrote form of words, but go past the wrote form to the spirit of this prayer.
I believe we should perceive both the practical and spiritual aspects of each portion of this prayer. So, when it says, “Give us this day our daily bread”, I believe this is our physical food for each day and our spiritual food in the form of the Word of God being served to us by the Lord from heaven.
|Our Father who is in heaven, may your name be treated as holy.||Fear (the right kind) and respect God and His ways|
|Your kingdom come,|
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
|Your will be done, not my wants|
|Give us today our daily bread||Nourishment served by God for our spirit, soul and body for TODAY|
|Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors||Extend God’s way to others. Love your neighbor as yourself|
|Do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one||Do not fear or be anxious, trust Him to take care of you and protect you from the Enemy|
— A. Layman