Step Four: Practice Achieving God’s Present Wants
God doesn’t always get his way in the here and now. I know that may seem like an off-the-wall crazy statement at first glance, but consider this. We live in a broken world where redemption is possible, but we are awaiting that universe-shaking moment when God will restore and make all things new. Even while living in a fallen world where we are redeemed but not yet restored, God has desires for his people. The season of redemption offers us so many incredible opportunities, many of which hinge on our obedience.
Therefore, the last step in a life that enjoys a rhythm of renewal is seeking out those opportunities to fulfill God’s desires in the here and now. A life seeking happiness and contentment based on what would my life look like if I received everything I desire, will only lead to disappointment. On the other hand, the person who dares to let their life be a response to what would it look like if God’s desires were met through my life’s journey, will live renewed because they are pleasing God. A life given away to the service of God is never wasted.
This rhythm of renewal affords us the opportunity to live the best possible version of our lives in the here and now. Before moving on, we need an image in our heads of how Jesus’ love and his patience guides us to the beginning place.
The love of Jesus will guide you to the beginning place, and his grace is sufficient enough to keep all of us there. But while his grace is sufficient, it also serves as the greatest of motivations for us to do our part. We are prone to drift, so we have to win the battle in our lives every day to listen to the right voice. The voice of our heavenly Father who whispers his love for us on every page of the Scriptures, and in each painted sky or glorious starlit night.
As the late Reverend Ralph Spaulding Cushman once penned:
I never climb my hilltop
But I find that God is there,
Nor watch the windblown clouds, but that
His voice is in the air.
I know I cannot see His face Nor touch a warming hand,
But God is on my hilltop, And there’s glory in the land.
I have attempted to paint a picture that shows how God offers his best to us, Jesus, in the beginning. And because he offers his best right out of the gate, we are then invited to live our lives in that beginning place. It is not a place divorced from pain or problems, but it is a place filled with the presence of our Savior. This is why we can confidently cling to the idea that God’s provision for our lives is God’s presence in our lives. The preceding thoughts have sought to convey the spirit in which we should live our lives. The entire idea of “the beginning place” mirrors the narrative that is the Bible, particularly focusing on the creation narrative and redemption.
The late J. I. Packer, who impacted millions through his writing ministry with such classics as Knowing God, penned it this way: Creation and covenant together give God a double claim on our obedience. They claim springs, you might say, from both paternity (fatherhood in the sense of creatorship) and matrimony (the covenant relationship).
Excerpted from Ten Steps to Your Best Life published by B&H Publishing Group.