Day 45: The Walk of Faith Requires Two Feet
The Walk of Faith Requires Two Feet
Leviticus 23-24; Psalms 24 and Acts 21. We are reading through the NLT.
This is Paul’s best sermon and he does it in about 30 words. He says,
“Why all this weeping? You are breaking my heart! I am ready not only to be jailed at Jerusalem but even to die for the sake of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 21:13
Paul’s ready and determined to go into Jerusalem. There's a good reason for his friends to try and dissuade him. It’s kind of a strange story. Paul is spending some time with his friends before heading into Jerusalem. While he is there, a man with a gift of prophecy comes to him. He takes the belt off of Paul’s waist and binds his own feet and hands with this belt. He makes a prophetic declaration over Paul saying,
“So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.” (Acts 21:11)
This strange act takes place publicly with Paul, among his friends. They are afraid for him. But Paul is a good leader. He’s not going to let this prophecy dissuade him. It doesn’t delay him, cause him to run and hide. He knows there’s a fire waiting for him, and he’s going to walk into it. God had sent this message of prophecy, to brace Paul and make sure he was girded up and ready for the task. I doubt this prophecy of suffering was a surprise to Paul. This was not the first time a prophecy of suffering had been spoken over him. In fact, Jesus himself, uttered these words to Ananias of Damascus, about Paul.
But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” (Acts 9:15-16 NIV)
This vision was nothing new to Paul. it had become something he had come to expect. Paul was learning, through his obedience, that this suffering had become the instrument that God would use to take the Gospel to the known world. We see Paul suffering over and over again, through hardships, hunger, nakedness, and imprisonment. Paul says,
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. (II Cor 12:9)
Jesus was his example. Jesus was the Suffering Servant. And Paul was privileged to walk that same life of obedience and of suffering, as Jesus. Paul, from his own lips, tells us what his greatest joy in life is.
I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death,… (Phil 3:10 NLT).
Paul’s preaching his best sermon, not only to those standing around, but to us. We don’t get through this life without suffering, affliction, and threat to our own life and existence. His friends needed the sermon of Paul’s example, and so do we. Paul is about to obediently walk into the fire and that’s something we must all learn to do. We can’t run and hide, delay, ignore or deny the reality of life’s afflictions amidst God’s call on our life. Paul didn’t say it at this moment but he could have.
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, (II Cor 4:17 ESV)
Every step of this walk is totally meaningful. All the suffering up to this moment and all the suffering that lies ahead, is meaningful. In obedience to God, when we are moving forward in this life and we will suffer. It is not meaningless and absurd. Whether it is heartbreak, disappointment, failure, sickness, slander, or misunderstanding – no matter what, this light and momentary affliction is, it is producing, in us, something of eternal significance. This is Paul’s sermon.
This life of faith requires two feet to walk. We live in this tension. On one hand we go through things and we want to be healed, and delivered. We want things to work out, and God, at times, is delighted to provide, and heal and deliver. So one step of faith is asking for and seeking these things from God. But the other foot, the other step we must learn to take, is to understand that this light and momentary affliction is working out for us something of eternal importance. The life of faith is learning to live in the tension between those two desires, and truths.
More often than not, in the midst of our trouble, we forget Paul’s sermon to us here. The life of faith is a walk in the middle, in that tension, where we hold firm to the promise that God is our deliverer, healer, redeemer. He will do all that He has promised, but there might be something that He is wanting to teach us, through it. Maybe he will choose to he al you today and maybe he won’t. We know that we will receive that healing when we receive our new bodies in the resurrection. That day is coming and it is coming soon. In the meantime, whatever that affliction is that you are suffering through, it’s momentary and in the scales of eternity, it is light.
God says, I have something I want to teach you now. I need you to trust me and walk with me through it. I’ll prove myself strong in your weakness. I’ll show up. I’ll be there. I’ll be your comforter and your Father. I will be with you. Walk this walk of faith with both feet and trust him each step of the way.
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