There isn’t any one of us that hasn’t experienced a “crisis” in our walk with the Lord. When it happens, it’s always unnerving and shakes up our personal status quo. And the impact is always significant because, let’s face it, we seek stability in our life and spend a lot of time trying to protect it. The truth is, most of us don’t like “change” unless that change is predictable and planned for, and a crisis is not predictable change. When the protective structure that we have built around ourselves breaks down due to a crisis (internal or external), that’s when panic rears its ugly head.
I spent a lot of time thinking about this as I was studying Psalm 25, reflecting on the crisis David was facing and how he responded. I was especially drawn to several verses in which David revealed his heart; revealed his foundation.
Ps 25:1-2 Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. 2 O my God, I trust in thee…
In his crisis, David immediately shows us exactly what our response should be in our crisis… he lifts up his soul in trust in the Lord. His first thought is to turn to the Lord in trust and focus on what he needs to help him through the crisis:
Ps 25:4-5 Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. 5 Lead me in thy truth…
David asks God to “show” him His ways, and that will only come by revelation. David wants God to make known His ways, which he is unable to discern by himself. For David, the Word of the Lord through Isaiah underlined his response.
Isa 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
But just knowing God’s ways isn’t enough for David, and it isn’t enough for us. We need Him to teach us the paths that we need to walk down, and then we need to wait for Him to lead us. His ways are our ways only if we walk in them. and we can’t walk in them if we don’t know the direction we are to take. And His showing, teaching, and leading us in His ways are the foundation of what we have been discussing for the past few weeks… being conformed into His image (Rom 8:29). We are to imitate Jesus, and that means especially in our times of crisis. Jesus is “always” the path we are to take, and when we see His way we are to walk in it; being led by His Holy Spirit. That is discipleship.
When you study this verse in Hebrew you get the sense that David is asking God to tread or march him in the truth that is revealed to him. He wants God to teach him as he goes along the way. And, if we put that in context, there are a couple of key truths revealed for us when we find ourselves in a crisis like David.
What we need is for God to teach us His Truth; His Word. And that can only happen if we are obedient to the leading of His Spirit in the midst of our crisis… we are to “do” His truth. One commentator put it this way: Biblical truth is to done, to be obeyed. The separation of the mind from the will is deadly. To believe the Word of God, and to think the Word of God is not enough. We must do God’s Word, or we are self-deceived. If we follow David’s pattern in our crisis, we will experience the same thing that he did. God delivered him in order for God to manifest His character and His will through him. The very thing that Jesus wants to do through us; reveal the righteousness that He has given us to those around us… especially in the midst of our crisis.
And here is something that I have learned along the way. True discipleship in my life has always seemed to begin with a crisis. When the crisis breaks our life wide open, we are immediately faced with fear and desperation. But when that happens, we need to remember that fear and desperation are the opening God uses to teach us His ways. And our obedience to His leading through the crisis is what changes us and conforms us into His image; crisis by crisis. That is true discipleship, the breaking of our pride and self-dependence and replacing it with His mercy and grace.
As we obediently submit to the Lord’s “revealing, teaching, and leading,” we will find His way (our way) through our crisis. And as a result of His discipleship, we will find ourselves being healed and transformed into His image by the power of His Spirit so that we can share His message and exhibit His ministry.
That is Decisive Discipleship!