I was recently talking to a friend and she shared some things that God had downloaded to her. She had been reading those verses in 1 Corinthians 9 that talk about runners in a race when God began to speak to her about order. In a race, there are certain rules that you follow in order to win: run in your lane, don’t punch a fellow runner, run forward not backward, etc. If you want to be in the race and you want to compete, you must follow the rules. These rules aren’t there to be mean or because of some arbitrary and unknown reasons, but for the good of the runners.
And our lives are the same way.
There are certain universal principles that God has put in place for us to follow. He didn’t do these things to limit our fun or dampen our creativity, but he ordered this world for our protection.
And, to me, Nehemiah 7 is the recounting of the people of God getting things in order for their good and for God’s glory.
“Also, of the priests: the sons of Hobaiah, the sons of Hakkoz, the sons of Barzillai (who had taken a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by their name). These sought their registration among those enrolled in the genealogies, but it was not found there, so they were excluded from the priesthood as unclean. The governor told them that they were not to partake of the most holy food until a priest with Urim and Thummim should arise.” Nehemiah 7:63-65 (ESV)
First off: aren’t you glad we’re no longer under the law?
These men wanted to be counted as priests but they hadn’t followed God’s rules. Though they had some of the qualifications, they didn’t check every box and then they had to be disqualified. This makes me wonder how many of us have been disqualified throughout our lives simply because we didn’t follow the rules of the race.
While we are no longer under the strict rules of the law, we are hemmed in by grace. My pastor likes to say that grace always holds you to a higher standard than the law. Grace isn’t a license for us to run amok; there’s still the order that God put in place of us to follow. Our faith isn’t an excuse for us to do nothing or do whatever we want. But the grace that we’ve received allows us to live freely and our faith in Christ can propel us to work from a place of rest.
I wonder how many visions God has given to his people (me included) that he hasn’t been able to bless because we didn’t follow the natural order that he set up. Like when we feel called to write a book but aren’t willing to put pen to paper. Or when we feel drawn to help a certain group of people but don’t get organized enough for an increase in resources to come. Or when we steward our finances unwisely so he can’t trust us with the more we’re believing for.
I wonder if there’s something that we can do today to get some things in order that the Lord wants to bless. We don’t work in order to get faith, but we work from a place of rest and grace, knowing that our belief in him is what propels us forward. Let’s honor God and others by running our race well and see what happens.
Do you tend to want to break the rules of the race? Why or why not?
Is there anything that God has been encouraging you to put in order?