Animals can run, climb, and stand in amazing places.
They turn and look at the camera as if to say, “What are you looking at? This is simple. Can’t you do this?”
No we can’t and we don’t want to!
God made deer, big horn sheep, and mountain goats sure-footed to live the lives he planned for them. They may rightly fear their many predators but they never fear for their feet. Their unchallenged sure-footedness can speed them away from the cheetah or the wolf and deliver them to high and safe places even the climbing leopard cannot reach.
The Christ-follower has his/her own kind of sure-footedness.
- When our feet are shod with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace, we can stand in places where those who try to walk bare-footed (without the Gospel) through life cannot.
- When the Holy Spirit sounds the alarm, we can run like the wind to flee youthful lusts, outrunning any temptation that would dare pursue us.
- When we have climbed above the danger and outrun the enemy, we can stand in high places where truth itself stretches to the far horizons.
The Word of God balances us.
The key to being sure-footed is a sense of balance. God has equipped these animals with senses of balance far beyond anything humans can achieve. Spiritually He can do the same for us. We can have an inner sense of balance based on truth, stabilizing truth. In the New Covenant the Lord promises to write His word into our hearts. This means that the truth of God is not an outward force, a philosophy forcing its way inside our minds despite our natural tendencies. This wisdom is a match for us, working from the inside out. The Word is alive in us through the enablement of the Holy Spirit giving us a sort of spiritual inner ear to help us keep our balance.
The place for the Word is already in us—our redeemed hearts—but the Word itself has to be written into our hearts. This happens as we give our attention to the Word through Bible reading and study, through teachers and preachers, and through praying the Scriptures.
The worship of God strengthens us.
A sense of balance is only good when the mountain-dwelling animal is strong in limb as well as in mind. Our spiritual stability is the strength that comes when we spend time with God. Daily worship and weekly Lord’s Day worship are times when our spiritual muscles are stretched and exercised. This is a process of emotion converging with faith producing joy—and the joy of the Lord is our strength.
This means Christ-followers can run, climb, and stand in amazing places.
Psalm 18: 21-34
The Lord rewarded me because of my righteous dealing; because my hands were clean he rewarded me; For I have kept the ways of the Lord and have not offended against my God; For all his judgments are before my eyes, and his decrees I have not put away from me; For I have been blameless with him and have kept myself from iniquity; Therefore the Lord rewarded me according to my righteous dealing, because of the cleanness of my hands in his sight. With the faithful you show yourself faithful, O God; with the forthright you show yourself forthright. With the pure you show yourself pure, but with the crooked you are wily. You will save a lowly people, but you will humble the haughty eyes. You, O Lord, are my lamp; my God, you make my darkness bright. With you I will break down an enclosure; with the help of my God I will scale any wall. As for God, his ways are perfect; the words of the Lord are tried in the fire; he is a shield to all who trust in him. For who is God, but the Lord? who is the Rock, except our God? It is God who girds me about with strength and makes my way secure. He makes me sure-footed like a deer and lets me stand firm on the heights.
Hebrews 8:10 NIV
This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.
Psalms 17:5 NIV
My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not slipped.
2 Samuel 22:31-34 NIV
“As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.
2 Timothy 2:22-26 NKJV
Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
Lord Jesus, keep me balanced today. With Your steadying hand I will not fall. Guide me with Your Shepherd’s Staff today—Your eternal, sure and certain Word. Your will for me make take to some tricky or even treacherous places where the path is narrow with deep gorges on each side of the path, but show me each footfall and keep me looking forward the heights of Your will for me. “My heart has no desire to stay where doubts arise and fears dismay.” Lord, lead me on to higher ground. I will be sure-footed all through this climb! Higher, Lord higher! Amen.
Words: Johnson Oatman, Jr.; Music: Charles H. Gabriel
1. I’m pressing on the upward way
New heights I’m gaining every day
Still praying as I onward bound
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”
Lord, lift me up and let me stand
By faith on heaven’s table land
A higher plane than I have found
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
2. My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay
Tho’ some may dwell where these abound
My prayer, my aim is higher ground.
3. I want to live above the world
Tho’ Satan’s darts at me are hurled
For faith has caught the joyful sound
The song of saints on higher ground.
4. I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright
But still I’ll pray till heaven I’ve found
“Lord, lead me on to higher ground.”
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved