"The Order and the Sequence"
"Thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes, and I have walked in Thy truth" (Psalm 26:3).
David references the proper and only sequence whereby we can rightly relate to God. First, we must see His lovingkindness. Then we are empowered to walk in His truth.
"We love Him because He first loved us" (I John 4:19).
The writer of Hebrews also directs our attention to the Lord Jesus Christ, and then to the fruits of knowing our Savior and understanding the truth regarding His person and work on our behalf. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds" (Hebrews 12:2-3). Christ first affirms the Word of God, and then "the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:11). Or as the Apostle Paul taught, we work out that which God works in. "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:12-13).
Humanity long ago fell from the proper spiritual order and dynamic sequence of life, being, and doing. Adam and Eve believed the lie that "ye shall be as gods" (Genesis 3:5). By definition, gods must originate, initiate, and begin things. We possess no such capacity. Everything we do requires Someone else to first have created us, and then to sustain our being and capacity to act (whether righteously or unrighteously). "He giveth to all life and breath and all things" declared the Apostle Paul (Acts 17:25). We must be and we must breathe in order to do. Thus, in the strictest sense, even the most unbelieving rebel against God nevertheless lives not as an initiator, but as a recipient and responder to God-given existence. He may use his breath to curse his Maker. But His Maker nevertheless provides the air and lung function to do so. The unbeliever fails to see and accept this most basic truth of his being. He does not and will not see the order and sequence in which he misuses God's good gifts, but nevertheless lives and moves and has his being in the Sustainer of all things (Acts 17:25).
Believers, of course, realize at least in principle and doctrine that Christ is "before all things" (Colossians 1:17). We can be tempted, however, to think, speak, act, and relate as if He were not. Our spiritual enemies, including our own flesh, would have us return to the default position of our unbelieving days when we lived according to the lie that we are originators rather than responders. We must therefore keep our hearts close to God and His Word, and in proximity to brothers and sisters who encourage and challenge us to remember and affirm the order and the sequence. First, Divine lovingkindness known, received, and assimilated through faith in the Lord Jesus, and submission to His and Lordship and guidance. Then, our walk in His Truth, as enabled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. No other way exists wherein we may successfully walk in faith and faithfulness, even as Paul wrote to the Ephesians…
"We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works."
Weekly Memory Verse
Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.