“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25).
Did you waste years before you repented and surrendered all to Jesus? You may think, “I could have been so much deeper in Christ. I could have brought so much joy to his heart. I can never make up all those wasted years.”
We all want to make up to God our lost years, to make amends and repay him. But he says, “I will make it up to you! You can’t repay me for a single wasted hour, so walk before me in righteousness and turn from your sins. I will make up all the losses, regardless of whether they are yours, your family’s or others.”
To repentant sinners, the Lord declares, “Fear not … be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done marvelous things!” (Joel 2:21).
You do not need to be ashamed of your wasted years. You were born for his eternal purposes. He planned for you a life of satisfaction, joy and usefulness in his kingdom, but God’s plan for your life was interrupted by the devourer.
But now, in Christ, all is new! The Lord goes back to the day the locust came and he starts counting again from the moment you repented. All those blessings you missed were stored up, and all the joy and peace you thought gone forever were actually kept by the Lord.
Paul said, “Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
You may feel pangs of remorse for your wasted time, and memories will keep you humble, but in God’s eyes, your past is a dead issue. Your loving Father says, “Forget the past and press on to what I have promised you.”
In the Old Testament, we read the story of Hezekiah, king of Judah, who received a letter from the devil. Sennacherib, king of Assyria signed it, but it was directly from hell. Sennacherib means “man of sin” and he represents Satan, the god of this world.
In contrast, Hezekiah was a godly man; “[Hezekiah] trusted in the Lord God of Israel … The Lord was with him; he prospered wherever he went. And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him” (2 Kings 18:5, 7). The “man of sin” was out to destroy Hezekiah because he would not serve him — and that is the very reason Satan will attack you. When you put your life wholly in the hands of the Lord, watch out!
Are you in a mess right now — in really deep trouble? Has the devil told you God is not going to rescue you, that your faith is too weak or too little, and you are as good as dead? You hear the devil laughing, “In spite of all your love for Jesus, in spite of doing the right things and trusting in God, you are destined to fail.”
The devil’s slickest trick is to make you believe God has forsaken you and turned you over to trouble and sorrow. He wants you to think all your problems are the result of God’s punishment for your past sins — but don’t believe it! Satan is out to destroy you, but our Lord is a deliverer, a fortress. Isaiah says that he is sent “to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified” (Isaiah 61:3).
You are not going down! You are simply under attack and being barraged by the enemy’s lies because you have set your heart to trust in the Lord. Satan wants to destroy your faith in God. But the Lord is set to defend and deliver you. Let this sink deep into your heart. “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them” (Psalm 34:7).
Over and over, David testified, “In the Lord I put my trust” (Psalm 11:1). The Hebrew root-word for trust suggests “to fling oneself off a precipice." That is, to be like a child who hears his father say, “Jump!” and who confidently obeys, throwing himself off the edge and into his father’s arms.
That is one aspect of trust. In fact, you may be in that place even now — on the edge, teetering, wanting to fling yourself off into the arms of Jesus. You may have resigned yourself to your situation and called it trust, but that is no more than numbness. Trust is much more than passive resignation. It is active belief.
Many of us limit our trust to a rescue operation as if to say to the Lord, “I trust you to come and put out all my fires, save me from all my troubles, and deliver me out of all my trials. I know you will be there, Lord, when I need you.” In doing this, we think our faith is stretched and pleasing to God. We don’t realize that we are crediting the devil with being the causer and the Lord as the reactor. This viewpoint makes God seem like he simply reacts to all the devil’s well-laid plans. But our God never reacts — he initiates!
The trusting heart says, “All my steps are ordered by the Lord, and he is my loving Father. He permits suffering, temptation and trial but never more than I can bear, for he always makes a way of escape. He has an eternal plan and purpose for me. He has numbered every hair on my head. He knows when I sit, stand or lie down. I am the apple of his eye! He is my Lord — not only of my life, but over every event and situation touching my life.”
Dearly beloved, that is trust! Look to him today with a trusting heart and be assured that — without a doubt — God has everything under control.
It is possible to walk before the Lord with a perfect heart! God said to Abraham, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be thou perfect” (Genesis 17:1, ASV).
David determined in his heart to obey this command and said, “I will behave wisely in a perfect way … I will walk within my house with a perfect heart” (Psalm 101:2).
We see the Lord’s command to be perfect in the New Testament as well when Jesus said, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
Perfection does not mean a sinless, flawless heart. After all, David was said to have had a perfect heart toward God, yet he failed the Lord often. His list of sins included adultery and murder.
The basic definition of perfect is: completeness, maturity. In the Hebrew and Greek, the definition includes uprightness, being without spot, totally obedient. It also means to finish what is started: a complete performance.
The perfect heart is a responsive heart. It quickly and totally answers the Lord’s wooings, whisperings and warnings. This heart says at all times, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears. Show me the path and I will walk in it.” Christ commits himself to those who walk before him with a responsive, listening heart.
The perfect heart also wants the Holy Spirit to come and shine into the hidden parts; to expose all that is unlike Christ. This heart cries out with David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me” (Psalm 139:23-24).
As you share sweet fellowship with him, he will continually prepare you to come into his holy presence as a clean, pure vessel — creating in you a perfect heart.
The word “glory” can be used in several ways. For instance, we talk about the glory coming down in a church; the weightiness of the Spirit in our midst, like a thick cloud. It is deep and magnificent. Also, one day, we will all be going to glory — heaven. Hallelujah! And you have glory within you! Even while you were being formed in your mother’s womb, God’s glory was breathed into your being.
Joseph was a man who recognized the glory of God within him. He told his brothers, “So you shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that you have seen” (Genesis 45:13). Joseph’s prominence alone did not bring him glory; he recognized that he was fulfilling God’s purpose. He lived a life of integrity and faithfulness as God elevated him to power.
As a teenager, Joseph had a dream that his brothers were going to one day bow before him. This seemed highly unlikely when, out of jealousy, they ruthlessly threw him into a pit and left him to die. He was rescued, but became a slave before eventually being promoted to a position of leadership within the house he served. However, he was stripped of his position and thrown into prison for a season before finally being promoted to second in command by Pharaoh (see Genesis 41:42-44).
When Moses blessed the children of Israel before his death, he said of Joseph: “Blessed of the Lord is his land … Let the blessing come ‘on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers’” (Deuteronomy 33:13, 16). This blessing was not just a prayer of Moses; it was the heart of God.
Likewise, you have the glory of God resident in you. “You have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7, ESV). How wonderful to know that you do not have to wait until you get to heaven to experience God’s glory.