Encouragement for Today
“One Foot In”
Van Walton, Director of Spanish Ministries, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
Matthew 6:24, "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (NKJV)
As I walked the beach one chilly day in late winter, my mind wandered to the birds that spent their lives by the ocean’s side. Particularly I noticed the gulls standing and shivering in the puddles dotted here and there. To me it seemed obvious that the water was very cold. Isn’t that why the feathered hunters stood on only one leg? Having two feet in the water would have increased their discomfort. But they persisted in standing in the cold water on one foot. They wanted their comfort and what little morsels the tiny pools of water had to offer. Why didn’t they just take one step aside and stand firmly on solid and comfortable ground? They could still hunt and peck in the luscious pools.
Those gulls wanted to be as close to the tiny crabs, clams, and sea morsels as they could be, so they insisted on standing in the middle of the puddles. But doing so caused them great discomfort so they only allowed one little foot to be chilled while they warmed the other deep in the folds of their feathers. Really! How relaxing could that stance be? I wanted to go up to each little bird and plant it, with both feet, on dry, solid ground. But how could I be dictating their life when I so often justify how I stand - one foot in the pool of life while looking to justify placing the other foot in God’s will?
Too often I want to live in the world and, at the same time, stand on God’s grace. I am drawn to what the world has to offer, but I also want God’s unconditional love, His pardon for my sins, His eternal blessings and peace that come from walking with Him.
On the days I stand with one foot in the world, I spend more time in front of the television than I should. The news I watch depresses me. Programs I click through agitate me. Show hosts attempt to mislead me. In disgust, I click off. I bring in the mail and leaf through the many catalogs that point out all my short-comings … The living room would be more elegant and fashionable with more throw pillows and new window treatments. The dining room could use a bit of life. My neglected back yard could use a few more flowers, exotic ones at that. The boys need more educational games. I would love a diamond bracelet … The gorgeous models on those slick pages, dressed in the latest, expensive fashions, certainly do not bring contentment to my day, either! After five catalogs and a lost hour, I toss them away when I feel my self-esteem begin to plummet.
Other days, I place both feet in God’s will. I pour over my Bible study, amazed at God’s ways and what I am learning about my heavenly Father. I spend time in prayer, comforted by His Spirit. I encourage a neighbor and teach parenting at the Pregnancy Care Center, surrounded by eager-to-learn young mothers. I make sure my house is a peaceful respite for my family when they pour in at the end of the day.
Watching the gulls I thought, “You silly birds! Find a place where you can stand confidently and comfortably on both feet.” Holding that thought I realized, “You silly girl! Don’t move from that solid place where you can safely and surely plant both feet.”
My Prayer for Today:
Gracious Father, I am sure you stand in heaven and watch me as I tiptoe around in the world, looking to place myself here where I see pretty things and there where I experience warm fuzzies. Forgive me for forgetting that there is only one place for my feet. My hope, my desires, and my longings belong firmly centered in Your Son. Jesus is all I need. He is my solid comfort, Who gives me all I need. Keep me on the solid Rock.
Consider that standing firmly on solid ground promises:
- less stress
- more freedom
- deep comfort
- great peace
- soaring confidence
Make a list of those things of the world that lure you toward them, but that do not offer eternal spiritual benefits.
What satisfaction would you rather experience: the fleeting pleasures of the chaotic world or the eternal peace of godly wisdom?
What daily habits can you begin to practice so that you may find yourself serving God only and experiencing his blessings profoundly?
Exodus 34:14, “You must worship no other gods, but only the LORD, for he is a God who is passionate about his relationship with you.” (NLT)
Leviticus 19:4, “Do not put your trust in idols or make gods of metal for yourselves. I, the LORD, am your God.” (NLT)
Joshua 24:15, “But if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.” (NLT)
John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (NAS)
Philippians 4:19, “And with all his abundant wealth through Christ Jesus, my God will supply all your needs.” (GNT)
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst
Message of the Month Club, Proverbs 31 Ministries
Originally published Thursday, 07 April 2005.