Following Jesus' Footsteps

“Seek God, all you quietly disciplined people who live by God’s justice. Seek God’s right ways...” (Zeph. 2:3, MSG)

Justice has always been on God’s mind. Recently, the prophets declared that 2016 releases a season when justice issues will be coming to the forefront, with a concern for the poor and human rights issues being emphasized.

A lifestyle of biblical justice could be simply defined as living in accordance with God’s standards and ways. When we live His “right ways,” our hearts are opened to be stirred with intercession for His justice to come to pass for others.

Our example is Jesus. In Matthew 9:35-38, we read that He went into all the cities and villages teaching, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing the sick. The gospel of the kingdom is about bringing the atmosphere of heaven into our surroundings. In heaven, people are not poor, sick, mistreated, abused, neglected or harassed in any way by Satan—the enemy of men’s souls.

Jesus was “moved with compassion” when He saw the multitudes (v. 36). He instructed the disciples to pray that the Lord would send out “laborers”—to stop the enemy’s harassment and teach people God’s ways.

A Three-Pronged Model: Intercession, Sacrifice, and Action

“… He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isa. 53:12)

Truly, intercession involves more than just prayer—intercession can be literally translated, to come between (1). So while Jesus does intercede for us at the right hand of the Father, He also gave His life as a sacrifice—and that required action (2).

Isaiah 53 reveals that with His death, He bore our griefs and sorrows that we might have joy. He was wounded and bruised that our transgressions might be removed. And He suffered stripes (blows that cut in) that we might be healed (vs. 4, 5).

But there’s also this: In allowing Himself to be led as a lamb to the slaughter without opening His mouth, by standing as a sheep before its shearers in silence—He stood in the gap for those who have no voice! He was oppressed and afflicted, suffering unjustly, that those who experience injustice might be given a voice. We are meant to be that voice!

He set us free that we might set others free. We were healed that we might be used to heal others. We exchanged our sorrow for joy that we might also comfort those who mourn. And He suffered unjustly that we might restore justice to the oppressed. (3)

Following a biblical model for compassion and justice involves three things: Intercession (prayer), Sacrifice and Action—ISA. This happens to be the abbreviation for the book of Isaiah… the book which reveals the divine model in chapter 53!

To put it another way—don’t pray for a problem you aren’t prepared to be the solution to!

Making It Personal

“… it displeased [the Lord] that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor…” (Isa. 59:15, 16)

There are so many areas you can get involved in God’s plan to restore justice. It might be defending the rights of the unborn or family values, working to rescue sex trafficking victims, or acting on behalf of the poor, widows, or orphans. (4)

My husband and I have been given a special heart for children. We’re the proud parents of four foreign-born children (now adults) whom we adopted as babies. We give regularly to ministries and networks that work with disadvantaged children, and recently even feel the Lord has released a vision to us to build an orphanage at some future time or season.

Sometimes the Lord will plant a seed for something like this generationally. It’s interesting that my mother—who’s been in heaven since I was a teenager—had a passion and heart for children. She took in foster children, adopted four as her own, and was completely captivated by the late George Müller, who founded orphanages amidst amazing stories of miraculous provision from God, as well as heavy investment of his own.

Whatever vision and direction the Lord might give you, I am convinced He will bring the provision necessary to complete the task. Recently, concerning our vision to have an orphanage, I heard the Lord say, “Don’t worry; I’ll send the funds.”

For those who respond to God’s call to engage in compassionate justice—He will supply every need! (5)

Avoiding Confusion and Counting the Cost

Many well-meaning people today are moved to activism in areas of social justice. But without a biblical standard of truth, confusion often enters in. For example, instead of working to preserve unborn life, the “right” of women to have an abortion will be championed. Instead of defending biblical standards of gender and family structure, homosexual and transgender “rights” will be promoted. And many who jump into the justice fray are missing the most important element of all—that our involvement should be motivated by God’s heart of love. (6)

God’s people, the church, ought to set the model and standard for compassionate justice. First, we should pray that those truly oppressed be set free. Then, we should ask Him to show us our part and place in His plans. And finally, we need to be willing to act. This will require the sacrifice of convenience; our time, energy, resources, comfort—and even our reputation—will at times need to be laid down.

Jesus counted the costs and then, out of love, laid down His life for mankind. Lord, help us to follow Your footsteps in doing the same. (7) Amen.

 

Endnotes


[1] See Strong’s #H6293

[2] See Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25

[3] See Isa. 61

[4] See Ps. 82:3, 4; Isa. 1:17

[5] See Phil. 4:19

[6] See 1 Cor. 13

[7] See Luke 22:42, 14:28

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Diane Lake

Diane Lake

Diane is a writer and minister ordained with Christian International Ministries. She and her husband, Allen, are co-founders of Starfire Ministries; they serve as Church Mountain and Montana Coordinators for the Reformation Prayer Network.

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