The Movement Church of San Antonio

God Before You

For many years now I've been fascinated with the promise in the Old Testament where God says, "I will go before you." Like many of you reading this, I love all His promises, but this strikes me as one of the greatest, if not the most practical.

Deut. 31:8 (NIV) The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Wherever I go, I try to be conscious of the fact that God has already arrived there first. If I have something hard to do in front of me, I imagine God standing there with a sledge hammer. If there are enemies lying in wait for me around the corner, I picture them running into the God first.

God does so much before us and without us being present that it’s hard to imagine what life would be like had He not intervened. I believe there will come a day when all of this will be revealed and explained to our complete understanding. Perhaps our Father will treat us to a private screening in His throne room where all the significant events in our lives flash before us. In that setting, as He wipes every tear from our eyes, He will reveal how He “worked everything together for good…” Rom. 8:28.

One of the greatest challenges in our Christian walk is being conscious of this reality moment by moment. It takes faith to believe this when it feels like the exact opposite is happening. One thing is for certain, God going before us doesn’t mean that everyone will be kind, appreciative and encouraging to us throughout the day. People may curse us and persecute us for reasons that we have great difficulty understanding. You may have given your best but received their worst.

So where was God?

He was there. He saw it coming. And He let it happen anyway. That makes us wonder “Why?” Personally, I’ve only found one answer to this question that has satisfied my heart and understanding. The reality is that God didn’t even spare His own Son when He was nailed to the cross, Rom. 8:32. Jesus was crucified on our behalf, and in that, He behaved so Christlike. “For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross…” Heb. 12:2.

That word “joy” takes the wind from my lungs. The most amazing people I know are the ones who are crucified by the world or by circumstances and still behave like Christ anyway. It’s like they have this supernatural power to overcome whatever evil forces operate against them.

So it has dawned on me of late that this is what it means for the Spirit of God to go before us. In the moment, God gives us the choice and the ability to behave like His Son. More than anything else, this is what the watching world needs to see from us.

There is nothing that will diffuse the power of evil like a believer who behaves like his crucified Lord in the midst of a personal crucifixion. It’s as though Satan points the gun at your head, but it backfires on him when he pulls the trigger.

Yes, God goes before you. In fact, He is in you. There is “no weapon formed against you that will succeed,” Is 54:17. “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world,” 1 John 4:4. “We are more than conquerors,” Rom. 8:37. So arise and shine, and give God the glory, for…

“I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron,” Is. 45:2 (NIV)

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James Shupp, Lead Pastor of The Movement Church of San Antonio