—2 Chronicles 27:6 (NASB)
Here is a verse you just never see quoted by the Faith-Prosperity people who love to pull Old Testament verses out of context in their claims of a guarantee of material wealth in this life. Jotham’s accomplishment aren’t attributed to some kind of Word-Faith formula but “because he ordered his ways“. There are many people in the Bible whom God blessed materially, but none of which were not first and foremost committed to ordering their ways before Him. Spiritual faithfulness is always priority one with such biblical role models. But this simple verse also raises the issue of what, exactly, is our plan? What are we setting out to accomplish when it comes to a personal relationship with Christ?
“Ordered” literally means “to set up”, “to establish”, “to prepare”. There is nothing here even remotely hinting at anything less than a deliberate, willful action. It goes hand-in-hand with other scriptural admonitions to “seek” God in that a person determines a course of action supported from the heart, soul, and mind. The point is that the process of sanctification is not a mystical, magic process invoked randomly as God pleases. It is something we overtly determine to set up with Christ, something we go out of our way to establish with Christ, something that takes thought and preparation. It does not come about simply because it is God’s will, but because we have made it a priority of our will as well.
The English dictionary definition of “ordered” is even more enlightening in this instance, stating that it is a life marked by regularity or discipline. I am not suggesting a programmatic approach to discipleship automatically ensures the right results, but more along the lines that there has to be a daily, conscious effort on our part to work towards a deeper relationship with Him. A disciplined approach might simply be when we remain painfully aware of those areas of our life yet to consistently live in submission to His word and ways which still need to come under His spiritual order. It is alarming at times to talk with Christians whose only “plan” when it comes to Christ is to continue to regularly attend church. Is there anything about the concept of the term “ordered” that sounds like an activity irregularly applied or something only given casual thought?
In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.
—Psalm 5:3 (NASB)
Perhaps a source of our daily Christian struggles has something to do with the degree to which we’ve set our heart to consciously work in a concerted effort toward Him and not passively sit by.†††