Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Learning to Walk

Tenacious. That’s the only word to describe him.

By the time he was seven months old my grandson, Asher, was already trying to pull himself up to stand. Over and over he would attempt it, only to fall with a plop and a surprised expression. But for those few instants he succeeded and stood there, the look on his face was one of satisfied joy.

Asher

Now ten-month-olds old, Asher was learning to walk. Having two older brothers he wasn’t content to watch all the action for one more second—he was determined to be part of it! At first, all he could manage were tentative, baby steps. Most of the time he fell more often than he stayed upright, but he refused to let it stop him. A few bumps in the road were not going to deter him! His mom and dad cheered him on as he struggled, strengthening his resolve and reinforcing his motivation. Something deep inside him compelled him to keep trying, and his renewed tenacity enabled him to conquer the skill.

Asher wasn’t born knowing how to walk; it was a process of learning by trial and error. Now that he’s proficient, he loves to run everywhere!

Neither are we born knowing how to live as followers of Jesus. That, too, is a process. We start with baby steps and “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk” (1 Peter 2:2a), so that we begin to grow and develop strength. Like Asher, we may fall flat on our face as we try to figure out what it means to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). The temptation is to give up, to avoid the bumps and bruises of failure. I know; I took some pretty hard knocks. But God sends us older, more mature believers who cheer us on, encouraging us to “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus “ (Philippians 3:14). As we persist we really will improve over time. Listening to our Father’s voice encouraging us on gets a little easier. And once we have learned to “keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25) something deep inside of us will not allow us to quit, because we will never again be satisfied to sit on the sidelines and watch others engage in all the action.

I want to walk with Jesus. I want to be part of the action, because He alone is what satisfies. I won’t give up, no matter what.

Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us… Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection].                                         Hebrews 12:1-2a (amplified version)

Further reflection:

  1. Do you remember what it was like for you as a new believer?
  2. Was there ever a time you felt like walking with Jesus was just too hard?
  3. If so, how did you get past that feeling?
  4. If not, how did you manage to avoid it?

Father, I look back and see how You have been with me through every step of life. You are the one who has cheered me on when I wanted to give up. You are the only one who satisfies the deepest desires of my heart. Please help me to continue pressing on, so that I may always walk with You.

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