My husband has recently recovered from a broken foot and has started walking again, by which I mean going out for longer walks rather than just hobbling around the house. We are blessed that we can go for a hike straight from home, on country lanes and open cliff paths along the coast. Yesterday, on quite a warm day he decided he was going to do an eight mile, three hour, walk over the mountain – it is more of a hill really, but still quite hard work. I did have a valid reason why I could not go with him, but to be honest I did not really feel like doing that long a walk. It got me thinking about walking though and our motivation for doing it – I quite easily identified four different types of walkers, although there may be many more!
- Necessary – walking is not a conscious choice; it is not something I choose to do, it is just part of life.
- Exercise – I am counting my daily steps as part of my health and fitness programme, so I walk whenever I can to reach my target.
- Purposeful hiker – I love a challenge and going somewhere new. I prepare well, I know my exact route, the length and time it will take and make sure that I am equipped with everything I need.
- Pleasure or leisure stroller – I enjoy walking with friends when I have the time – it is more about the company, than where we are going.
I am more of a four, and my husband is definitely a two – he has one of those watches that tell your heart rate, the distance you’ve walked, the time it’s taken and even how many calories burned! Maybe you recognise yourself as one of those walking types?
In scripture walking is frequently used as an image to represent our behaviour, as believers, in our relationship with God. We recognise that we are on a journey of faith, our salvation is not static, we keep seeking, and we keep on following the Lord. Without taking the analogy too far, we need aspects of all four of those ‘walking’ images in our response to God, and his call on our life.
Choose To Walk in Love
Necessary – It is essential that we walk with the Lord throughout our day, that he is not assigned to just a part of our day or week but that we abide in him. Jesus taught that the only way for us to be fruitful, the only way to thrive is by remaining in him, and the way that we do that is through obeying his commands. And his command is that we love one another, that we walk in the way of love, even as he did.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”Ephesians 4:32-5:2
Choose to Walk in the Word
Exercise – We also need spiritual discipline, to set in place those practices for maintaining a healthy heart, so that we can keep in step with the Spirit. Our desire for a relationship with the Lord does not come from head knowledge alone, but from receiving and responding to the word and allowing it to penetrate our heart. To be able to walk well, we need to train and develop a spiritually healthy heart, as it does not come naturally, our emotions can so easily deceive us. It requires giving the time to read the word, pray over the word, meditate and reflect on the word, so that it permeates your very being!
Purpose driven – To walk in the way of the word requires godly determination. There can be challenges along the way, which take us out of our comfort zone, to places that we never thought we would visit. This is when we need to know the truth of the word, and be listening to God’s voice and not our feelings. We may have a plan, but the exact route is known by God, and we place our confidence in his word, rather than our feelings, which will prevent us from straying off the path and losing our way.
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.Psalm 119:105
Choose to Walk in the Wide Place.
God’s word is where he reveals to us his character, and so we seek to know him through his word. It is there that we find our assurance of his love and grace towards us, our identity and security, that enables us to walk in freedom, in the wide place. This is not always an easy journey, we may be called to love sacrificially, there may be trials that will test our fitness and endurance but we have the promise of God’s grace, given in answer to prayer, to uphold and enable us to stay on the path.
“I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts.”Psalm 119:45 ESV
Pleasure – To walk with God is our delight, the desire of our heart and the joy of our soul. Our walk with God, should always be about the privilege of the experience. Spending time in the presence of God, listening for his voice, seeing and being amazed at the wonders of his love – and being able to share that with others, along the way!
Walk in the good way – in the way of love, in the word of God and in the wide open space of his grace!
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