Reflections on ‘Walking’
My husband has recently recovered from a broken foot and has started walking again. This means that he is 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. Some may say that 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 I didn’t really feel like doing that long a walk either.
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 the time it will take. I 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, and our salvation is not static. We keep seeking, and we keep on following the Lord.
Choose How You Walk
Necessary or Just for Exercise?
Necessary – It is essential that we walk with the Lord throughout our day. We do not assign Him 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, and the only way to thrive, is by remaining in him. The way to 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
Exercise – We also need spiritual discipline. We do need 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. We need to receive and respond to the word and allow it to penetrate our heart. To be able to walk well, we need to train and develop a spiritually healthy heart. It does not come naturally, our emotions can so easily deceive us, which is why we need to give time to read the word. And then to pray over the word, meditate and reflect on the word, so that it permeates your very being!
Purpose Driven or for Pleasure?
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 only by God. 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
God’s word is where He reveals to us His character. 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. 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 when we are purpose driven, we fix our eyes on our destination. And we know the promise of God’s grace, given in answer to prayer, which will 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, and listening for His voice. This is where we see and are amazed at the wonders of His love. Then we can look to share what we have received with others, along the way!
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. Reflect on your walk with God, do you see aspects of your relationship in those images? Meditate on God’s word and what He is speaking to your heart….
Prayer – Lord our desire today is to walk with you. Help us to recognise those areas where we need to make changes. Thank you, that when we ask, it is by your grace that you do the work in our hearts, drawing us ever closer to you! Amen
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