02 May, 2015

Learning to Walk

I'm sure that every parent will tell you that one of the highlights in their life as a parent was when their son or daughter took their first steps. My kids are 24 and 21 and I still remember vividly the first time I saw them walk. I remember the joy that filled my heart, and how we celebrated and had them to repeat those steps over and over, picking them up when they fell and coaxing them to try again when they fell. Their steps were awkward, unbalanced and there were bumps and bruises along the way. There were tears... and there was laughter. And the one thing that stands out to me today, more than 2 decades later is that Daniel and Ashley's first steps and the process of learning to walk was not something they did on their own, it was a family... even a community event as everyone involved in their young lives took an active role, encouraging them, helping them, holding their hands to help them along and steady them and in celebrating their first and earliest steps as they learned to walk. The funny thing is, no one ever says to them today, "Way to go! Look at you walk! You can do it!" Why is that? Because they've learned to walk. They've got this and today, they seldom fall. They may trip, stumble or even fall, but today they know that the pain of falling is temporary, so they get up, learn from what ever caused them to stumble and walk on. This is how life works.

Can I tell you today, that's how it is supposed to be in the spiritual realm as well? Learning to walk by faith presents similar challenges along the way. As we surrender your life to Christ and begin the faith walk, we take some pretty unbalanced and wobbly steps and we fall down. We bump into challenges and obstacles that altar our steps, cause us to stumble or even to fall. At this stage, we desperately need those around us in the family of God who are there to help pick us up, encourage us and tell us that we can do it. The thing that I believe many fail to see is that none of us are born with the knowledge or understanding of how to "walk with God." It is a learning and growing process. The Bible is filled with stories of men like David, Moses, Noah, Peter, Joshua and many others who at times stumbled and fell... they had to learn how to walk by faith. But they did not give up, and neither did God give up on them! 

Could you imagine a parent watching their child taking his first steps and seeing them fall turn away from their child and say, "I give up! They can't walk!" Of course not. Likewise, God does not give up on us when we falter, stumble or fall. He helps us to get up and encourages us to do it again... and again... and again. The thing is, (and this is where so many miss it) is that as we learn this faith walk, our steps are supposed to take us further and further away from sin and things and people that causes us to stumble and fall. As I said before, people don't look at my 24 year old son and say, "Look at you go! You didn't fall one time today!" No, has "perfected" his walk, and aside from some unexpected hole or something to trip him up, he has grown to the place to where he does not fall. He has developed an insight within him to where he can perceive things that might make him fall and he avoids them. But spiritually speaking, the modern day church has built in an excuse so that we can remain in that toddler stage with no expectation of growth or perfection.  Crafty preachers and teachers have perverted the gospel with a misrepresentation that tells people that it's OK to keep falling over and over, tripping over the same thing again and again. This is not what God's grace is all about. God's grace is that when we fall, He picks us up and encourages us to try it again. But with that grace comes an expectation that we learn from it and either avoid that pitfall or remove it from our path so that we do not continue to trip over it again and again. Today, we have  multitudes of "grown ups" in the spirit realm who walk like toddlers because they've never matured in their walk because the devil has slyly introduced a false teaching into the church that has been embraced by a church with a carnal heart. It's time the church grow up and learn to walk a balanced and steady walk. That does not mean we will never stumble or fall. It does mean we will learn from those stumbles and change our walk so that we do not continue to fall into the same snare over and over again.

In Genesis 6:9 the Bible says, "Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God."  I'm sure that early in his walk, Noah stumbled and fell... but he grew and matured and was righteous... blameless as he walked step in step with God. I'm confident that Noah learned this one lesson that you and I must learn; The strength and courage that we need to walk by faith comes from the Father, not from ourselves. Just as my daughter used to walk holding onto my hand... so we must walk holding onto God's hand. When we hold onto that hand, he will steady our steps and lead us forward throughout our lives.

No comments: