One of the many images we find as it relates to the Christian life is the image of walking with Jesus. While Jesus was on the earth the primary mode of getting around from place to place was that of walking. So it should not surprise us that walking can serve as an important illustration of how we should think of the Christian life.
I find it interesting how walking with God is often framed in a particular direction. We are walking towards heaven, or to some purpose or mission. Our assumptions about walking with God are usually connected to the destination. But what if this is all wrong? What if that is not what God had in mind when he invites us to walk with him?
As Christians, walking with Christ is a challenge, but it is not a challenge that Jesus wants us to fail.Tweet
When we talk about walking with God we should probably think about this relationship with God as walking at a particular pace. What that means is we should not be too hurried or too inclined to drag behind.
When we walk with someone we have to try to match their pace. It is usually the person who has greater stamina who makes the adjustment for the person with lesser stamina. What this means for us as Christians is that even though walking with Christ is a challenge, it is not a challenge that Jesus wants us to fail. The longer we walk with him the greater our endurance becomes. The less taxed we feel by the endeavor.
The second idea we should consider when thinking about walking with Jesus is the idea of awareness. We often take for granted the roadways and walkways we have access to in our modern communities. And while there may have been roads in the ancient world they were not constructed from materials providing a smooth surface. Even with cut stone, the roadways would still have had contours and texture.
In a way, as we talk about walking with Jesus we should be mindful of the fact the places we will go and the terrain we must travel will require an increased awareness. The unevenness of the ground, and the potential roots and holes that could trip us up, are all hazards we must keep an eye out for. In the same way that this is true in the natural world, the same kinds of hazards exist in the spiritual world.
The journey we take with God as we walk with Christ requires we do not take as an assumption that we will be traveling along safe and maintained avenues. To walk with God is to walk a dangerous path. Not because God wants to see us harmed but because life in a fallen world will always have the potential for peril at any turn.
Even Jesus warned us to be mindful when we went out into the world to fulfill God’s purpose in our lives. Whether we want to accept it or not, one of the undeniable realities of the human experience is that there will be trials, and for some of us, there will be tribulations. It does not matter whether we expected it or not, we can endure it with God’s help. No one will ever live a trouble-free life, no matter how hard we would like to avoid it, life leaves us no alternative.
While this may seem dark and even pessimistic to some I take a different view. The fact that Jesus himself endured the difficult journey of life, gives me an enduring hope that regardless of what life may throw at us we can know that not only can it be survived but we can thrive in the midst of what comes. This may sound counterintuitive. Even a little “pie-in-the-sky” for some. But I am not basing this on my ability to make it. I am grounding my hope in God’s capability to bring me through whatever circumstances I may find myself in.
As we continue on the steady march toward Easter morning, I would encourage you to take some time this week, to get outside and take a short stroll (or even a long one), and spend some time reflecting on what your journey with Christ has looked like up to this point. And if there is anything you feel impressed by the Holy Spirit to change I would encourage you this take a step of faith in that new direction.