This morning in prayer I had a vision of myself as a toddler, just learning to walk. And, like a loving parent encouraging me on, there was Jesus with His hands outstretched, urging me to come to Him. Then, with the images overlaid one on top of another, I could see myself as an older person with Jesus - sometimes, I was walking with Him ahead of Me, encouraging me to fix my eyes on Him, sometimes I was walking with Him beside me, and sometimes I was walking, and I could not see Him anywhere at all.
The idea of the journey with Jesus being a walk by faith and not by sight seems simple enough to grasp - read your Bible, pray, meditate on God’s word and be led by His Holy Spirit. But in this fallen world where we have an enemy working overtime to keep us distracted and busy and looking anywhere but at Jesus, it can seem the hardest thing in the world to accomplish.
The great thing about walking though, is that you are always moving forward. Walking is action. Take, for example, a walk in nature. One of my favourite places to walk in Townsville is by the Ross River. The round trip takes about an hour. There are beautiful trees, flowers and the bushes, and the river is never dry. I walk in the late afternoon/early evening and sometimes I am privileged to see the magnificence of a sunset, or the brilliant blue of a North Queensland sky, sometimes there are ducks on the river, or turtles swimming just below its surface. Always there are different people walking the same path as me. Every single time, the walk is made up of different elements.
But to do the round trip, one thing is always the same. I can only ever put one foot in front of the other to walk the distance. I might be able to reach my destination faster by running, but then I would risk missing some of the everchanging scenery. I might choose to look at my phone and again, risk seeing the beauty of God's creation all around me. But my feet always have to move to accomplish the walk. One step at a time.
For me, it is like that to walk with Jesus. I can only do one step at a time. I can choose to take the step of reading my Bible to set me up in God’s truth for the day before I become distracted by the demands of the world. I can choose to pray. Another step. I can choose whether or not I listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and trust that I am being directed in the best way to proceed. Another step.
Sometimes what God wants me to do is not what I want to do at all. My rebellious nature comes out and I second guess His leading and direction. But His still, small voice of instruction never fails me. And it becomes evident – though sometimes this may not be apparent for years - that it is always part of His good plan for My life. I do not see Jesus in the physical, but because He has left me – and all those who believe in Him - with the guidance of His Holy Spirit (Corinthians 5:5 Now the One who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come), I know I am never alone. The Holy Spirit is my direct lifeline to Jesus. But I must be willing to listen, submit and be obedient to what is required of me.
And if I choose to walk with Jesus every day by living His way, the effect – just as the accumulation of daily exercise keeps the body physically fit – is to keep me anchored to Him, rather than to the world. I can make the choice - and follow through with action - to stay close with Him by renewing my mind every day, as instructed by Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will”.
The “mind” encompasses not just the intellect or understanding, but also the feelings and the will. And being “transformed” by the renewal of the mind indicates the form of the thoughts is changed. The transformation of thoughts leads to a change in what actions we will take, and then becomes a character-determining habits, shaping our lives past, present and future. That, my friends, is the power of God working in our lives - beginning with one decision to take that one step to be closer to Him.
Walking with Jesus is a conscious choice, every moment of every day. And He is faithful to us, never leaving or forsaking us. We live His way, running our race in this life for His glory, until such time as He calls us home to spend eternity with Him.
God bless you.
Matthew 11:28-30. “Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
Psalm 23:2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
All Scriptures are from the New King James Version of the Holy Bible.