In Ephesians, the Apostle Paul is intent on helping Christians learn how to walk! This skill is something that we do without thinking. In fact, it is something we all think we mastered around the first year of life. Paul seems to think we need to be re-taught.
When you take a walk it is with the intent of being steady and consistent in your steps—not too fast, not too slow. You keep up the pace mile after mile. This image is the image Paul had in mind as he instructs us to think of the Christian life as a new walk.
- “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world…” (2:2)
- “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (2:10)
- “walk in a manner worthy of your calling” (4:1)
- “you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds” (4:17)
- “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us…” (5:1)
- "for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of the light.” (5:8)
- “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise.” (5:15)
Walking doesn’t seem to be as easy as it once was. Paul’s thoughts make me know why the hymn writer wrote “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.”
It had been too long since I had taken the trip up 64 to 81 over Afton to visit with Mom and Dad. Both had been sick with summer colds that had sapped their strength and their good spirits.
Casey and I piled in the car and made a couple of stops for snacks for us and groceries for my parents. Casey had the idea of giving them a concert to lift their spirits so we practiced a few hymns as I drove us up the road.
Yesterday was unusually clear and the humidity had disappeared overnight leaving a temperature that begged you to come out of doors! When we arrived at Mom’s we climbed up on her front porch and rocked and caught up on the news–how many rabbits are around, the arrival of a snowball white stray cat who is feeding on scraps out back, the racoon who has broken branches in the crepe myrtle tree as he seeks to get access to the bird feeder and who has passed on to glory from the congregation of people at Calvary Brethren church.
We relished each other’s company and before we knew it we had a visitor — my Aunt Daisy drove up on her lawn mower from her home down the hill. She had been in the berry patch gathering blackberries but was weary from her labor and wary of the snakes that might be hiding out and gave up to come visit with us.
It was then that Casey and I broke into song–her sweet soprano led out on “Holy, Holy, Holy”, “My Faith has found a Resting Place”, “Give Me Jesus’, the African version of “What a Friend we Have in Jesus” and by special request “How great Thou Art”.
It thrills my soul to wrap an alto line around her melody thread and that she sings willing without being begged to these days! Later, Casey and I went off to gather a few berries of our own. Dad directed us where to pick and before we knew it he was right there beside us picking as well! Dad made a comment that reminded me of the “Walking By Faith” study as we were picking.
He said, “Casey, these berries are pretty sour this year due to lack of rain but that sour taste makes it all the sweeter when you happen on a good ripe one!” The difficult gifts of life taste initially sour but that taste makes the sweet gifts all the sweeter! That day with Mom and Dad was a sweet gift made all the sweeter by the sour circumstance of their aging.
This morning in Day Three of the “Walking By Faith” study we were encouraged to consider that God invites us to “taste and see that the LORD is good“.
Tasting often begins by thinking about what we are hungry for. I know myself well enough to know that thinking about tasting is not the same as tasting! Could it be that our experience of God is flat and unsatisfying because we never go further than just thinking about Him.
Tasting is defined as becoming acquainted with by experience–it is an engaging of the senses and ingesting in order to answer a craving. To identify a food craving I consider–am I hungry for salty or sweet, is this gnawing just a desire to snack or am I ready for meat and potatoes? If my heart gets set on cheese cake — an apple is a huge disappointment and does not satisfy!
Substitutes just don’t cut it! Isn’t it wonderful to think that we were created by God with soul craving, appetites that only He can satisfy? While I try to satisfy my craving with other things, the disappointment I feel is evidence that I am trying to substitute!
Just like Nutra Sweet is not the real thing–but is a diminutive experience that approximates but does not meet the standard of the real thing–trying to answer my soul hunger with God’s gifts rather than meeting and feeding on God misses the mark. Isn’t it wonderful to know that as we taste His goodness it not only delights our hungry heart but nourishes us for the journey of living?
Lord, today–increase my appetite for you. Let me know by experience that you are the bread of life–the staple food. Don’t allow my taste buds to become accustomed to artificial substitutes–give me a craving for the Real Food that is you! Amen