I like to walk. It’s probably my favorite exercise. Hiking would be a close second. Walking is an activity that is close at hand, something that I ought to do each day but sometimes fail to do that simple action of putting on my shoes and stepping out the door. Once I’m on the walk, it’s much easier to continue, and when I’m done I feel satisfied and refreshed. It’s true. Running or jogging would have a greater impact, but there’s just something about walking that is almost magic. I’ve heard it said that walking is the miracle exercise if done often and consistently.
Our Christian walk is similar. So many believers wait around for those high impact experiences like a camp, a retreat, or revival meeting. While those short mountain top experiences can be good and profitable, most of the Christian life is done in the daily walk. Putting one foot in front of the other. Being able to take in the blessings around you that are really not far from where you live.
It is in dryness, not the fertile fields where God grows the roots deep. It’s the valleys, not the mountain tops that grow the most fruit. Steadiness. Slow progress. Distinguishing between sunshine and shadows. It is hard to get your bearings. Perspectives can be deceiving. But this is when we must keep our eyes on the landmarks.
The Lord admonishes us to do this thing called the Christian life in a steadfast, sober, patient, and self-controlled way. Doesn’t sound very spectacular, does it? We like to think that growth and change in the Christian walk happens in bursts. In a way, that would be easy. Enjoying a nice mountaintop experience at camps, retreats, revival times can boost our desire to grow and learn about God. But then is no bother to just coast along on the wave of those feelings. True maturity in Christ comes in living out each day consistently and soberly even when we don’t feel like it. That’s why it’s called our walk with God, not our sprint. It’s just one step at a time.
Consider these verses.
Psalm 37:23 – The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: And he delighteth in his way.
Psalm 119:133 – Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.
Proverbs 16:9 – A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.
Romans 6:4 – Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
2 Corinthians 5:7 – For we walk by faith, not by sight.
Romans 8:4 – That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Galatians 5:16 – This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Galatians 5:25 – If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
1 John 2:6 – He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
2 John 6 – And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
The Bible uses the action of walking as a metaphor for the Christian life. “It denotes a studied observance of the new rule of life, and it is this sense which dominates the usage of all the forms in the Epistles, where there is a frequent contrasting of the walk which was characteristic of believers in their unregenerate days, and that to which they are called through faith in Christ.”1 This is an act of deliberately moving forward toward a goal. It is steady and sometimes plodding, but there’s no rush other than to keep making progress.
So, it goes without saying. As we look at our lives, as we look at what we are doing for the cause of Christ. Are we putting one foot in front of the other? Or are we just sitting around, expecting our Christian health to be just fine even if we make no effort to grow. Put on those shoes of the “gospel of peace” (Gal. 6:15), and begin to walk after His commandments. Don’t be looking so much for some experience to pick you up and place you on the mountaintop. We have a daily trudging along the way, but the good news is this: Walking in the Light often leads us to the mountaintops through this path we have to trod. All we have to do is walk.
1. Fitzsimmonds, F. S. (1996). Walk. In D. R. W. Wood, I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard, J. I. Packer, & D. J. Wiseman (Eds.), New Bible dictionary (3rd ed., p. 1228). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.