“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7
If you’ve read any of my past devotionals, you know of my dream of making it in the NBA. Unfortunately, my hoop “career” was cut way too short. One of the reasons I love basketball is because of the need for endurance. I excelled at hustling. Growing up, I was the player still sprinting hard in the 4th quarter while everyone else was out of breath.
When basketball season had run its course, I would make my way to the track team. I wasn’t the most gifted sprinter, but I was the best distance runner at my school. I always laughed when they considered me the best since compared to the high school state numbers I was standing still. All of this to say, one of the best lessons I have received from the running world is to always walk. I thought it was strange advice but as maturity settled in, I began to realize how crucial, “always walk” was to the spiritual life.
The reason you walk after a race is because it helps slow down your heart rate, breathing while relaxing your muscles. It also helps to get rid of the lactic acid and any other waste you might have sitting around in your body. Even if you are not a runner there is some obvious benefit to walking it out after any sort of run or race. Now, let us put on our spiritual lenses.
A lot of us go through “races” in our walk with Jesus. As someone who is a people pleaser and struggles with being defined by my performance, I can definitely find myself sprinting spiritually. I will suddenly find myself sprinting to serve someone, or encourage them, or insert any other good Christian deed to do. There is nothing wrong with me doing these things, the tension is it is not sustainable. The purpose of a sprint is to go as hard as you can for a short duration, and this is not what Jesus has called us to do.
The verses above both reveal our call to walk. Paul has challenged us to walk in love and to walk in Christ. There are two perspectives I have learned from these verses.
The first perspective is that walking is the only sustainable speed in which to live. No one in this world can sustain a sprint, or even a run, long enough to get through life. The same is true spiritually. There is such excitement when we get to burst into a sprint with our walk with Jesus, but we cannot keep it up for too long. Walking with Jesus and walking in love becomes a consistent speed for us to thrive. It allows us the chance to talk with Him, be beside Him and take in the journey He has prepared for us. Those awesome opportunities are difficult when we are sprinting.
The second perspective is we get to take people on our walks with us. Anytime I have ever invited someone to come sprinting with me I am met with a quick laugh and rejection. I have learned most people will go for a walk, but the moment you mention running or sprinting they suddenly have more important plans. When we learn how to walk with Jesus and walk with love, we realize everyone can come along with us. When we are all walking together in the same love and with Jesus we begin to thrive.
The beautiful aspect of being able to simply walk with God is the reality we all need a slower pace of life. The world around us is becoming more fast paced than ever and we are losing the art of just walking and taking everything in. Thankfully, God does not call us to burn through life and see it as a sprint that leaves us breathless. Instead, He invites us to walk with Him and beside Him in order to see all He has for us. It is amazing how taking a walk is able to remind us of the beauty of the flowers around us, or the clouds in the sky, or maybe even the beauty of Jesus, who is always walking right by our side.
Does it feel as though life is a sprint for you? What areas of your life do you feel like you are just running as fast as you can, and you just end up breathless?
Think about how much more you could notice when you are able to walk through life, and take in what has been all around you this whole time. Begin making a mental list of what you notice while walking that you did not pay attention to before.
Keep learning how to walk with Jesus and in love. It takes time but the more we do it the better the intimacy we get with Jesus. Jesus will never leave us behind, so we never have to worry about catching up!
Father, I thank You for allowing me the chance to walk with You. I am grateful I do not have to sprint and end up breathless just to be Your child, instead You take me by my hand and walk with me. Help me to trust in this reality and grow with You every step of the way. I love You Jesus, and pray in Your holy name, Amen.
PC3 writer Davy Nance wrote today’s devotional.