In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences. (Ephesians 4:2)
Walk, better yet, run! How many of us have barely figured out how to walk with Christ, let alone actually run well? This walking with Christ thing isn't as easy-peasy as 'snap your fingers and make it so', is it? We actually have to take some steps in the 'training' of our lives to be able to 'work up to' running with him. We all have a road to travel - at first by just taking some consistent steps forward - eventually learning how to 'pick up the pace' a little and learn to 'run' with endurance. If you are a 'fits and starts' kind of person, you are not alone - me, too! I get going well, then get a little distracted by life, and there goes the consistency! In the natural sense, we get a little 'flabby' and 'deconditioned' whenever this happens. In the spiritual sense, it isn't much different - we get 'weak' in our walk.
Sitting around on our hands is just not an option. If that is where we find ourselves today, then it is time to get up, take a few steps in the right direction (actually one is better than none). We may not 'feel like it', but even one step in the right direction is going to bear rewards. Every January, it seems like I look at the extra pounds I put on over the holidays and think it is time to 'rein in' those eating habits that got way out of control. Every January, I commit afresh to following a healthier eating plan. Somewhere in the next eleven months I get off-course. I don't really know where it happens, but it does as sure as the sky is blue and the grass is green. I could just sit back and tell you it is inevitable that I will get off-course, so why should I ever try to 'stay the course'? But...I have heart disease in my family and I know the extreme risk of just 'setting on my hands'.
Yes, I need to shed the holiday and COVID pounds, but most importantly, I need to walk a couple miles a day without feeling like my legs will fall off or that my heart will explode in my chest! I am back up to 2-3 miles a day, remaining consistent with at least 30 minutes of sustained exercise every day. Since I am convinced God still has a great deal for me to do on this earth, and a great deal to learn as I live out each day, I am committed to doing what it takes. I know there will be slips and stalls, but it doesn't stop me from making every effort to move in the right direction. In a spiritual sense, there will be slips and stalls by all of us, but God is looking for the commitment from us that we will get up, take the next step forward, and know that he backs us up every time we 'start again'.
Fits and stalls - we all experience them in one way or another. If this is where you are today, don't give in to the lie that you will always fail. Failure is not permanent - it is a stepping stone to doing again the things that will help us move in the right direction. One foot in front of the other, breathing deep of his grace, we can develop the consistency together, my friends. Whether it is the commitment to live a little healthier, or to dig into his Word daily, develop a better prayer life, or just invest time in the relationships you have been given, do it! Take the first step in the right direction and stick with it. You are not walking to run right away - you are learning to take one step and then another - eventually you may run, but for now, just walk!