"Every day - every step - every stride;
My fear of who I really am is fading, and these cavities are being filled
with his Spirit of love and truth..."
When I lived in Colorado, I spent so much more time walking. Do not get me wrong, there is nothing like taking a drive up the mountains. Watching the canyons and valleys present themselves in their amazing beauty as around each new corner something God has made is unwrapped before your eyes like a gift - it was so much to take in at 50 mph. I never really appreciated all that was Colorado until I got into hiking. My brother Mike who lives there now has spent weeks without interruption hiking the Colorado Trail and parts of the Continental Divide Trail. To be realistic, I never had those kind of lungs or gear. I had the ambition, but lacked what it took physically to have enough confidence to feel safe being two days away from anything resembling modern conveniences. In his example though, I discovered a love for hiking. I was so surprised when I realized how much I had been missing by not hiking - the beauty that was sometimes just a quarter mile off of the road. I was never able to look at the mountains the same way again. After the hiking bug got to me, my days of seeing the awesomeness that is the Rocky Mountains from a car window or my mountain bike slowly dwindled. I had to take them in stride, and that meant, at least for me, one step at at time. The sound of the wind, the scent of the pines - the way the land seemed alive; I had really been missing out. There are so many small, beautiful flowers in the High Country that you basically have to be close to them to realize their existence. At the base of these huge mountains are valleys of life that you could never see from the road. I had been overlooking so much of the mountains I moved to be near by not slowing down, getting out of my car, and walking. I am learning again in my life, that God wants me to walk with him. He is concerned about my step, my every single solitary step. Knowing this now, I see what I have been missing, and I cannot look at my life the same way again.
I have to be honest to my core when I say this, despite how it may make me appear to others. What I thought being a Christian was, and what it is turning out to be are miles and miles apart. Those ideas that Jesus would come into my life and all would be smooth and pretty and easy from that day moving forward were not accurate. That I would feel saved and safe and ready to take on this world - again, I was lying to myself. I expected Jesus and my relationship with him to be a fast moving train on the highway to heaven - that would be three things I have been so wrong about. The opposite of this has been true, because I have failed to realize what walking with our Lord actually meant. Romans 6:4 puts it this way: "We were buried there with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the father, we too might walk in newness of life". Looking at this scripture in the context of needing to be born again (John 3:3, 1 Peter 1:3), I realize that this is a new walk - these are the first real steps I am taking in my new life in Christ Jesus. I am a baby right now. I run ahead of his word working through me, and I have to wait on him because I am impatient - I am learning to wait on him. I fall behind in my walk and the spirit convicts me to the point of absolute misery. I have to listen to him. And here is why: HE WANTS ME TO WALK WITH HIM. Down this path, I will tell you the truth, I am learning things about myself that are ugly to me. What I have done wrong and what I do wrong now and how it has been and is and will be manifested in my life are being revealed to me, and like I said - it's not always pretty. I am one of those people still afraid to tell the story of my life because I am learning now, how it has jaded me so. However, as I learn to walk with my Lord, I can see and I feel something new and beautiful happening within me, knowing that I am a new creation. I am not saying it has been or will be easy, but by an immeasurable amount - it is so totally worth the peace and love he is placing within me. I have been born again by and through him. It's just something you have to experience. It is the real life, and it begins with taking your first steps with him. That is the place I am living in today - learning to walk all over again.
How fitting the bible compares the Kingdom of God promised to us as a mountain, upon a mountain or mountain like, over 50 times. We have to look up to the mountains. We see them from a great distance, and the closer we get, the more beautiful they become. It is a stone, a rock that holds and protects life from which water comes forth and sustains all of the life beneath it. Moses went to the top of a mountain to receive the law covenant. Moses was again commanded to go upon a mountain so he could look down and see the Promised land of Canaan. And today, we are promised this in Isaiah 2:3: "Come let us go to the mountain of God, to the house of the god of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways, and we may walk in his paths..." Today, if we are to live by faith and not sight, Jesus needs to be that path - he is the way and the truth, and the only truth that is bringing light into this world. The light that is him shines on our path, and only then will we know how to let go of this world, close our eyes and walk with our Lord in our faith and trust in him. This is how I am walking today - taking my first steps to his eternal and holy mountain. I cannot wait to see how beautiful they are, one sweet step at a time. Thank you my Lord for even giving us the opportunity to be redeemed, to be cleansed, and to then walk with us in your love and grace.