“HEY! Now Walk it Out…Walk it out…Walk it out…”
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-5
As I prepare for speaking at the Sisters in Christ Event taking place in March many things have been brewing in my mind. Looking back over my personal life journey I have been asking God to show me how he has woven my story together in a unique way. A lot of my thinking has been most recently during my daily walks. I’m learning that a whole lot of thinking can happen in a short twenty minutes of silence!
It seems to me that each and every time I think about some of the events that caused pain in my life and how they may or may not have benefited me I hear a rap song replay in my head. Yes, back in my younger years rap music was one of my favorite genres and if you know my story (See “About” section on my homepage) you will understand that it truly fit in with my incorrect “life is a battle” mentality. There was one song in particular that I used to love and while I cannot remember the artist or the lyrics (who could decipher them anyway) yet one line has stuck in my head and continually blared internally for about three weeks now. The line is, “HEY! Now walk it out…now walk it out…now walk it out…and walk it out…” (If you have passed by a lady walking three dogs up the road screaming this tune at the top of her lungs and doing a little dance then you have most definitely just passed me!)
“So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:17
When I think about the most literal of examples to “walk it out” immediately the past nine months jumps to the forefront of my mind. Through the trial and struggle of finding a new leg that works for me and finding a way to live life as mobile as possible in order to succeed I have had only one choice in regards to my response: Walk it out! Even now that I deem the worst of the process over, with my new leg is “in hand” and my best foot in front of me (pun intended) I still must continue to “walk it out” in order to reach the point of maximum benefit. Let’s face it, if I don’t walk with my new leg I will not adjust to it and the doctor will not be able to make further improvements without feedback. A leg in the closet doesn’t benefit anyone; least of all me.
So as I walk up the road and feel the list of things that are uncomfortable, rubbing, pinching, and needing correction I want to run to the doctor for help at first availability. But I have been reminding myself that the first thing I need to do is to continue to walk and allow my body to adjust as much as it can so that my doctor can differentiate between what is actually causing the problem: my leg or my weak muscle habits.
The same is true in life. I feel this is a perfect picture as to what oftentimes our faith looks and seems like with God. So many times that we are up against a struggle it is easier to simply take our leg off and put it in the closet. “Let’s NOT walk today”, we think. “Let’s take a break from walking and we will pick it back up later.” How many times do we allow our walk with God to be on the back burner simply because we know waiting and having faith is not the easy way?
There are also times that we are attempting to walk in faith and then things suddenly become uncomfortable. We feel a little pinching here, rubbing there, or maybe we can point our fingers at what someone else needs to fix in order to make our walk of faith easier. How easy it is to want to beg our way out of it! How simple it would be to take the leg off and place it back in the closet! Easier yet, to make a prayer appointment with “Doctor Jesus” to complain and whine and beg for Him to fix it all so we don’t have to face any hardship.
Very simply put: we must keep walking and exercising so that we can strengthen our own muscles of character and intimacy with Jesus and allow our doctor (Jesus) to fix the things that are beyond our scope of capacity.
While this is a very literal example of “Walking it out”, in light of the grander picture of my life I have been reflecting on the number of times that I have come against struggles and have had to walk them out. While I know my heavenly Father has loved me and desired to not see me suffer in any way He has in his wisdom truly allowed what he could have easily prevented in His power. He has allowed me to walk out many situations where I have had to look to Him and allow my roots to grow deeper and stronger while being steadily transformed into who He created me to be.
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
I believe that our faith must reach a point where it crosses over from “believing” to “knowing”. Graham Cooke speaks of this and I believe it is an extremely spot-on and relevant topic that many Christians today could benefit from. You see, I may have faith that God will provide for me during a tough time. God will give me faith to believe and to pray for the provision that He provides. But when that provision comes I no longer need faith because the provision is now right in front of my eyes. I see and KNOW that the provision I once had faith for has been given. Now I no longer have faith that God is Jehovah-Jireh (The Lord Provides) but I have experienced Him personally as Jehovah-Jireh. Next time that I need provision I will have a new and upgraded faith that has been salted with the seasoning of experience. Walking out our tough times leads us to experiencing (moving from faith in believing to knowing) God in a way that we otherwise would not have had opportunity to.
Living in Faith is: Walking it out!
In the movie “God is Not Dead” there is a scene at the end of the movie where the preacher has had car trouble throughout the movie and he is about to take his out-of-town (also a preacher) friend somewhere. The out of town preacher prays that the Lord will make the car start. The preacher then heads to start the car but is corrected by his friend who says, “Hey, load the bags in the trunk first. We spend our lives preaching faith let’s practice it.” The preacher reluctantly loads the bags before seeing if the car will even start and is suddenly surprised and full of thanksgiving when the car starts and his faith-filled action was rewarded.
How many opportunities do we have on a daily basis to “Walk it Out!”? When we pray for or about something are we responding with our words and actions as if God has already answered our prayer? Or do we pray and then put our leg back in the closet (live in a way that our words and actions do not line up with believing)?
“As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 2 Corinthians 6:16b
“The only way over is through it” has been taught to each of us. Whatever we face and whatever we are up against let us start walking through it in faith and with comfort that we are not alone. Let’s face things knowing that God is moving us from a place of believing in faith for Him to come through to a place of experiencing Him as a God who answers. God is already on the other side, in the beginning, and in the middle of everything we need. He is just allowing us opportunity to exercise moving our perceptions of Him from faith to experience.
How will you experience God this week? Let’s “Walk it out!” and find out!