Several months ago my wife, Amy, started getting up early in the morning and going on what she called a “prayer walk.” Now if you know my wife, she is not a morning person. So to see her come back from these walks wide awake, rejuvenated and joyfully ready to start her day, I knew there must be something powerful about this experience. So I decided to tap into this for myself and on the days my wife was unable to go, for one reason or another, I got up and went. Well I liked it so much I started making time to go on a regular basis in the morning after Amy and the girls were off to school.
During these walks I’ll meditate on the scriptures from the Bible. I’ll make up songs and sings them to Jesus as I’m walking. I’ll give thanks for all that The Lord has done and I’ll confess my sins and ask for forgiveness. All in all, it’s just a wonderful time to spend with Jesus and gain His wisdom and counsel. One particular morning, not five minutes into my prayer walk, I found myself at the intersection of Monroe Avenue and Highland Avenue. I thought, now would be a good time to amp up my prayer walk with some exercise. You see, not only did catch this idea of prayer walks from my wife, but she also loves to run. Remembering my post on working smarter not harder, I thought why not be efficient and to both at the same time!
I prayed, “Jesus, give me the strength to run from here to Winston Road. Now the distance is only about a mile. Not much, but when you’re sixty-one years old and you haven’t run in a while — believe you me — you ask Jesus to strengthen you! So off I ran, all the while praying, “Lord just get me to the next fire hydrant. That’s right; my prayer and goal was to get to the next fire hydrant then the next until I reached the end of my run. I believe the Holy Spirit placed the idea of running to each fire hydrant in my mind like mini markers to encourage me along my route until I reached my destination. Exhausted and out of breath, I looked back up the hill to where I had first started. Praise The Lord! I made it to Winton Road, I prayed. As I was headed home, thanking The Lord for His faithfulness in allowing me to run part of of my prayer walk, the spirit spoke these words to me … The righteous shall walk by faith.
I know I have heard those words many times in the past but on this particular day those words just flooded my spirit with peace and joy. I began really mediating on what that simple phrase means. And, why that experience of running, pacing myself one fire hydrant at a time, was so impactful. This portion of the scripture, written by Paul to the Philippians Church, came to mind.
Philippians 3:12-14 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Paul reminded himself that the way to approach the things of God is with humility. His goal was always obedience to Christ. When Paul came to Christ he didn’t look back; not in the sense of missing the things from his former life. Paul pressed forward towards the goal set before him. Paul walked by faith and because of it he received his strength from Christ. I, too, got my strength from The Lord. My looking back uphill from where I began reminded me of what Jesus did through answered prayer. It was not about what I had accomplished. Yes, I ran! But Christ strengthened me. I may have set the goal to run but Christ set the standard as to how I ran … by FAITH. They that are Godly shall walk by faith. Habakkuk 2:4 See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright– but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness.
WHO ARE THE GODLY
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watch over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
David starts right away with identifying the blessings that come from avoiding walking in the step of the wicked and keeping the company of the ungodly. The man who delight himself in the law of The Lord and meditates on it day and night will be firmly planted, well nourished, bearing fruit in due season, and their strength will not wane. This Godly man or woman will prosper in whatever they do. It is not so with the ungodly. Their ways lead to destruction and they will be judged by God. It is for this very reason that we (the Godly)are not to be envious of the wicked nor condemn them. Though they seem to prosper, they are perishing. Jude has this to say about the ungodly:
In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them. JUDE 1:16 These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.
The Bible says that we were as such before we received Christ into our hearts. The Godly should not judge those who are ungodly. Instead, we should remember from where we came and the grace and mercies of God that delivered us.
WALKING BY FAITH
2 Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.
The Holy Spirit didn’t say stand on faith or sit on faith or lay on faith. Instead, He said we must WALK by faith. The very word walk, is an act of doing, it is not stagnant and neither is faith.
Faith is not this tangible thing that you can reach out and touch. Faith is the intangible reaching out and touching you. When we believe God at His word, that we have whatever we ask for according to His will, we begin to act and feel the manifestation of receiving it … already having it. But when we allow doubt to creep into our minds by believing we’re receiving from God because we deserve it, because of something we’ve done, we lose sight of the mercies of God and misuse the grace of God. Doubt can cause us to act and feel contrary to the word of God. Doubt will fuel our anxious thoughts and fear will cause us to take our eyes off of Jesus to focus on our former status. These three things have caused many Christians to stumble and those who would have accepted Jesus as savior to shrink back.
WHAT IS FAITH?
Hebrews 11:1-3 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
Have you ever found yourself asking for The Lord’s help, but were unwilling to take that first step? Taking that first step is that leap of faith. Through faith we get to see God move on our behalf. Our faith is pleasing to God. And it is through our reflection on answered prayers and God’s word that we learn how to encourage ourselves and others. Faith is the substance by which Christians grow and learn to delight themselves in the word of God. Faith is trusting in God not people! Faith in God, not man, produces hope; hope produces joy, peace and comfort. It’s when our faith is shaken that worry sets in. Throughout the Bible we are warned against placing our hope and faith in mankind.
David knew this full well and explains why he placed himself in God’s hands time after time. PSALMS 146:1-5 Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,whose hope is in the Lord their God.
Four times David says he will praise The Lord first with his mouth, second with his mind, third with his life and lastly David will praise The Lord in song as long as he lives. David knew that God alone is worthy of praise. Why? Because only God can save, not man. Men are changeable, fickle and often unfaithful. I’ll repeat what I said earlier. Faith is not this tangible thing that you can reach out and touch. Faith is the intangible reaching out and touching you.
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
So for our faith we are to turn to Jesus … we are to WALK to Jesus … We are to WALK with Jesus.