Back in the day of post-secondary part one of my life, I had a teacher who was a physiotherapist. We were learning about gait, which is simply: how people walk. She told us of an elderly man she was treating whose walk included a limp to one side. His wife, of physically good health, eventually came to walk with a limp as well. Her limp was in the same direction as his. The reason being, as our teacher explained, was that when you walk beside someone who leans in the same direction each time they step, you learn to lean as well to avoid colliding with each other. The wife, yearning to walk close enough to the man she so dearly loved, learned to compensate her own walk to match his so they could more effortlessly walk beside each other.
I doubt the elderly woman ever gave thought to walking in such a way as she did, her focus wasn’t on which step to take next, or which way to lean. She just loved her husband so much that her focus was to walk beside him and feel his nearness. The image of this elderly couple is a touching image as we think about our walk with Jesus. The closer we walk to The One we love, the more we desire his nearness, the more our walk matches his. Of course, he doesn’t walk with the limp (though we do!). Instead it becomes an opposite image. As we walk closer to him, our limp (our sin, our trial, our mountain too big to climb) becomes less notable. Walking with Jesus pulls us upright.
When we sin…
That sin issue you can’t seem to control (because who doesn’t have one)? Grab your bible, hit your knees and pray and draw closer to God. You won’t overcome anything by willing yourself to stop. Simply placing your thoughts on “not sinning” will only draw you deeper into temptation. We are broken, and walk perpetually with a limp. On our own accord we will never walk upright. But get close to The One you love, and he will hold you up. He will always give you a way out, but stay close and hold his commands deep in the core of your soul to stay arm in arm with your Saviour when the Tempter comes.
3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:3-6 ESV)
When we face trials…
Does your mountain feel like a giant, straight-up incline, too steep to scale, and wide to endure? Is that fiery trial stinging you at the core of who you are? There’s rest in Jesus. Just come close enough he can hold you up. Be harnessed with Jesus so closely that when you can’t move one more step he’s there lifting your burden fighting your battle for you.
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matt 11:28-30 ESV)
What we need to pursue…
Paul assure Timothy that though temptation and trials come we sets our eyes on Jesus. We are only to pursue, think about, lean on, and walk with that which will give life:
11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. (1 Tim 6:11 ESV emphasis mine)
There is nothing you can do about the difficulty in front of you but to walk in step as closely and intimately to Jesus as you can be. In him we find righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness. He took on your “limp” once already on the cross. Your freedom is found in a Mighty Lord who won EVERY battle. All you need to do is walk close enough that you take on his steps and his gait. Walk close enough the One you love and you too will take on his walk.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4: 7-10 ESV)