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Walking Lessons, by Phil Ware Phil Ware

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   Learning to walk is one of the most difficult challenges we have as human beings. Because most of us walk so easily, we take for granted all the activities and muscle groups our minds have to coordinate simultaneously. We had to learn to crawl. Then we had to learn to pull ourselves up. Then we had to learn to stand. Then we had to learn to balance. Then we had to learn to step.Then we had to learn to take more than one step. Then we had to learn to keep our balance taking more than one step. After failure after failure after failure after failure most of us learned to do it!

    Fortunately, most beginning walkers have an incredible amount of support and help learning this difficult task. Parents applaud, encourage, cajole, support, holler with delight, smile, and all sorts of things that need to be done to help walking happen. But mostly, parents help pick up the child, dry away the tears when they’ve bumped their “noggin” on furniture, bandage skinned knees, and reassure them that they can walk.

After failure after failure most of us learned to do it!
    Unfortunately, we are often not as generous or supportive of new Christians trying to learn to walk with the Lord. After the first flush of excitement over their new birth, many new Christians are often forgotten and expected to figure out how to walk on their own. It’s not long until there are few around to pick them up when they fall, to encourage them when they get tired of being beaten up by the world while they are learning to walk with Jesus. We too often forget that they need someone to hug them and bandage their spiritual wounds and let them cry with a little sympathy rather than wilting their spirit with a scathing round of criticism or treating them as invisible through neglect.

    Jesus loved the lost. Not just the lost who never knew him, but the lost who wandered away. One of his favorite images was of a lost sheep that had strayed from the flock. What joy there was in finding it and bringing it home. His brother James closed his letter to early Christians reminding them to bring back those who have wandered away (James 5:19-20). Jude, possibly another of Jesus’ brothers, reminds us that we should do whatever is necessary to reclaim those who have fallen (Jude 20-25). The Holy Spirit emphasized the importance of daily encouragement to keep an evil and doubt from taking root in our hearts (Hebrews 3:12-14). Paul tells the spiritually mature in the church family to gently lead back those who have lost their way (Galatians 6:1-2). In other words, God wants us to pay as much attention to helping new Christians learn to walk the Christian walk as we do to our own physical children when they are first learning to take their first steps.

    So let’s make two commitments together:
First, let’s specifically commit to encouraging someone we know in their walk with Christ.
Second, let’s use the image of a child learning to walk to remind us to pray and serve those in our church families who are new in the Lord and need their family’s help learning to walk in the Lord!


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