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How we walk

How we walk

It’s both distinctive and directional.

I’m sitting along the side of a hallway, with a couple of hours to kill. I brought things to do, including my Bible. But not long into my reading I start to find myself distracted by the footfalls.

The floor here is a shiny, reflective tile and many people are coming and going. With (thankfully) no piped-in music, nothing competes with the subtle syncopation of their steps. And I become aware of the differences.

Some are subtle. The shuffle of over-sized slippers. The soft tread of sneakers. Hard-soled shoes click against the tiles. I tune into the differences.

But it’s not just in the footwear. The gait varies. A serviceman passes me with long, fast strides. Others are more hesitant, slower. More careful.

A friend once told me that he saw me as he drove around town. He recognized me by my distinctive walk, which surprised me. I have a style of walking? What is it? I have always had a quick pace, but I didn’t think that it was noticeable. Or that it set me apart.

This reminds me that we each have a distinctive spiritual walk, as well. We each have our own pace of Scriptural study and application. We vary in how we pray, how often we pray. Some distrust their inner voice. Others rely on it. Some progress steadily. Others in fits and starts.

We each have hitches to our spiritual strides as well. Sin is a universal curse of this fallen world, but its expression in our lives – and how we respond – can vary greatly.

But Paul writes that there is a unifying way to walk.

So I say, walk by the Spirit. (Gal. 5:16)

and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us… (Eph. 5:2

Volumes have been written about what it means to “walk by the Spirit.” I won’t add much here, except to say that we are invited to go with God where he is headed, regardless of our personal gait. As the Dutch theologian, Abraham Kuyper, writes:

Whither doth our pathway lead? As children of God we pray every day: "Hallowed be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done;" and if this three-fold prayer is not a mere form of words, but the compass of our life, our goings will be identical with the goings of God. Then we and God walk the same way, in the same direction, with the same end in view.

That last phrase is a good reminder. We all face, from time to time, what may look like a dead end. But in our resurrection life, there really is no “dead” end. God’s destination for us is glory, and nothing is going to stop his walk with us toward it.

It’s a slow and steady journey. We may bring the slow. But he brings the steady.

The trick is to keep those feet moving.

Spirit, lead us. Father, take us to your glory. Jesus, walk beside us. Forgive how prone we are to wander. Thank you that we can bring who we are to this life-long walk.

Reader: Do you have a distinctive walk? Have you ever noticed the way others walk? Tell me about either.

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Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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