Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Child's First Steps

II Peter 3:17, 18 “Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”

Do you remember watching a baby learn to walk? First she holds tightly onto her mom’s hand, walking only with the reassurance of her mother’s grip. Soon she bravely lets go and takes a few tentative steps on her chubby legs. Back and forth she walks the few steps from Mom to Dad and then back to Mom, smiling the whole time. She has complete confidence in her parents; they will not let her fall. After her confidence grows, she will briefly venture out on her own. The steps are slow and the child is wobbly, sometimes swaying to capture her balance. She falls often, usually by plopping onto her padded bottom. But she doesn’t give up; she continues moving. After falling, she may crawl toward her goal and then get up and walk a few more steps. So it goes: walk, walk, plop, crawl, crawl, walk, walk, plop. Over and over she toddles her erratic walk. Sometimes she is off balance and lurches to one side; sometimes she rushes to keep from falling forward. But she keeps walking. She keeps learning. Before you know it, she is running. She runs everywhere. She is so full of the joy of running that she forgets to crawl.

When we first accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are born again; we are once again babies. We do not, of course, physically become babies. Instead, we are born as spiritual babies, brand new to the spiritual world. As spiritual babies, we must learn to walk spiritually. Our heavenly Father will watch over us as we take our learning steps. Like a small baby, we are tentative at first, unwilling to venture out on our own. Just as the earthly father encourages his children to walk, our heavenly Father encourages us on our spiritual walks. Like our earthly fathers, He holds his arms out to us, hoping we will be brave enough to walk toward Him. With God’s guidance and encouragement, we gather the courage to take a few tentative steps. We wobble, just as the baby does. Yes, we fall down. Unfortunately, unlike the baby, we sometimes refuse to move. The key to improving our spiritual walk is to keep trying, just as the baby does. When we lose our balance and fall, we cannot be content with just sitting. We must get up and continue to walk; if we cannot walk, we must crawl. Learning to walk with God is a slow process: walk, walk, plop, crawl, crawl, walk, walk, plop. The baby does not give up when she falls; neither should we. Over and over we continuously step toward our Father. No matter how wobbly and unsure our steps, we make progress toward Him. Before long we will find ourselves walking toward our God with confidence, perhaps even running with joy.

Oh God, our Father, guide us as we learn to walk with You. Teach us, encourage us, help us stand back up when we fall; help us walk toward You on our spiritual journeys.

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