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A Progressive Walk

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” (Colossians 2:6-7)

As my wife has accused many times over the years I am one who is subject to the distraction of dilly-dallying. Well, this is a true statement, as I often linger in my duties. Not to the point that I do not accomplish my goals but I could accomplish much more if I was more steadfast in my endeavors. Such as the time when I was eight I left the farm in Ballengee to travel the five or so miles back to Barger Springs where my parents were.

I said my good-byes to Lester and Fonda, my summer parents, and went out to the hard road to begin my hike home. As I stood there looking down the curving rolling road I remembered my brother and sister telling me of a short cut to Barger Springs. It was an over the hill and through the woods kind of short cut. So I hoped the fence and walked through the field to the wooded area that they had told me about. Along the way I noticed a stand of milk weeds, which I saw as a company of attacking soldiers. I liked slaughtering milk weeds as they would bleed milk which in a way excited me. It was a large company of soldiers and it took me awhile to dispatch them. When I had completed this distraction to the goal of getting home, then sun had begun to fall beneath the horizon of the mountain before me.

It was about as far back to the farm in Ballengee as to go on to Barger Springs. So I pressed on and darkness captured me deep in the woods. There I was in the woods thinking about the panthers, bobcats and snakes that would love to have a bite of me. Was I scared, well yes, and I was wondering if I could find the marks of the path home I have been told of by my brother and sister. There was always a rustling in the undergrowth around me. Now and then I would hear sounds that would make me think of Bigfoot or worse. I certainly was then progressing towards home at a quick pace. I wasn’t dilly-dallying now. No time for the imagination of companies of soldiers as my imagination was filled with things that chomp in the night. I thought surely I was in the shadow of death. When I arrived safely at our cabin in Barger Springs there was great joy in my heart and I slept that night without so much as a toss.

Looking at the verse we are talking about I see some similarities between that journey so many years ago and the journey that we are all presently on. It is that walk through this world to the world to come. We are traveling from the farm that we have come from to the home where we will find rest. We are in the darkness of the wilderness and walking towards the Promised Land where we will find our joy and rest. I was fortunate that I didn’t get lost along the way. That I was not overtaken by the beast that lurk in the wilderness. I was that day on my own but the wilderness of today is overwhelming to navigate and we need a guide to overcome. We are on a walk, a progressive walk, as time stands not still neither can our walk fall to dilly-dallying.

The wise have come to seek and find Jesus Christ and have bowed down to worship Him as their Lord and Savior. They have chosen to follow Him in the faith that His Word is truth. They have believed in His promises that if we serve Him He has provided a place for us in His Kingdom everlasting. By our faith He has justified us and by His Spirit He is sanctifying us that we will be presented to His Father whole and complete in His righteousness. It is not a walk with Him, it is a walk in Him. He has made the walk through the wilderness, He has overcome the world, and if we let Him live through us and walk in His path, then we shall also overcome.

Walking in faith in Jesus requires action. We cannot confine ourselves just to reaching point B from point A. As we walk in Jesus we walk as He would. Jesus came to seek and to save that which is lost. This is our primary goal in all that we do. As the Apostle Paul says, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” (Colossians 3:23) This is our witness that our activity is for the Lord. No matter what our vocation is, it is to be done for the Lord that through us His name may be glorified. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) When we walk in Jesus His life is our example. His purpose was to live by word and deed that others my see the light of truth in Him. That they might be drawn to the light that takes away the darkness of this world. The example is found in Jesus who lived not on His own but in the will of His Father in Heaven. “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.” (John 12:49)

This is the promise of Jesus that we will be given a counselor to guide us through this wilderness that we have found ourselves in. The counselor, the Holy Spirit well guide you into all truth. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” (John 16:13) If we are walking in Jesus, living to glorify God in all that we do, trusting in the Lord to guide our steps, then we should boldly pass through and speak the word that He gives us. “For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” (Luke 12:12)

Walking in Jesus is not just a Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer, it is an all-day prayer. We are walking in Jesus and He is living through us. This is what we were created to be living in the peace of God’s eternal will for our lives. We were not created to have a love affair with a passing world but to live glorifying our Creator walking towards an eternal world of peace and joy in the house of our heavenly Father. We were not created for fruitless adventure but for eternal good work. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) This is not something that we could possibly accomplish on our own initiative, as we do not fully have His eternal vision. We must walk in Him that we may be empowered by Him. This is the truth of His promise. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” (John 15:4)

It is not a walk through the park, it is a walk through the wilderness of this world. As the world hated and rejected Jesus so it shall hate and reject us. “You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22) It is a life of sacrifice, a life of persecution, and it is a life of giving are all to the cause of His Kingdom. If we persevere and in the process bring just one soul to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, it is worth ever ounce of our full measure. That in itself is enough but we have this promise to have our hope in, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29)

By our walk in Jesus we have our hope in Him, our love is in Him, our joy is in Him, and our life is in Him. As I look back on that walk over the hill and through the woods so many years ago, I wish that I had my brother and sister to guide the way. They knew the path as they had already passed through. Perhaps if they had been there I would not have dilly-dallied slaughtering a company of milk weeds. Perhaps I would not have wasted my time in the light to be lost in the darkness of the night. It is that way today for so many, wasting their time in the light and being lost in the night. For those of us who walk in Him it is serious business, as the thought is frightening. That one should be lost in the wilderness unable to find his way home. We serve a patient God of love not wanting that any should perish. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, November 11, 2015

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