Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. [Colossians 2:6-7 (ESV)]
While visiting family in California, I joined my daughter-in-law and her walking group on their morning hike. The leader advised us that it was about a six mile walk—what she didn’t mention was it was all uphill for the first three plus miles. Although we started off together, the group quickly fragmented. The leader and some exceptionally fit and fast walkers were in the lead. I was in the middle group; unfamiliar with the area, I was not about to lose sight of our leader and risk getting lost. Behind us was another group and, bringing up the rear, were three stragglers who abandoned us within the first twenty minutes. After an hour of walking uphill, we finally reached level ground and heaved sighs of relief. The dozen remaining walkers stopped briefly while our leader explained the rest of the course—about a mile more of climbing before starting the descent back to the parking lot. At that point, mutiny occurred and more than half the group decided to take an easier and mostly downhill route back. Used to the flatlands of southwest Florida, I was happy to join my daughter-in-law in her desertion.
While not everyone in the hiking group chose to walk that day, Christians are expected to walk with Jesus every day. Just thinking about Him or praying is not enough—walking implies action. We’re to show up every morning for our walk, rain or shine. On my recent hike, only a few kept pace with the leader. When we walk with Jesus, however, there’s no lagging behind; we keep His pace. In fact, we walk in His footsteps—not behind him, not around him and certainly not ahead of him. Although some people deserted our group as soon as it became difficult, walking in Jesus means we don’t quit when faced with challenges. When Jesus takes us on a difficult uphill route, we’re not allowed to rebel when we disagree with His plans. Jesus told the disciples it wouldn’t be easy but, like our hiking leader, He rarely explains His entire plan. That’s why it’s so important to walk with him; if we lag behind or barge ahead on our own, we’ll lose sight of Him and get hopelessly lost.
Walking in Jesus doesn’t mean occasionally getting together for a stroll or that we’ll meet Him if and when our paths happen to cross. It doesn’t mean we just wave and call out casual greeting when we feel like it and it certainly doesn’t mean we get to quit when the going gets tough. Walking in Him is a 24/7 lifetime commitment.
Unlike our walking leader, who planned the same route and established the same pace for fifteen different women of varying ages and abilities, Jesus designs a route and sets a pace that is uniquely designed for each one of us. We’ll never be alone and, while the path may be challenging, it will always be doable—but only if we walk in Him.