Discipleship Afoot: Walking from the Start
This whole walking thing started right at the beginning, in the Garden of Eden. It wasn’t just Adam and Eve; we find God walking there also. We read, “And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8). Can you imagine? Many believe such a description shows us Jesus in a pre-incarnate form. But then comes the rest of verse 8, “and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” Why? Well, it wasn’t just Adam and Eve and God. Satan had been walking there also.
Where did Satan come from? Many don’t realize he was once an angel from heaven. But he and a group of angels rebelled against God and were thrown from heaven. Scriptures like Isaiah 14:12-15, and Revelation 12:4-10, and 2 Peter 2:4 talk about this. That has been the source of the sin that plagues us in this world, in this life. It started when Satan tempted Eve, who tempted Adam, and they both fell from grace by giving in to what God had forbidden. Sin entered the world and gradually messed up people and the environment we live in. It also separated us from a perfect God, with the need for something or someone to provide forgiveness, atonement, a way back to God. That’s all part of this walk we find ourselves on, searching for the right path, for the right source.
In the early years of Christianity, as the apostles went out and preached the message of Jesus, the one who had come from God to provide forgiveness, to provide atonement, the way back to God, they encountered much opposition. Satan works in many ways. One problem was called Gnosticism, a false branch of Christian faith that said only spiritual things were good, all things physical are bad. But Jesus himself proved this wrong, God in the flesh, who came through birth into a physical world to live among us, to walk among us. He was physically resurrected after dying for our sins and became the source of our hope for a spiritual resurrection now (at baptism) and for our own physical resurrection later. In between these two resurrections, he asks us to walk by faith in him, following him.
And so, we walk. It starts early, usually between 9-15 months of age. We roll over and crawl first, then get up the nerve to stand, wobbling and falling, eventually taking a few steps, then low and behold – there we go! Seems simple enough now, but it was a big deal back then. The same happens in the Christian life. When we confess Jesus as Lord, when we repent of our sins and turn to him in baptism, we are like babes learning to walk. It will be a falling, wobbly process, in the beginning. And it may continue that way if we don’t work at walking the way we should. That requires learning, it requires remembering, it requires encouragement, developing our Christian muscles. It requires the church, the “workout” gymnasium let’s call it, where the resources for these things reside. Without this, you continue as a babe, stumbling along. You grow up, but never learn to walk, an odd thing at best.
So, keep walking, looking for the good path, God’s way. In fact, in the early days of the church, that was what it was called. Not Christianity, not The Church, just “The Way.” Walk in it!
Cross Point: “About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning The Way” (Acts 19:23). It’s not always easy, not always blessed by the culture, not always popular, but it’s the way God provides for re-connection and salvation. Whatever the hurdles, this way is The Way to walk.