I’m taking part in a 16 mile walk in a few weeks so I decided I needed some proper walking boots. Once I had bought some I needed to break them in, so at the weekend my wife, my girls (aged 9 & 5) and I walked for 5 miles whilst finding 15 geocaches.
Half way around I noticed my toes were getting a little sore and so I checked the boots and found they weren’t laced up tightly enough. I re-tied the laces and by the end of the walk my toes felt fine. When I woke the next morning, my legs were aching and my back was hurting (I’m getting on a bit you know!) but my feet were fine!
My legs felt stiff until I walked to work and within 2 or 3 minutes they felt okay again. Strange isn’t it, you would think that stiff/sore legs would be cured by resting, but my muscles actually just needed some more exercise.
Faith is like a muscle. If you don’t exercise at all then your muscles lose strength and will begin to waste away. How much exercise does your faith get? Is it something you just talk about or is it something you choose to live? Faith is for more than Sunday services and Church gatherings. The God who is with us always wants to be actively involved in our lives which should involve change for us as we submit to his will.
It was my wife’s birthday at the weekend and the walk was how she wanted to celebrate. We awoke on the day to thunder and lightning and fairly heavy rain. After some consideration we decided to drive towards our walk starting point anyway. We stopped for breakfast on the way and by the time we had finished eating the rain had stopped. We had a great walk and a fantastic day which we could have missed out on if we had been afraid of the weather.
When the weather is wet we may not feel like walking outdoors and there are also circumstances that may put us off living and being honest about our faith.
Some people are fairly hostile towards people of faith and this takes a lot of confidence and a strength of faith to not be affected by.
Sometimes life just feels too hard and we want to hide. Keeping our heads down feels easier than living our faith out in an open and honest way.
Perhaps our lives are in such a mess that it’s easier to be quiet about our faith to avoid being accused of being a hypocrite. Ironically, when our faith is struggling and God feels far away this is precisely the time that we need to stretch our faith muscles. It feels like Christianity in the UK has become primarily about what you know, but it strikes me that the first disciples who followed Jesus lived lives full of faith even at the beginning when they knew very little. They lived their faith openly, doing their best for their lord and saviour Jesus. They took risks and were often bold for him secure in the knowledge that his love and grace was greater than any mistakes they might make. It is good to understand our faith, but we need to grasp that in reality it is more important to live it. We may make mistakes and get things wrong but God still loves us.
When I bought my new boots they looked shiny clean, but now they are muddy and scuffed after only one walk. They had a label on that said waterproof, but after my walk through wet grass and puddles I know they are waterproof.
These boots were made for walking and they fulfilled their purpose well at the weekend. I have experienced their quality but only by using them.
Our faith was made for living but are we willing to stretch our spiritual muscles and to live our faith out each day in the real world? As we live it we will find out more about how real and valuable it is.
The 16 mile walk is on Saturday 4th October and I’ll be joining the team from a great charity called CYO of which I am a trustee. We’ll be walking around all of the secondary schools in Colchester and praying for each one on the way. The day will be a good opportunity to spend time with some great people and to talk with God together about the community that we serve. It is also a sponsored walk to help raise money to help support young people through the chaplaincy that CYO provides.
Please pray for myself and the CYO team as we walk together. If you would like to give something to help the young people who CYO support then we would be grateful. You can visit the walk sponsorship page by clicking here.