Learning to walk by faith

The first time you tried to ride a bicycle without training wheels it was scary. You probably fell down and bumped your knee before you figured this out.   Any daddy who has ever taught a child to ride their bicycle knows you have to teach them to trust that you will be there to make sure there are safe.    It would be a terrible mistake to take off the training wheels before a son even knows how to turn or apply the brakes on a bicycle. Mothers, do you remember what it was like to teach a child to walk? Did you expect your daughter to walk before she was even able to stand? No. Of course not! You knew that a child must first learn to stand before they’re able to walk.

What would go through your mind, if you saw a grown man in a business suit crawling into his office at work?  Imagine if you noticed a grown woman crawling down the aisles of the grocery store, pulling a cart full of groceries behind her.  Grown men and women are supposed to walk. If you and I saw a grown man or woman crawling we would think there’s something mentally wrong with that person. This is also true of Christians. God the Father teaches his children to learn to walk by faith.  Learning to walk is a process.  Like all children, baby Christians must learn to walk by faith.   Let’s look at a couple of steps of faith:

Step 1- Strengthening the legs

There’s a story in the Numbers 14:1-4 about how God the Father was trying to teach his children to walk by faith. Unfortunately, they refused to walk by faith.  They sat down, put their thumb in their mouths, and refused to follow God. They wanted to crawl back to their cribs. God has placed a challenge before his people in Numbers 13:28.   He is asking them to go to battle against an enemy that is superior in numbers, lives in fortified castles, and has a race of super soldiers. Anyone would be terrified about what God is asking his people to do. However, God is also making a promise to his children that he will be with them. For 400 years God has promised to deliver his children into the land of milk and honey. All Israel needs to do is follow God and trust the results in his hands.

The journey of the Christian faith is a lot like learning to walk.  A faith journey starts with a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ (John 3:3).  You don’t start walking by faith until God has given you the gift of faith through salvation in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9). This relationship gives strength to legs that have no power on their own. God moves in the heart of people and as they respond to his free gift of salvation God gives the power to stand firm in the faith (Philippians 4:1).

If you’ve never started the journey of faith, I invite you to do that right now. Click this link to learn more information.  https://www.cru.org/how-to-know-god.html

Step 2- Learning to let go

Learning to walk requires that you get off the ground and start to stand on solid footing.  No child learns to walk before they can pull themselves up and stand on their own two legs. Standing is the start of walking. But standing alone doesn’t mean that you will be able to walk. At some point, you have to learn to let go.  Let’s just be honest, this can get real scary. Learning to let go requires that you no longer trust yourself.

A great man or woman of God has to first learn to stop trusting in their own abilities before they can really begin to trust God (Romans 7:18-19).   One of the challenges of the journey of faith is learning to no longer walk in our own strength.   This is where Israel failed the most in Numbers 14:3.   They couldn’t understand how God could give them victory because they were only looking at their own abilities. The truth is they didn’t have the ability to conquer that foreign army, God was promising to conquer that foreign army for them.  The children of Israel forfeited their future when they failed to trust God.

Step 3- Walking with the Holy Spirit

The journey of faith begins with one simple step. At some point, you let go of your own efforts and start walking with the strength of God.   Like every journey, one step leads to another.   God has been patiently, graciously leading Israel step-by-step from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the promised land. Israel simply needed to take one more step of faith and they would have been a free nation.  However, Numbers 14:4 demonstrates they weren’t willing to take one more step. They would rather go back to slavery in Egypt then receive freedom in the promised land.

One big step of faith should give you the strength and the courage to take the next big step of faith.  When you have been willing to take the next big step of faith then you find the strength and the confidence to take another big step of faith.   Pretty soon this journey with Jesus takes you somewhere you could never have imagined.

Keep this in mind the next time God is asking you to do something terrifying – he promises to be there with you if you will take the first step of faith. He promises his Holy Spirit will guide you and strengthen you if you will simply trust him.  Often, God doesn’t tell you where the journey will end, He just promises to be with you every step of the way.   You learn to walk by faith after you learn to lean on the Holy Spirit.   The challenge tomorrow and the next day is walking step in step with God’s Holy Spirit. Going only where he asked you to go and doing only what he asked you to do.   Yes, the journey of faith can be terrifying, but it can also be thrilling knowing that you’re walking step-by-step with God the Father.

Further reading