“Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Jesus walked.” – 1 John 2:6
If you’ve ever seen a newborn horse or deer try to walk, it’s a funny but heartwarming sight. It’s almost like they are trying to find their legs for the first time. Little children are much the same in that when they learn to walk, it’s a bunch of trial and error at the beginning. After a while, walking gets to be easier. It’s all about practice and confidence. They see someone else walk and think, “Well enough of this crawling around stuff, I want to walk too.” It doesn’t matter how silly it looks at the beginning, it is worth the trials and errors just to be able to walk.
There’s a lot of comparison to a little child learning to walk and a person becoming a Christian. First off, the unbeliever sees a Christian and decides whether or not to walk with Jesus. Just like in everything in life, the first step is the most critical. If we as Christians claim to have faith but we only act like Christians on Sundays, then we will drive people away from Jesus through our own lack of walking in God’s Spirit. We are members of Christ’s earthly ministry and need to walk as such. People might hear what you say, but they will definitely remember how you lived.
Secondly, as a new believer comes up in the faith, they are immediately bombarded by people all around that see the difference in them. All the slings and arrows you could imagine come at them, and many of them from their own friends and family. Remember to take this in stride, because it is hard for people to deal with such a change. When you start your walk with Christ and get closer to Him, your life can’t help but be different than what it was. The unsaved person that you used to be wouldn’t even recognize the new Christian you. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Lastly, no matter how much confidence or practice you have in being a Christian, you will occasionally fall down. That’s OK as long as you don’t ever give up. Jesus isn’t just for one time, He’s for all times. Just like a good parent helping their children, God our Heavenly Father sees us occasionally struggle in our walk and He promises to always be there, no matter what we do, to pick us up and set us right again. The slippery slopes in life are made into a stable footpath thanks to the blood of Jesus.
One thing that deserves a note, realize that new believers are just that, new believers. They have just spent most of their lives crawling through life, sometimes literally crawling out of bars and even crack houses. They have come to realize that there is a better way to live and that is why they needed Jesus. Their walk might not yet be as stable as yours or mine, so don’t laugh at them or tear them down with your words and actions just because they are still trying to find their “spiritual legs.” Instead, use your words to build them up and confirm them in the things they get right.
The Bible says that the Gospel looks like foolishness to some people. Just because my walk seems a bit silly to you doesn’t mean it’s not the best one I’ve got at the moment. I’m trying and getting better every day. In the end, I won’t be crawling around wondering where I went wrong. Thanks to Jesus Christ, I will be able to walk boldly through the gates of Heaven to hear my Father’s voice saying, “Well done.”