Jesus said to the people who believed in him, "You are truly my disciples if you keep obeying my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" John 8:31-32 NLT.
I can remember the first few steps of my baby daughters, especially our daughter Amy. She had crawled around for a while and eventually learned to stand on her feet holding onto something. One evening we were sitting in the living room of the little apartment we had outside Hershey, PA. Amy was holding onto the coffee table (one whose sharp corners had been removed by me so that she would not fall and bump her head on them). She navigated the territory around the table then got this look of delight on her face as if to say, "watch this." She was, as they say, "full of herself." In a moment of sheer delight and purpose Amy stepped away from the table toward one of us, though I do not remember who at the moment. Amy stepped away from what once was her security and into the waiting arms of someone who loved her and was as excited as she was to see her motor across the warm, burnt orange carpet. (It was the 80s after all)
Life is filled with first steps, isn't it? The first steps of our babies; our first steps into the kindergarten classroom; our first steps as husband and wife; perhaps our first steps walking across the platform at graduation from college or university. Life is a succession of first steps. We are a people in motion going somewhere. Our life in Christ is no exception. There was that first step in our following Christ. It was not the last.
There is a freedom that comes with those first steps just as there was when our little Amy, now with two little ones of her own, stepped away from what was familiar and safe and into the delight of new life and amblitude. Jesus said to the folks who came to believe him that they too must step away from old constructs and earthly life to a new life from above; a kingdom coming kind of life. (John 8:23) That step would bring them to a life of freedom--a life no longer holding onto the coffee table so to speak and into the arms of the One who loved them so extravagantly. He would be as delighted at those steps as the spiritual babe taking the steps.
Jesus said, continue, walk in what we understand then we become free. Freedom does not come from declaring truth regardless of how loud, eloquently or how often we do so. Freedom comes with the change of direction, away from the old life with its wounds and consequent limitations. As we take those steps, truth moves from the realm of the head to the realm of the heart--it becomes reality to us. We cannot hold onto what seemed secure yesterday where our souls were misinformed about the nature and intentions of God. We will find that He is good and compassionate filling our hearts with wonder. Once we step onto the path and into the journey we will never go back to holding onto whatever our particular coffee table was.
Our healing journey is a succession of first and next steps into the arms and excited embrace of the one who calls us to Himself. With each step we move into a new realm of life and discovery of the ancient heart which longs to hold and heal us. Step away--step into Christ!
| Thom Gardner is the president and pastor of Grace and Truth Fellowship, Inc., a ministry and local assembly dedicated to equipping and healing the Body of Christ, preparing them to minister the presence of Christ to the wounded who surround us. Thom is a graduate of Cornerstone Seminary in Harrisonburg, Virginia and travels internationally to heal and teach the Body of Christ in the mercy of God. Visit his website: www.graceandtruthfellowship.|