From one day to the next, we shuffle in our worn soles, grazing the arms of thousands. We come within the glow of souls and spirits in flesh, bearing an image of our very great God. We are one of these creations, independently thinking and feeling – bearing our own likeness to an unseen God. We are bound to this body, but our minds sometimes wander beyond our physical boundaries. The truth is, you sometimes wonder at other humans passing by. Sometimes, your mind picks up with the wind and drifts into another’s shoes. You look at other people, and you wonder what it’s like in their shoes. In fact, you might start to question your own shoes. You might pop your shoes right off at the end of the day, searching for a newer and finer pair, while neglecting the very shoes your Creator made for you. I’ll tell you a true thing. God made you the way you are for a reason. You should stay in your perfectly worn shoes, awaiting their glorification and the path they’re about to tread.
I’ll ask you a simple question: “Do you believe that you’re on the path God has for you?” You may not know whether to say yes or no, and that’s fine for this moment. Einstein didn’t discover the theory of relativity before learning about physics, nor did man walk the moon before engineering the rocket. You have to know what to rely on before searching for the answer. So, there is a glaringly important element to my initial question. “Are you prepared to tread the path?” Are you, as who you are today, ready to follow the path that God has you on, regardless of who you are right now? There’s a simple truth that God both equips us and leads us when we are boldly wearing our own shoes.
I’m convinced that too often, we are quick to doubt ourselves. Let me affirm you in one thing. You were not created to be a sinner. God didn’t make you to be a sinner, yet he gave you the capacity to choose something outside of his plans for your life. In all reality, he created you and called it very good. God made you to be his handiwork (Ephesians 2:10), his pleasure (Revelation 4:11), and his do-gooder (Also Ephesians 2:10). If that’s not enough, he didn’t just make you to spread his glory all over the place, although you have to admit that’s a nice take on the six creation days and on your life as a whole. 😉 God made you out of a love that started before your life began, and it keeps going infinitely past your death. Jeremiah 31:3 says, “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, with lovingkindness I have drawn you.’” Jeremiah, the prophet, was looked at and affirmed in this way. Not only is it infinite love, but God loves you with “lovingkindness.” In Hebrew, this word appears as chesed. Chesed, when looking at Strong’s Concordance, is literally defined as God’s deeds of devotion, his faithfulness, his favor, and his unchanging love. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” While you were still feeling disgusting, being selfish and vain, hating others and yourself, choosing to indulge today and forgetting tomorrow, or putting your heart in a freezer, God called you loved and he gave himself up for your sake.
Did you ever imagine that what Christ did on the cross had anything to do with what he wanted? Just attempt to grasp what being infinite, painless, stress-free, and perfect must be like. I fail to grasp it. But now, imagine making the choice to fit that infinite, painless, stress-free, and perfect existence into what we call home – this body. It doesn’t fit. It can’t physically fit. Christ, being the only way to redeem humanity, gave up that existence to fit into a human body, be finite, feel immense torment, and give you the choice to obey him. He didn’t die just to save you. He died to give you the choice to be saved, knowing that a massive number of humans would reject him. He died, knowing that the conditions were much more comfortable for you and I. Yet, Hebrews 12:2 says, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” For the joy set before him, he endured the cross. He endured a human life, and later, died for your free will to follow him. That is what he wanted. 1 Peter 1:18-19 says, “Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” He redeemed you with the most valuable, precious gift of all. You were worth giving up a most precious thing, because to him, you are a most precious thing.
So, if you’re not convinced that God values you, as you are, let me remind you of one more thing. Isaiah 49:15, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” You might feel like you have no shoes to fill worth filling, no life to have worth having, but the Father doesn’t forget that he made you, that he loves you, and that you are his. This life of yours was crafted. Isaiah 64:8 says, “But now, O Lord, you are our Father, we are the clay, and you our potter; and all of us are the work of your hand.” You were made by God’s hands, and he does not forget you. To that end, the shoes you wear in life are yours. God made you precisely as you are; he values you as you are. Getting to the next point, let’s talk about the path your shoes are on.
First of all, you are called to a high purpose. 2 Corinthians 5:20 says, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” You are made to be Christ’s ambassador while he’s away from earth. This goes back to being created as his do-gooders in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” God made things for you to fulfill as his follower, before you made it to those tasks. And, those things he’s created for you to do are good things. So, we have a duty to be pursuing the Word, striving for obedience, and discerning the tasks that are given by God.
Second, Hosea 10:12 says, “Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.” Did you know, a degree in Christian agricultural studies is yours to chase the minute you become a Christian? The Word states multiple different images of sowing and farming, but we’ll stick with two of them. In your life as a Christian, you are meant to serve Christ and obey his commands. I’m not a fan of how I was told growing up, “The Bible is your instruction manual for life.” If you’re anything like me, you leave the instruction manual in the box for the recycling truck, tucked away in case of an emergency, or off to the side for looking at the pictures. I don’t follow the instructions, and I certainly won’t read the whole thing. So, I’m going to call the Bible my “Inspiration Book for Life.” If it is well and good, it will be in the pages of the Bible for me to follow. If it is evil and destructive, it will be in the pages of the Bible for me to be forewarned. Our first task of sowing is sowing the Word of Christ in our lives. Find out what your “Inspiration Book” says about you, and sow the good ways of Christ in your life. Pull the weeds of doubt, hate, anger, and sin. Let God’s love grow in their place, because he says his righteousness will reap unfailing love.
The second sowing action is when you spread the truth of Christ in others’ lives. Mark 4:14-20 says, “The sower sows the word. These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. In a similar way, these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.” You are called to share the Word, as it is living and active, into the lives of people around you. It shall grow where it lands in some lives, it shall fail to grow in other hearts. Nonetheless, your task is to sow.
Finally, God is equipping you. He is preparing us for the tasks he’s given us to do. Ephesians 4:11-16 says, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
You have been surrounded by believers that can rub off on you, train you, and encourage you to pursue the Word. It is made to build you up, and likewise, you are to build up others. It is meant to give you a full measure of knowledge, so that you will stand firm on your foundation. The ways of the world are taunting, tempting, and treacherous for us when we aren’t following after Christ. Thus, follow after truth in Christ, and just as others are doing the same, it will keep you on track. You will do the work God has placed before you. The last action is this: Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Throw off your sin, tie up the shoes that God’s given you, pursue the tasks marked out, and run your race with perseverance. Good luck.