During the summer I had a conversation with a young friend of mine, someone I've considered a nephew since they were born. We were discussing how you can tell if you really believe the words of the Bible.
During the conversation I had this picture come to me:
at night when I walk through my home or an unfamiliar room, especially if I know it has a flight of stairs my 'walk' changes. I slow down, I use my toes to feel out the terrain in front of me and I walk much more cautiously. Why? Because I don't want to fall down a flight of stairs in the middle of the night.
Here is the analogy as I explained it to my nephew. If I put a blindfold on you, spun you around to disorient you as to your placement in the room and told you there was either a step up, or a flight of stairs in front of you and then instructed you to walk forward; and you believed me you wouldn't walk the way you normally do.
You would most likely walk more like I described how I walk in the middle of the night with the lights out.
Now, if you didn't believe me, your walk wouldn't change much from how you walk when you're fully sighted. Your confident of being able to navigate this world on your own, and because you do not believe what I've told you, you don't need to make any adjustments to your 'walk'. The instructions I've given you may be interesting to hear, even good advice for someone else or another time but they don't really apply to you.
As this picture unfolded in my mind with deeper understanding I came to see what the different parts of the picture meant.
The blindfold (or darkness) - God's ways are not our ways, and we can't understand fully God's thinking. He sees things from an eternal and timeless perspective. He also sees our heart and motives, not just our appearance and actions. He also has created this universe and all of its laws and has full understanding of them and all the benefits and consequences they bring. Our limited understanding (or darkness - blindfold) is that we don't always understand the complete why behind what God has asked us to do. There are many things that God has said are not beneficial for me, and from my human perspective I don't understand why, so I walk in partial or total darkness at times. But obedience through faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness (Romans 4:22 & Galatians 3:6), and that is what I am striving for - with God's help.
The step or flight of stairs - this is the potential negative consequences of my actions if I'm not careful. Just like stubbing my toe(s) on a step, or worse; falling down a flight of steps in the dark could be the consequences of actions I may take or fail to take. We must be careful here, because Christ's death and sacrifice covers all sins, but I also believe a healthy and scriptural fear of the Lord as well as a love for Him that compels me to live a life pleasing to Him should be my guiding factors in decisions I make on how to live my life. Otherwise as a wise friend pointed out to me this summer - can you really call Him Lord of your life and not just Saviour. These aren't actions to earn God's favour, nor my salvation but rather appropriate responses to the Love poured out to us by God and changes we ask and allow God to make in us (James 2: 14-26).
The instructions or warning about the step or stairs (the danger); this is the living word of God - the Bible. If you truly believe that the Bible is more than just a collection of stories, but rather the inspired and living word of the Creator of the universe and you and me, then shouldn't we take them to heart and heed those words as Abraham did?
My 'walk' then should be different! And visibly so to the outside world, otherwise what change has occured, and if no change has occured in who you are, and how you behave, then how much if at all have you allowed God into your life.
If I could watch into a room at night with night vision goggles, and saw a person walking with hands outstretched to feel, legs being pushed forward using their toes as 'feelers' I would know exactly what they are up to - they've changed their 'walk' to avoid a disaster. When the world watches you (especially if you don't realize anyone is watching you), do they see that you're walk is different than before or from others?