“KEEP WALKING”                                                  By Pastor YAU

Hosea 11:1-4                                                              October 15, 2006.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)    The joy of a father: Here is a story of a father’s joy in helping his child to walk. “I remember those days long ago when our children were learning to walk. First they showed their readiness by pulling themselves up and take a tentative step or two. My wife and I would reach out our hands and encourage them to walk toward us. We held them up by their hands or by their suspenders on their overalls. We praised their every effort and encouraged their every attempt. We never grew discouraged, nor did we give up on them until they learned to walk.

2)    The joy of the heavenly Father: So it is with the heavenly Father who “taught Israel to walk”, held them “by their arms and drew them with bands of love.” (Hosea 11:3-4) Our heavenly Father stands before us with outstretched arms, encouraging us to go forward, eager to catch us when we stumble. He will pick us up when we fall and will never be discouraged by our slow progress. He will never give up on us nor will He stop care for us when we need His help the most. Famous Bible teacher George MacDonald put it this way: “God will help us when we cannot walk and He will help us when we find it hard to walk but He cannot help us if we will not get up and walk.” Even though if you fall, you must get up and try again and He will hold you by your hand.

 

WHY WALKING:

1)   It is a sign of growth:  If a child is 18 months or older and still can’t walk, most of us would suspect that there must be some problem in his growth process. God has installed in each normal child the ability to walk when he/she reaches a certain age. When it doesn’t happen, we all have concern. This is true in the spiritual sense: a new Christian is a spiritual child, with proper nourishment he/she should be able to stand up on his own and begins to learn to walk. When someone has been a Christian for years and still can’t stand up or walk but depends on others for support all the time, there must be some spiritual problem in him and he needs to look into it and find a way to correct the problem.

2)   It is a sign of self supporting: We all know that we will never be completely self supporting in our spiritual journey, but in our daily life, if we properly taking spiritual food and have proper spiritual exercise, we should be able to support ourselves to go through life and be able to do things God has designated us to do. I am not advocating self reliance but self supporting. No one should remain a burden to others after many years of being a follower of Christ. We all are responsible for our own spiritual growth and maturity. Taking spiritual food, the Bible, and exercise your gifts, service, are some of the means to grow stronger and be more useful. Paul mourned the spiritual deficiency of the early Christians at Corinth. (1 Corinth. 3:1-2) They became burdens to the church.

3)   It is a sign of usefulness: Walking at least means being able of proper functioning as a person. When a child begins to walk and walks well, he can go to the bathroom, to the couch or to his bedroom. A little later, he will be able to help mom bring a paper, a little stool or a story book. Little by little he is becoming useful. This is a very important step both in physical and spiritual life. We all want to be useful, functioning and be able to make a difference. Being useless in whatever way creates a very bad feeling.

4)   It is a means to achieve goals: Walking represents progress, one step at a time, toward achieving a goal. Before cars were invented, walking was the only way to get somewhere, to do something or to meet someone. Without the ability or willingness to walk, you will never get anywhere or achieve anything. Same principle applies in spiritual matters. You have to learn to walk and be willing to walk to grow, to mature and to achieve the purpose God has for your life.

 

THE PROBLEMS OF WALKING:

1)     Lacking proper understanding: The popular marriage/family writer Gary Chapter, author of the popular Five Love Languages, says in his book that his son doesn’t believe in walking. When Chapman invited his son to take a walk after supper, the son said, “No, dad. Walking doesn’t get you anywhere. If you want to get somewhere, you drive.” He doesn’t have the proper understanding of walking, especially walking with dad around the block after supper. Some Christians never learn to appreciate the beauty of Christian walk, much less walking closely with Christ. They allow other things to substitute the close walk with God each day and therefore they never really know God or get the benefits of doing so.

2)     Lacking determination power: In this health-sensitive society, lots of people know the benefits of walking, be it walk in the track at a health club or around the block. But still many people never take time to do just that and the primary reason is they never gear up the necessary determination to do that. They know the benefit of it but they don’t have the power to make that decision and they never receive the benefits of doing that. Same applies to our Christian walk. We all know the importance and the benefits of having a daily quiet time with God, a time designated only to prayer, a time set for worship, a sin or a bad habit we always want to get rid of, just to name a few, but we never gear up the necessary determination to do what we always know we need to do and therefore we will never be able to improve our Christian walk with God.

3)     Lacking the sustaining power: Quite a few of my friends told me that they spent hundreds of dollars to buy treadmills and had tried a few days when the machine was new but have since left them collecting dusts for months and years. They can’t keep up the routines to get the benefits of walking/running the treadmill. The primary reason they quoted for not continue the routines was “it was so boring.” They also said there are other things that took the time they suppose to exercise. To start a good habit is one thing but to sustain that habit is quite another. Many routines in life are of vital importance: eat food, drink water, breathing, sleep and exercise, to keep us not just alive but strong. Spiritual exercise is the same: they are often times so routine and boring, week after week and year after year doing the same thing. If you don’t have the sustaining power, you won’t have the results. Don’t let distractions rob you of spiritual health.

4)     Lacking the strength: Walking takes physical strength. You can’t walk if you are sick or have physical infirmities. You have to deal with the sickness and get rid of whatever infirmity you may have before you are able to walk again. The same applies to your walk with Christ. Search your life and heart to see if there are hidden sins, unsolved problems with people, secret evil thoughts and not so good attitudes, just to list a few, which are dragging you slow or even stop in your spiritual growth. You can’t carry a heavy load of sin or the world and hope for good progress. Confess your sins to Jesus and ask for forgiveness, restore that broken relationship with people, clean up your heart of the evil thoughts and bad attitudes and you will be spiritually healthy again to continue your walk with God.

 

WALKING WITH GOD: (Today’s text: Hosea 11:1-4)

1)     Walk in His love: (11:1) Just as parents love to see their children learn to walk, God also loved to see Israel learned to walk in His love as a child. All parents love to see those first steps their children made, regardless of how clumsy they may be. God also loves to see us struggle to take the first step in walking with Him. It is more than just our learning to walk it is also the expression of God’s love in seeing us growing up and learning to progress. God loves to see we grow stronger, do better, walk further and mature more. Every effort we may try, no matter how funny, and every achievement we may attain, no matter how small, they all are precious in His sight because of His love.

2)     Walk in His hands: (11:3) “It was I taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by their arms.” God did not just expect Israel be able to walk, He taught them how to walk and held them up by holding their arms. God uses words we can clearly understand how He helps us to walk when we don’t know or are unable to. If you don’t know how to walk with God, He will teach you. If you lack strength to walk with God, He will hold you up and lead you go. God never demands anything from us knowing we can’t do it by ourselves. He will always be there to hold us up when we are too weak to continue. Listen to His instructions and hold on to His hands.

3)     Rest in His healing: (11:3b) “It was I who healed them,” God said. There are risks involved in walking, be it going somewhere or for exercise purpose. There are also dangers on the roadway we walk: potholes, rocks, stumbling, ditches and other objects that may cause us to trip, to fall and get hurt. God knows them all and is ever ready and able to bind our wounds, heal our hurts and calms our souls. God will never leave us alone in our walk with Him. He is watching over us everyday and everywhere we may go and will heal our hurts to give us a break and rest. In this world of danger and uncertainty, getting hurt is inevitable no matter where you may go. But you can be assured of God’s power of healing. In Him no wound is too serious beyond His caring hands.

4)     Follow His leading: “I led them with cords of kindness and ties of love,” said the Lord. (11:4) We heard many mourned their defeat and pain because they followed the wrong leader or the crowd. So as you set out the walk of your life, make sure you follow the lead God set for you. Seek His guidance, His roadmap from His word, and you will never get lost into the wrong way or sideway. Focus on Him each morning, find out His plan for your life and follow His instruction in the Bible to deal with life challenges. Sometimes you may feel lonely, other times you may find it hard, but if you walk closely with Jesus, that is the right path leading to eternal life. (Matt. 7:14)

 

CONCLUSION:

1)    Are you ready to walk now?  Grow up and begin to walk. It is by walking you prove you are useful and productive. Stop being a child. Try your best to get up and walk. Stumble? Get up, try again.

2)    Walk with God: Hold on to the hands of God and follow His lead. Seek His face and guidance each day and you won’t go strayed.

3)    Reach for His hand:  God’s hand is always out stretched to hold us when we fall, to heal us when we hare hurt, to guide us when we don’t know the way. Ask God to come into your heart and make Him the guide of your life. Then you will walk with confidence every day.