Unearthing Our Walk with Christ

Unearthing Our Walk with Christ

By Charles R. Swindoll

I remind myself most every year of the words of Socrates: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

That statement rings true because over time things tend to get complicated. We begin our Christian life with utter delight and simplicity. But as tradition, religion, and too many activities begin to pile on top of what was originally there, the simplicity can get lost.

I thought of that several times in a recent visit to the Holy Land. Frequently people come to Israel to walk where Jesus walked. They often ask their guide, “Did Jesus walk here?” Unscrupulous guides will say, “Oh, yes, He was in that church and He probably saw that building.” But honest guides pause and say, “Come here, let me show you something.” And they walk over to a precipice and lean over a fence, “Look down there about twenty-five feet,” the guide says. “Do you see those stones? Jesus may have walked there.” Then the traveler begins to realize that over the passing of centuries and numerous wars, the sands of time have slowly covered multiple feet of the original site. Sometimes there’s a twinge of disappointment, but I always look forward to those places where we can say for sure, “Jesus walked here.”

For example, we know He walked on the Sea of Galilee. There’s no way to build a church over that! There’s no pile of rubbish, stack of debris, or rocks for people to kiss. All the stuff of tradition and religious veneer is conspicuously absent — it’s just water. It’s the same surface Jesus walked on. There you see the same shore where He called some of His disciples to leave their nets and follow Him. It’s an amazing feeling to be right there where they were. It’s an eye-opening thrill to see what they saw!

Every time we lead a tour to Israel we tie up a group of boats in the middle of the sea. We ask people to bring a rock on board and let it symbolize some burden they brought with them as they began the tour. After a brief time of worship and teaching, we say to our friends, “The burden you brought with you, let it be contained in the rock and just let it drop into the sea.” It’s a great moment. Everybody stays as silent as a room full of nuns! Then you hear plunk ... It’s great! And then plunk ... plunk ... plunk. Burdens sink and hearts are lighter. Almost without exception, the time on the sea remains each person’s favorite part of the tour. Why? Because we have returned to the original. It’s the simple, uncomplicated place where you renew something that has gotten buried over the years.

Has your walk with Christ become buried? Time has a way of doing that (remember, time complicates things). After a series of heartbreaking experiences, overwhelming obstacles, wrong decisions, and maybe an abusive church or two, it’s easy to lose your way. That’s why periodically we need to re-examine our lives — and get back to the basics.

In a world that has lost its way and in a culture that has drifted far from truth, how helpful it is to return to the Bible’s uncomplicated command, “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith ...” (Colossians 2:6–7). Notice the order of Paul’s words; it’s intentional: “having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him ...”

We can’t grow up in the Christian life until we grow deep. And growing deep means returning to the basics. I’ve noticed a pattern in my forty-plus years of ministry. Everyone who succeeds in the Christian life succeeds in the basics. Everyone who fails has, at some point, let the basics slip. It’s easy to do.

For the longest time in my life, I glibly mouthed Christian truths. They never took root until I began to spend time regularly in the Book. I’m not referring necessarily to reading a book about the Bible or good Christian materials. I’m talking about letting your eyes peer intently onto the pages of your Bible on a daily basis. When you embrace the written Word of God as your guide, you start thinking differently. And best of all, you live better. I urge you to make this New Year a year when you and the written Word of God get much better acquainted.

The Scripture offers us a promise — a motivation —t o unearth our walk with Christ: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands ... purify your hearts ...” (James 4:8). I pray that this year will be a year of purity for you, purer than last year, and even purer than the last ten years. May you finish the year by saying, “I drew near to my Lord. He and I cultivated an intimacy I never knew before. There were extended periods of time through this year when I was with Him alone. This year I learned to take my deepest anxieties to Him in prayer.”

I have found personally that when I’m in His Word and when I’m faithful in prayer (even if it’s five minutes a day), I grow a little deeper. I have discovered that the Christian life is nothing more than the life of Christ — living and growing in my life. When I draw near to God, He draws near to me. It’s wonderful!

May I urge you to blow the dust off your Bible and to remove the rubble that has buried your walk with Christ? Begin again with a fresh, simple commitment to the basics — to spending time in the Word and time in prayer.

One day you will discover the rubble is gone and the debris is cleared away, as you find yourself walking where Jesus walked. In reality, you will find yourself walking with Him.

Charles R. Swindoll, “Unearthing Our Walk with Christ,” Insights (January 2006): 1–2. Copyright © 2006 by Insight for Living. All rights reserved worldwide.

About the Author:  Charles R. Swindoll

Charles R. Swindoll