Sermon / Pr. Lucas A. Albrecht / New Year's Eve / Sunday December 31st 2017 - / Galatias 4:4-7 / "Who to walk with"
Text: Galatians 4:4-7
Theme: Who to walk with
Intr – At some point in their life, children learn how to walk. That usually happens around 10-12 months, give or take a little. At first they crawl; then they kind of get up on their feet yet a little bit unsteady, until they finally start to take their first steps. Eventually they are starting to walk around without leaning on anything and without help. What we know, then, for sure is that in less than 2 years of life, as a general rule, a human being can learn how to walk.
Learning where to go though, that's a completely different matter. A human being can live 10, 20, 50 years knowing how to get going but still not know where they are going, where their walking is leading them. Or at least, they can be really confused about it. Am I going to the right place? Am I in the right place? When we don't know where we are going as we walk, it may generate lack of orientation in the professional, personal, sentimental, or relational areas of our life. We may sometimes be left wondering if we are walking in the right direction. Even if there is actually a right direction to walk in.
As we end another year of life and look forward into the New Year we might be thinking about those things. We know how to walk, how to get going; we have some means to walk, but are we sure where we should be going? In what direction, in which capacity, by what means? When the New Year begins, sometimes insecurities surface in our life, sometimes all we think about is "What will this year be like? Will I get over those problems I have? What will my family life look like? What will things look like for myself, in my job, my church....?”
This is something that may come to any of us. Then our hearts may be filled with anxiety and preoccupations. Indeed, we know how to get going, but we may be caught in the dead end, the cul-de-sac of "where are we going"?
Learning to walk is one thing. Learning where to go is quite another. That's why is crucially important to know Who we are walking with.
In less than two years of life we learn how to walk but we can travel down many, many years of life without knowing for sure where we are going. That's when who we walk with makes the difference. Who do I walk with in my life? Who walks in me, through me and for me? Do I walk only by the things I see or am I guided by the things I believe?
In the Epistle for today, Galatians chapter 4, we find answers to that question. It says that "when the fullness of time had come God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those who were under the law". St. Paul shows the Galatians the perfect One to walk with. Jesus Christ came to this world under the law so that He might fulfill the law, thus saving us from this same law. He came to be that one WHO we walk with in the assuredness of forgiveness and love. Christ knew how to walk and He knew where he was going. He walked all His way down way to the cross so that we would be assured that we have someone who teaches how to walk and, where we are going as we walk. He points out our sin, but out of His great love, by faith, He wants us to run to His shelter of forgiveness and new life found only in Him.
Whenever we may be afraid of the future, whenever the past makes us suffer, those are the moments when we start to be unsure where to walk, and sometimes we may even doubt if we still can walk in Jesus' hands. Christ is close, ever near to let us know that we have Him to walk with. He walks for us and waits for us at the end of life's Walk.
As we look ahead into the New year, as we think of our walk in life, another aspect of it is related to the type of life we have and what others do. Sometimes we may be tempted to think that if only I had so and so's life, so and so’s walk of life, my new year would be different, and my living will be better. Because, take a look at my life, how miserable I am, or how unfortunate I am, or how my life is wrecked, messed up. We look through our windows, over our fences, to our neighbors' life, to rich and famous people’s lives, and we are tempted to think that if only we had their life, then we would certainly be, at least, a little happier, a little better. We would be in better shape.
This reminds me of a seminary class back in the 90s with professor C. Steyer. He was approaching this very subject when he made us think about what it would really look like to exchange places with a different person in life. He said, you have to realize that you would get the full package. With their house you'll get their bills; with their body you'll get their vices and health issues; with their families, relationships, you'll get all the good and bad stuff they deal with. Even the most seemingly secure person has their fears; the most powerful people have their insecurities; the prettiest ones have their own body's pet peeves. Sometimes the most smiling couple is the first to part ways. Often, all you see of other people's life is only the bright side, without the problems, the troubles, the worries. As perfect as they may seem, people's lives are as filled with the same types of things as yours and mine. We are all sinners. We are all cut of the same cloth: human beings.
In short, if you would exchange places with another person, you'd get everything they have. I'm sure that in the end we would say: "You know what? I'm better off keeping and living my own life".
Christ came under the law to rescue us from the law so we might become children of God. He wants us to be our own person - not someone else. He came to renew each one of us, to give us a new heart, with a new perspective in life, where we are and the way we are, so that we can be assured that we don't need to switch places with anyone. We don't need anyone but Him to walk with in faith. By His grace we are transformed, renewed, in Him we have a new life.
In the end it's always good to look ahead into the New Year and know that we walk in God's hands. Because if knowing how to get going is one thing and knowing where to go is a completely different thing, knowing WHO we can walk with, by faith and in Grace, brings us the fullness of what we have as children of God and heirs of eternal life. We have the Lord Jesus, the Way, the One to walk with all along life's way.
As we walk with Christ we are walking as well with the people he placed in our lives. We share with them our walk of life, we walk together through different moments, problems, joys, and sorrows. We share our faith with different people, especially with the ones who know how to walk but may be lost in the matter of where they are going, and feel completely alone. Christ Jesus is both the Way and Who to walk with along the way. In Christ we were saved from the loneliness of sin and from the bane of hell. Now we know not only how to walk, and where we are going; we have the perfect company for that. Share Him!
We know that with Him we are on the right path and going in the right direction. We are in the path of righteousness, love and principles; Repentance, forgiveness; strengthening, connection, life. And we are walking heavenward. This is not a meaningless walk. It is the walk with Jesus, the Way.
Cc - Learning how to walk is one thing. Learning where to go is a completely different matter. That's why with Christ, as children of God and heirs of heaven, we know WHO TO WALK WITH. He binds both perfectly together. Amen.