Walking. I like to walk. Walking is my kind of exercise ~ not running, not jogging, simply a nice brisk walk. I have been walking for a long time, long before it became the new health thing to do. And to be honest, I do feel a certain sense of smugness when I hear some doctor with more letters after his name than a can of Campbell’s soup spouting, with sincere surprise, the exciting health benefits of just walking. Well, duh! I have known that since I was two!
One famous doctor recommended you walk 20 minutes a day and another recommended 45 minutes three times a week. Now, I don’t mean no disrespect ~ but aren’t they saying about the same thing? I suppose that there are as many different recommendations as there are styles of walking.
Some walk swiftly, like me. Some walk slow and stop to smell the roses. Some swagger and some step smooth. Some walk solo and some side by side. Oh yes, there are many styles of walking. But just as important as how you walk is who you are walking with.
I was contemplating a verse written by the prophet Micah and in this verse God tells us that His preferred style of walking for us is with Him and humbly. What does it look like to walk humbly? My imagination went to a young man, his gate uneven, his head hung low, hands pushed down into his pockets. No, no, no! Cut! That is shame, not humility. So what does walking humbly with God look like?
First of all, we are moving, we are going somewhere, we have a destination, we are on a journey when we walk. Sometimes our journey takes us right back where we started and it feels like we have been walking in circles. In fact, many of God’s people have found themselves walking in a circle ~ some of them spent 40 years circling the same mountain. But when you walk with God, even if you feel like you are walking in circles, you can be sure you will arrive at the destination God has for you.
If it isn’t the walk of shame, then how is walking humbly characterized? Sometimes the best way to understand the meaning of a word is to look at the complete opposite, the antonym, of that word. When I looked up the antonym for humility the first word listed was pride. I wasn’t surprised.
A prideful walk with God is easy to imagine. I’m leading, I’m setting the pace, I’m determining when we leave, and I’m deciding where we will end up. Because, after all, I’ve been walking since before I was two. I’ve got this down. I know best.
I direct the conversation, because I know God won’t mind, He tells me I can come to Him with anything. And I do ~ all my problems, all my cares, all my questions, all my needs. God listens attentively, His love for me is obvious, but sometimes it seems He tries to get a word in edgewise. Sadly, I don’t have long to walk and less time to listen. This, my friend, is a prideful walk with God, one I have made more than a few times. This is a walk of shame.
So to walk humbly must mean we give God preference. We allow Him to lead, to set the pace, to tell us when to start and when to stop for rest. We engage in a conversation while we walk, allowing God to speak to us about the things that are important to Him ~ things like justice and mercy. We let Him determine the destination. So if you really want to be healthy, don’t just walk, walk humbly with your God.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8