About a month ago, a family member reached out to me on Facebook and said, “I know God is in my heart, but I’ve got to find a way to get him into my life”. That statement jumped off the screen, dove straight into my head, and has been swirling around in my thoughts ever since. I’ve walked most of my Christian life in her shoes, and I have a feeling that those shoes are very popular with many Christians!
My journey, in those shoes, had been typical, with some occasional valleys and hills to climb, but nothing I couldn’t manage. I went to church, prayed, and always tried to live the way I thought God wanted me to. God came through for me when it really counted, even providing a miracle or two, making our relationship somewhat satisfying.
Inwardly, though, I desired to experience the Lord in a more intimate way, but I wasn’t quite sure how, and was always fearful of the cost. So, I chose to keep my shoes of complacency on, instead of wearing ones of God’s choosing. No wonder I liked those shoes! They were cheap, low-maintenance, very comfortable, and efficient. They were always in style and perfect for every occasion.
Like the soles of my shoes, my soul was well worn, doing what I needed and wanted to do. Over time, though, I began to feel stuck in those shoes, believing the lie that God, Himself, had placed my feet in them. Oh, what havoc they reeked on my spiritual condition!
But then, God swooped into my life like a huge tidal wave, knocking me over, forcing those shoes off of my feet, to be lost forever in the sea of His goodness. This enormous wave carried us to a wholly different state, literally and figuratively. It was as though God said, “Am I real to you or not? Are you going to trust me or not? Are you going to be my disciple or not?” I felt God say to me in my spirit, “How can you truly believe, trust, and follow someone you don’t really know?” And, for the first time in my life, I began to seek and know the God of my heart, which, in turn made Him God of my life.
I am reminded of this familiar story in Luke.
Luke 5:4-11 New Living Translation (NLT)
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” 5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” 6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7 A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.
8 When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” 9 For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. 10 His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.
Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” 11 And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.
Similarly to the disciples, I too, had previously been called once to truly follow him. Instead, I went back to doing what was comfortable for me. I knew Jesus was real in my heart, just as the disciples knew who Jesus was. I had to obey Him to establish His authority in my life, just as the disciples had to obey Jesus’ invitation to follow Him.
Like Peter, I am also awestruck at how wonderful and patient my God is with me. I am so thankful he looks beyond our shortcomings in this world, and sees our successes in His kingdom. The disciples left their nets, their security, behind to follow Jesus. I, too had to leave my shoes of complacency! Just as the disciples witnessed, first-hand, miracles of God, so have I.
The nets were not the only thing tested that day; so was the disciples’ faith. Faith is the conduit that takes Jesus from your heart and places Him smack dab in the middle of your life. For God to be real in your life, your faith has to be tested and tried until it becomes just as true and reliable as God is. Faith has to be applied in order to prove it exists. It’s impossible to please God without it.
To seek God and know Him more, there are three essential keys that unlock the door of your heart, accessing your faith, allowing God to flow freely in your life.
- Time that changes us
The disciples had the privilege of experiencing a personal relationship with Christ first-hand. They lived life with Jesus. The more time they spent with Him, the more invaluable their knowledge was of Him. I had a small view of God. I didn’t know God very well, because I didn’t know His word very well. God’s word is not only about His life, it is life. We get to live it with Christ, when we live in His word. Quality time reading and praying His word is quality time with Christ. The Bible says that God’s word is alive and powerful. It is! Once I started to take its truths in for myself on a daily basis, it began to change me and my view of God. God got bigger and bigger, and is still growing! God became alive and powerful in my life, when His word became alive and powerful in me.
- Prayer that changes us
Again, the disciples witnessed first-hand the power of prayer in Jesus’ life, so much so, that they asked Him to teach them to pray. For God to be strong and active in our lives, we need a strong, active prayer life. It wasn’t until I read the Circle Maker by Mark Batterson that my prayer life did a 180 degree turn.
Prayer in a Christian’s life should be engaging and interactive with God. I agree with Charles Stanley that prayer is our umbilical cord to God. It’s the lifeline that sustains us and keeps us truly bonded to Him. It’s not so much how often I pray, although I am certainly praying more now than I did before, it’s now a matter of where, how, why, and the way I pray. Batterson says, “Prayer doesn’t just change circumstances; more important, it changes us”. When prayer started to a have a significant role in my life, so did God.
- Encouragement that changes us
The disciples and the apostles were together, united. Their unity strengthened their faith and their mission to spread the gospel, growing the church. None of them could have withstood the persecution they faced without the fellowship and encouragement they received from their brothers and sisters in Christ. The same is true for us today.
I went to church all of my Christian life, but I wasn’t always involved and committed. The more involved and committed I became for Him, the more involved Christ became in my life. Not having my real family nearby, my church family has become my family. I am so thankful to the Lord for them! Their love and support helps me become who Christ intends me to be. Being grounded in a community of believers provides accountability, fellowship, encouragement, and unity. Every day, I catch a glimpse of Christ through them.
Wherever you are in your journey, whether you’re wearing His new shoes, old shoes, or no shoes, I am praying for you, sweet sister in Christ, praying for God to divinely intervene on your behalf, as He does for me. If you’re feeling stuck in the cute, comfortable shoes of complacency, I pray you will slip them off, put on the bold, daring ones God has picked for you, and chase after God and all He has for you. Since He knows where you are going, He already has the perfect pair in mind. God’s shoes bring out the best in you, illuminating His light in you. Yes, these shoes will cost you a lot more than the old ones, but they cost Christ a whole lot more when He bought them for you. Once you step out and take a leap of faith, God will step in and give you His grace.
These new shoes will feel uncomfortable at first, because as I have learned, God often places you out of your comfort zone. Come to think of it, they should always feel a little uncomfortable. In fact, when they start feeling too comfortable, you know it’s time to ask God for a new pair.
Life’s journey will transform into an exciting adventure. It will not only reveal hidden treasures about God, but you will find some about yourself. For me, these gems are the most rewarding! Sure, there will be moments you feel you can’t handle it alone, but that’s the beauty of Christ. You are never meant to. He is. Your view of God will change as well as your love for Him. You will find yourself not ever wanting to put on those old shoes again. God has great plans and a purpose for you, sweet friend. All you have to do is put on His shoes. You will LOVE them, because they don’t just make the perfect outfit or make a statement, they make you!