Clay Walks: A life lived in love

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*photo made with the vrsly app, using a pexel.com photo
Are the pages of Isaiah getting easier to turn as we man-handle the pages? My study Bible has these ridiculously thin pages and until a section has been tossed and turned again and again, I trip and I fall around trying to find the right chapter and verse. The pages stick together. I turn them and go six chapters too far. I back track and finally land on the selected passage. It becomes easier as I turn the pages more and more. As I study more, the pages have my fingerprints all over them. A side effect of this is that the pages get just crinkly enough that I can turn them deftly and without all the frustration.

This is how faith seems to work as well. Turn to Isaiah 30:18-22.

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
    and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
    blessed are all those who wait for him.

19 For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. 20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. 21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. 22 Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!”

Walking, like our fingers moving across the pages of our Bibles, is one of the descriptors of faith in the Bible. In Isaiah 30, we find a fun name for our God associated with this walk – Teacher.

We do not walk alone, girls. We have a Teacher who guides and leads. While this passage doesn’t speak about clay, it fits into our title of clay because clay is moldable. It’s instruct-able. When we say, “Mold me and make me, Lord. You are the potter, I am the clay.” We also say –

Teach me.

Walk with me.

Show me the way.

Isaiah 30 gives us clarity in this picture. As we walk in faith, not in perfection, but simply walking, we grow up into Him, into the Teacher, Christ Jesus. Look at Ephesians 4:14-15:

…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…

Look just a tiny bit further in your Scriptures and rest on Ephesians 5:1-2.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Living the truth in love looks a whole lot like walking.

Therefore…walk in love. I so often walk in hurt, in bitterness, in impatience, in discontent, in annoyance, in apathy.

Because of Jesus Christ, I can walk in love. I am instruct-able. I need and I have a Teacher to show me the way, to walk beside me, to walk behind me and cover me in forgiveness when I mess up. He also walks ahead to guide me in the True Light.

When I learn, I’m walking. When I grow, I’m walking. When I trust, I’m walking.

Check out Acts 9:1-2.

But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

Paul, he was walking as God’s clay before he even knew it. He was walking hunting down people. He was walking in destruction. It’s ironic that Christianity is referenced here and only here as “the Way.” Neither right nor left, friends. Jesus is the Way. Paul walked and life changed forever along that Way.

When I am wrong, I’m walking. When I repent, I’m walking. When the breath of forgiveness rushes in, and covers my sin, I’m walking.

He leads. I walk. In His love, in His mercy, through crinkly pages and brokenness into marvelous, inestimable Grace.

Keep walking, friend. Clay walks.

 

Exploration:

What was your first experience with studying the Bible?

 

What group Bible studies have been memorable for you?

 

What is the hardest part of walking in love for you?

 

 

10 thoughts on “Clay Walks: A life lived in love”

  1. I find it hard to walk in love when I deal with people who are constantly verbally critical (in a tearing down way, not a constructive way). Even knowing that the critic is this way because they themselves have suffered in a long-term unhealthy relationship, it’s still hard to walk in love with them.

    1. I was recently asked for some of my weaknesses. At the top of the list: loving people when it’s hard. In this together, sister!

  2. I remember growing up and “finding” my Mom’s Bible and I was extremely curious as to what it was all about, and when she saw I was looking at it , I remember a very firm “Be careful with that, you better not rip any pages” so I quickly put it back on her dresser where it was. Then when I was confirmed and received one of my very own, I was again told the same thing. So I guess I started really studying the Bible when I started teaching Sunday School. Not until I started attending Immanuel Chapel did the Bible truly open up to be the gift God intended it to be to me! I learned so much in Bible study there, yet it was tough for me to ask questions for fear of being embarrassed because I thought by “that age” I surely should have known more.
    Last year was the first time in my life that I read the Bible all the way through. Such a gift!!

    A side note, I understand Heidi what you were saying about the thin pages. I often have licked my finger tips to make it easier to turn my pages and I have been “called out” in a Bible study, by a sister in Christ, for my pages looking so bad. But now I know, a well used Bible is much more important than a pristine one setting on a dresser!!

    Sometimes the hardest part of walking in love for me is trust. I have recently had a major betrayal in my life. I didn’t have a problem forgiving but trust is an issue I have struggled with since then, and my “steps” are much more cautious than they once were.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Darlene! I think your experience with keeping the Bible tucked away and nice is so common! I’m so thankful for faithful pastors and sisters who open the Word to us. I love that teaching Sunday school opened the Word for you also. How special are those kids! They do more for us than they know. And trust- I like what you said about cautious steps- good to recognize. The important thing is that you’re walking. Keep licking those pages to know Him more!

  3. “I so often walk in hurt, in bitterness, in impatience, in discontent, in annoyance, in apathy.”

    This really hit home… I try to always walk in love, but sometimes I will realize that I have quite walking in love but I am instead walking in hurt, bitterness, impatience, annoyance….

    I think the lack of trust in certain people also will impact on how well I can walk in love.

  4. I don’t remember what was my first experience with studying the Bible. We learned about God at home and at school so it must have been one of those places.

    When I was a young mom, our neighboring church held a Bible study. I can’t remember the name of the study, but we studied the new testament one year and the old testament the next. I loved it. In depth and homework, too!

    The hardest part of walking in love is when I am disobeyed (by younger ones), disrespected, or hurt by others.

  5. I remember getting my first real Bible in third grade from our church. It was a tradition for them to be passed out to the whole third grade Sunday School class. I was so excited when it was my turn! Our current church also gives Bibles to the kids…in first grade. My daughter couldn’t wait to show me her new Bible. She carries it everywhere and reads from it often…makes my heart swell. I can hardly wait for her sister to receive hers at the end of the year.

    The most memorable Bible study was one I led regularly with a group of retired ladies. I was fresh out of college. Those ladies had walked the walk for two or more of mine. They had so much wisdom to share. I don’t remember the specific topics or lessons learned, but I know God used those ladies to shape my life. I miss them so!

    Right now, my children often try my patience. We’ve chosen to homeschool, which I am loving, but this introvert misses quiet alone time. Walking in love mostly comes easily with my children, but there are days…

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