This past week I led a team of 13 folks on a missions trip to Piedras Negras, Mexico. I love short-term mission trips because they give me the opportunity to get away from the normal routine of life, and see God in a new context. It’s always a great time of seeing God at work, as I step out of my comfort zone, and fully trust Him - walking by faith through a new culture and new experiences. And through that process, God readjusts my perspective on life and ministry to a clearer focus on Him.
For me though, the real challenge to these short-term mission trips is coming home and not slipping back into the normal routine of life. In other words, it’s a challenge to remember that what God called me to do on the trip is no different than what He calls me to do at home - and that is, to walk by faith.
I don't really think it's a coincidence that the phrase “walk by faith” is used so many times in Scripture. We’re never called to “sprint” or “run” by faith - instead, the Bible tells us to “walk” by faith. And I think that's intentional because “to walk” indicates that it's a continual, regulated and repetitive action. In other words, it’s a slow and steady sort of thing.
But of course, we like things to be fast. We have microwaves, e-mail, cell phones, and instant messaging – all geared toward making our lives easier and quicker. Which is why, when it comes to our spiritual lives, so many of us struggle. There's no hyper drive to our walk of faith - instead, it's a slow, steady walk. As a result, many of us have these bursts of energy, and for a short while we run hard with God. And then we collapse. And actually, that’s what often happens on mission trips – when folks serve God passionately while away, and then get discouraged when they return home and realize they’re the same person they were before the trip began.
So what we need to do is to learn what it means to truly WALK with God - to have the regular, continual, repetitive motion in our lives of simply putting one foot in front of the other and following God. Whether we're at home, or on the mission field, it's the same thing - we walk with God. In Romans 1:17 the Apostle Paul tells us that, “the righteous shall live by faith”. So it's not by emotion - not by fear - and not by worries. It's by faith.
I know that sometimes it seems like nothing's happening in terms of our spiritual growth. There are days when we don't really feel like we're moving forward, because as we look at ourselves every day, we don't necessarily see any changes. But if we persevere and walk by faith day by day, month by month, and year by year, we will be transformed. And our faith will be built and strengthened as we look back and see how far God has brought us in our walk with Him.
So today, take a minute and pray with me that God will help us to walk by faith - day in, and day out - learning to trust Him every step of the way.