I cannot remember learning to walk (I was nine-months old). I do, however, remember learning to ride a bicycle. I think the two experiences are fairly similar. I know that falling down is something both of them have in common. I also know that both of them require falling down as part of the learning process.
Learning to walk as a Christian seems little different to me. The only way to learn to walk is – to walk. And such walking necessarily involves falling down.
Christ said to those who believed in Him: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).
The truth of which He speaks requires action (“abide in my word”) in order to be known. We cannot know the truth and then do it: if we do the truth then we will know it. Like walking or riding a bicycle – you have to walk in order to learn to walk – you have to ride in order to learn to ride.
This suggests that our Christian journey is only partially aided by critical understanding. I can see someone else walk and know that it is possible – perhaps know it well enough to actually try to walk myself. But I cannot know the truth of walking until I do it myself.
We are a land of experts. Almost everybody has an opinion about everything – including when we say, “I have no opinion.” The suggestion that we should love our enemies is met with questions and objections (for instance). It is better met with the “baby” steps and stumbles of one who seeks to do the commandment. We learn as much from our failures as we do from our successes (sometimes more).
Various authors have been credited with the saying, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has so seldom been tried.” The saying is true.
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