Learning to Walk

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.

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a priest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present and the Glory to God podcast series.





7 responses to “Learning to Walk”

  1. […] ☆ ☆ 3) Learning to Walkhttps://glory2godforallthings.com/2012/05/17/learning-to-walk/By fatherstephen on Thursday, May […]

  2. PJ Avatar

    “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.” –Chesterton

    Just what I needed today. Thanks.

  3. dinoship Avatar

    How outstandingly true!

  4. Lewis Avatar

    This is a very helpful and useful illustration. There is so much more to walking than taking those first steps.
    Walking is probably the one best physical exercise one can do. Walking aids digestion, posture and attitude. Jesus walked everywhere He went; what better way to spend time with others? Some Americans take short walks through the day because it helps them energize, work out tension, plan for the next meeting, etc. Many writers take a walk when they need to process out some of their thoughts.
    I’ll bet everyone reading this blog can add something to the rightness and benefits of walking.

  5. markbasil Avatar

    My favourite version of that saying goes:

    Christianity has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried.

    (I have always attributed it to G.K. Chesterton, after reading it so quoted in a Ravi Zacharias apologetics book of all places!).

    I read it first as a teenager, and it struck me as true, but secretly I always wondered what exactly it was about being a Christian that was so difficult. That was of course back in my Protestant days- now I know the truth of it in my very bones. 🙂


  6. Rob Avatar

    One of your shorter posts, yet so important. The Bible talks much of walking, e.g. Psalm 128:1 and Ephesians 2:10, yet many of us get caught up in the theology, or theory, of the Christian life and forget the practice part. I know that I could use the exercise.

  7. nrcraddock Avatar

    I love how St. Paul insists that his audience in Ephesus conceive of their life in Christ as a walk-in-progress. Thanks for a great reminder of that truth.

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