This time of year Patti, Kelsey and I start singing, “In my mind I’m goin to Carolina…” and don’t stop ’til we get there. For the past 3 years, friends of ours have blessed us with a week in May at their summer home that sits 15 minutes from two beautiful beaches. We use the week to get away from the ordinary of life and ministry in Bradford, to reconnect as friends and get ready for the summer of ministry ahead.
One of the most calming and focusing things for my heart and mind is walking on the beach and watching the ocean waves roll in and the sun go down.
It’s also great for our feet.
After spending a week naturally exfoliating our feet on the sand we then completely abuse them by hiking14 miles on rocky terrain to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back. The most refreshing feeling after the 7 mile trek down is kicking our shoes off, peeling off our sweaty, dusty socks and plunging our weary feet into the river. It instantly cools us right down.
The Bible actually connects our feet and the way we walk with our hearts and how callous they can become. Take a look at these verses;
“Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer WALK as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become CALLOUS…” Ephesians 4:17,18
“…you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do,…” Did God require His people to walk differently, with a distinctive pep in their step, limp or other distinguishing characteristic? How helpful would it be to simply be able to watch how someone crosses the street and know if they are a Christian or not?
As silly as this might sound, in a sense God does expect His people to walk differently. We are no longer to walk according to the ways of this world like the ‘Gentiles’; those who choose not to listen to God. We are called to walk, or conduct ourselves, according to what God says.
Look at the warning God gives us from the example of His people in the wilderness after they chose to disobey God and walk contrary to what He had said;
“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said,“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” Hebrews 3:12-15
The more we choose to walk apart from the wisdom and will of God the harder and more callous our hearts will get. But this can also happen simply by walking around in this world and getting covered in its dust and dirt.
We can go away on a time of refreshment and get a spiritual pedicure on our hearts and determine to never mess up our soft, clean feet (or heart) by staying safe inside but we would miss out on the Grand Canyon.
I love the example Christ gave us at the last Passover supper. After hearing their conversation which revealed how the wisdom of the world was rubbing off on them Jesus got up and washed their feet and then said this to them;
“A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.” Luke 22:24-26
After, Peter makes his classic refusal for his feet to be washed and then invites Jesus to wash all of him if that’s what it took to be with Him Jesus said to him,
“The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean…” John 13:10
Jesus gave us the sweetest picture of the importance of being washed in the water of the Word. Christ prayed that His Father would sanctify us by the truth and then said, “Your Word is Truth.”
We need to be allowing the Spirit to wash over our hearts and minds to renew them to what God says and to wash away the thinking of this world. We need to be willing to put our shoes back on and keep walking. God has commanded us to “Go into all the world…” and He knows better than anyone how filthy the world is. That’s why we need to walk in the world and be washed of it continually.
Let’s purpose to listen to God’s voice and allow Him to wash us with His word to keep our hearts soft with a fresh pedicure. We’ll be more sensitive to the things of this world which is always a more difficult way to walk rather than being hard and unaffected by the deceitfulness of sin. But we walk differently after getting a pedicure and it sets us apart as the people of God.