The Bare Soul - April 27, 2008

Revelations 2:4-5a - But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first;

I have taken a few spills when running, but probably far less since I started my barefoot running journey. As I have said in some of my earlier writings, eye/foot coordination becomes a highly developed skill when running sans shoes. It has to be, otherwise the consequences might be dire. Occasionally, however, I will still fall from this place of "grace" when my feet don't do exactly what I expect of them. I have probably stubbed one of my toes only 2 or 3 times since running barefoot. When I do, it is a shock back to reality that I am only human when it comes to proper foot placement. I was keenly aware of this a couple of months ago when I whacked a curb with my left foot, not bringing it up high enough to clear. The black toenail was a reminder for the next several weeks of my error.

Sometimes we need reminders not to make the same mistakes whether the result is a stubbed toe or wounding our relationship with Jesus. As believers, we can lose form and spiritual technique long before the proverbial "black toenail" manifests. Subtle divergences off the spiritual path will always be the greatest enemy of the vigilant pilgrim, and compromise will often seek to be the substitute for the diligent soul. It is quite easy to get lackadaisical in our spiritual "form" as we begin to take our walk with the Lord for granted. At times, it may be general laziness or contentment with where we are with God. Then, it can also be a general disassociation with godly things and a new fascination with the things of the world. One might defend their position in this regard and state that they are as busy as ever for Jesus and are stalwart in their devotion. However, it is one thing to be busy with the things of the Lord and quite another to be ministering along side of Him.

When Jesus initially swept us off our feet and we felt such closeness and love, we would do anything for Him and would shun all suspects seeking to interfere with our intimate relationship. We did not need any reminders of His love, peace, and joy. Conversely, when we venture away from God's love and embrace our own way then we are faced with the barrenness of a fruitless life. As the bride states in Song of Solomon 2:16, "My beloved is mine, and I am his". However, before this in verse 15 the bride says to the bridegroom, "Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, While our vineyards are in blossom." The bride is aware and mindful that enough "little foxes" can destroy an entire vineyard if they are left to eat the grape blossoms. The same thing is true of developing "spiritual fruit" within our lives. We must be vigilant to protect what the Lord has given us to tend and to bring forth His fruit in due season.

However, what is the outcome if one day we "wake up" and find that that our proverbial vineyard has been destroyed? What if the "little foxes" of sin have taken over, little by little, until one day we realize that they have destroyed much of the relationship that we have with the Lord? From this point of clarity we can DO the following:

  1. Remember or realize where we have fallen.
  2. Repent of our failings and ask God to forgive us.
  3. Restore our affections to Jesus through His grace
  4. Rejoice in the Lord and give Him thanks!

The Divine Memory of the Almighty is always there for us to draw upon to remind us of who we were, who we are (in Christ), and who He desires us to be. His reminders are not those of condescending rebukes when we fall from a place of grace, but those of loving memorials to His loving-kindness and mercy. He will most certainly set us once again on the path of righteousness and then with loving direction will correct us with His subtle reminders to cultivate our spiritual "form" and to tend to the way that He has laid out. The most important thing is to remember from whence we have fallen and to quickly ask for His grace to be once again restored!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we give ourselves afresh to You. Keep us in Your grace, steadfast in our affection to You. For You are the One that keeps us mindful of the way in which we should go. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Barefoot Rick

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