The Bare Soul - April 6, 2008
The Word Brings Life

1 Peter 1:23 - For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

It's always refreshing to see someone "get it". This is definitely true with barefoot running as one begins to reap the benefits of learning ball/heel, or if you like mid-foot strike technique. The minimal impact incurred running barefoot versus running with shoes is remarkable in most new convert's minds as they begin their barefoot running journey. Or, for those of you who are not runners, when you understand why someone like myself or others would run barefoot in the first place. Of course, most readers know that in my case, necessity (bad knees) became the mother of invention. For the uninformed, it is quite easy for someone to shout from a car window "Hey, get some shoes on ..." not understanding the method behind the seeming madness.

We all have moments of clarity when the lights literally come on regarding life's situations. We think we understand, but when the epiphany comes we will never again look at the situation quite the same way. We may have possessed an intellectual understanding of something, but once we experience the truth and the reality it all becomes brilliantly clear. I can vividly remember the birth of my children, especially my first child and son, Benaiah. Even though it was nearly 23 years ago, the image and joy of that moment is still transfixed into my memory. When Benaiah's head popped out and he came into this world, I was overcome with joy and love for my newborn son. I wept uncontrollably, hearing his cry as he breathed air for the first time. One could never have related to me how I would feel at that precise moment in time. I witnessed the miracle of birth and it captivated my spirit, soul, and body to the point where I was overcome with emotion. (Note: Today is my second son, Samson's 21st birthday. Happy birthday son!)

The joyousness of the moment of birth in the heart of a father is shown over and over again in the scripture as the Father of Lights draws us to a place of accepting His Son as our Personal Savior -- to be literally changed by the power of the Holy Spirit. One of my favorite examples of this is when Jesus is talking to the crowds regarding the parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7) and He declares that there is joy in heaven when someone repents and experiences the new birth. I believe that there is a joyous outburst of the Trinity along with all the saints and the angels in heaven when someone truly turns to God. However, I believe becoming a true son or daughter of God goes much deeper than merely uttering a few words as "every head is bowed and all eyes are closed". Even Paul understood this as he addressed King Agrippa in Acts 26:27-28. Agrippa told Paul that ... In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian. Agrippa's thought patterns had changed and he may well have been on his way to conversion, but conversion is not salvation. Converted thinking may lead to salvation, but is not salvation in and of itself. The knowledge and converted mind must take up residence 18 inches below the head in the heart.  When the Word lives in the heart then someone like Agrippa can say as Isaiah said ... "Woe as me, I am a man of unclean lips" and later that "... our own righteousness is as filthy rags". To be born again is not merely hearing the Word of God and making a decision to follow Jesus Christ. It is much more than that. It is a deep understanding that the Risen Son died for us, and that He has invited us to be identified with His death that we might walk in His Life! (Romans 6:4). This does not come by just reading a scripture and making a decision. It comes by seeing that we are wretched sinners that have violated our existence on this earth by being creatures of sin that have transgressed against a Holy God!

True understanding is only limited by our experience. If we have never "walked in someone else's shoes" (or bare feet!) we can never say equivocally that we understand their experience. Others may look on with admiration at a Christian's life and think they live admirably and respectively in this world of ours. Yet, they may never understand that as Paul stated, "It is no longer I who lives, but Christ lives in me" unless they too become born again by the power of the Living Word. Those who have truly experienced the life changing power of God and know the reality of the Risen Lord wag their heads when folks commend them on their respectable lives. They know that the reality of their understanding only came through the Living Word which demonstrably changed their life from the inside-out. Only His Word can bring this type of life altering change. May heaven rejoice, this day, over many who would not only hear the word, but allow it to live through them.

Your barefoot servant,

Barefoot Rick

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