The Bare Soul - July 22, 2007
Progress, Not Perfection!

On occasion, I get asked the question, "Do you ever run with shoes?" My answer is usually the same ... "Why would I run with shoes if I have figured out how to run without them, injury free?" Do I run barefoot "perfectly"? No, I am always learning and growing as a barefoot runner. Do I ever have injuries? Sometimes, I will get a cut from running on trails or a stone bruise from running on asphalt. The bottom line is that I don't claim to have a perfect grasp on how to run barefoot, but I am always progressing and getting better at what I do. Practice, diligence, and perseverance are the key elements in my opinion at getting better at barefoot running or with anything in life.

When I first started barefoot running, I would check out Ken Bob Saxton's website and try to glean all I could on proper form as shown in his pictures and video. I tried to imitate what I saw until I started perfecting my own form. I was thinking about this on a recent run, and how far I have come as a barefoot runner. Another bottom line is that I wouldn't be where I am today in my progress as a barefoot runner if it had not been for others to imitate. This can be easily transposed to our respective walks with God. Paul the apostle in Ephesians 5:1 exhorts believers to "Be imitators of God ...". Does that mean we will become God if we imitate Him? Certainly not! However, it does mean that we will please the heart of God by seeking to be like Him. This does not discount the fact that we can't work our way into His pleasure, meaning that we are not governed by the commandments or the law for right standing with God. Jesus Christ paid the price for our salvation and that is a done deal. However, it must delight the heart of God when we attempt to imitate Him by loving one another and caring for humankind as He does. We must know with certainty that these acts do not commend us as righteous to our Heavenly Father since Jesus bought our redemption with His blood, but it does show our Father our desire to be like Him.

I remember when my children were small how they loved to imitate my actions. The kids had a toy lawnmower that they liked to get out when I was mowing. It warmed my heart to see how they would mimic my actions. Did they think they were really mowing the lawn? No, but they had fun pretending. I'm sure they were looking forward to the day when they would be grown-up and be able to do real grown-up stuff like mow the grass. (Hah! They quickly found out how over-rated that chore is!) We as Children of our Father, see things with child's eyes. We really don't understand holiness because we are not holy like our Heavenly Father, nor will we be until we see him face to face.

Several years ago, I was a part of a sub-culture holiness movement within a church I attended that basically believed we need not act like Christians because all of our works are like filthy rags anyway, and that we need to wait to be imbued with power from on high by the Holy Spirit and be changed as they were on the day of Pentecost. Of course, all those gathered in that Upper Room in the first chapter of the book of Acts were changed and behaved in a "holy" manner by speaking in tongues and prophesying in the Holy Spirit. But, were they all really "holy" with totally changed lives? I believe that they were definitely set apart for God's purposes but they still sinned and had shortcomings. (If you need proof, read the story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5.) What I came to find out in my own search for God and holiness, is that imitation truly is the highest form of flattery to the heart of God. My Heavenly Father knows that I KNOW in my heart of hearts that my own righteousness IS as filthy rags and that I can not do anything that is going to endear my Father to me any more than He already is by the blood of Jesus. However, I know He takes great delight in me wanting to be like Him and imitating and trying to be like him by being kind, loving, and giving to those here on earth.

I don't ever plan on getting to a place of perfection regarding my barefoot running, just as I don't ever believe that I will be perfect on this earth in my pursuit of God and His holiness. But, the journey and quest are inexplicably fun in both cases. And, best of all, I know that I have just as much time as I need for both pursuits. God has made sure of that by his magnificent will and destiny for my life!

Having a Blessed Barefoot Blast!

Barefoot Rick

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