Health experts tell us walking can provide some great benefits to our health if we do it consistently. According to the Mayo Clinic, walking is a gentle, low-impact exercise that can ease you into a higher level of fitness and health, and walking is a form of exercise accessible to just about everybody. It’s free, safe, simple, doesn’t require practice, and the health benefits are many:
- Lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol)
- Raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol)
- Lower your blood pressure
- Reduce your risk of or manage type 2 diabetes
- Manage your weight
- Improve your mood
- Stay strong and fit
All it takes to reap these benefits is to start a routine of brisk walking. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. The good news is that walking — even only a modest amount — provides immediate health benefits.
Excuses That Defeat
Unfortunately, even though many people know the benefits that walking affords, they choose not to. Many people think, “I really should get some exercise; maybe I’ll go for a walk”, but the television or a good book captures their attention instead . . . or they remember they have something else to do and a long walk would interfere . . . or it’s too early, too late, and they’re just too tired . . . or the thought of exercising is just simply unappealing, so they sit down again . . . or never rise up in the first place. Exercise is an individual decision and it’s not enough to just desire to go for a walk. You have to actually do it. Everyone is free to walk or free to sit . . . but whatever your decision, it will have an impact on your health.
How to Start
Build walking into your schedule today. For example, walk for 10 minutes on your lunch break. After a few days, increase your walking time to 15 or 20 minutes. Then, for maximum benefits, work your way up to 30 to 60 minutes a day, every day.
Track Your Progress
Keeping a record of how many steps you take, the distance you walk and how long it takes can help you see where you started from and serve as a source of inspiration. Just think how good you’ll feel when you see how many miles you’ve walked each week, month or year. Record these numbers in a walking journal you create for yourself or log them in a spreadsheet on your computer. Another option is to use an electronic device — such as a pedometer — to calculate time and distance for you.
Share the Experience
Starting a walking program takes initiative. Sticking with it takes commitment. But when you think of the potential health benefits, it’s well worth your effort. Over time you’ll likely feel more invigorated. To stay motivated, why not share the experience? If you don’t like walking alone, invite your spouse, partner, friend or neighbor to join you.
Vary the Routine
Keep it interesting. Vary your routine and plan several different walking routes for variety.
The Ultimate Reward
Even though the first steps of any journey can be the most difficult, it helps to keep your goals foremost in your mind. So remember, once you take that first step, you’re on the way to an important destination — better health.
Another Kind of Walk
There is another walk – a spiritual exercise – that offers similar parallels to those described above, but the effects are more widespread because they apply to both this life and to eternity. 1st Timothy 4:8 tells us “Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important for it promises a reward in both this life and the next.”
As the Mayo Clinic so aptly put it, this form of exercise is also accessible to everyone. It’s free, safe, simple, doesn’t require practice, and the health benefits, in this case, are out-of-this-world!
Excuses That Defeat
Unfortunately, even though many people have heard about the benefits of walking with the Lord, they delay their decision to do so or simply choose not to. Some people say I am a good person anyway, so why do I need Jesus . . . or I am too bad to be saved . . . or there are too many hypocrites in the church . . . or I can’t live that kind of life . . . or I need to get some things straightened out before I get saved. Many unbelievers today do not doubt the existence of God and the facts concerning salvation. It is just a matter of what’s of value to them. Sadly, they are just too occupied with other people and activities which are of more importance to them than either the Lord or His blessings of salvation. Because they are so busy with the affairs of this life, they can’t be bothered with the inconvenience of walking with Jesus. They consider God and His offer of all the blessings of salvation to be of little importance and value. Tragically, their wrong priorities and their excuses will keep them from someday walking on streets of gold and experiencing the blessings of the Kingdom forever!
This walk is an individual decision and it’s not enough to just think about it. You have to actually do it. Everyone is free to make their own decision in this regard. . . but whatever your decision, it will have an impact on your spiritual health and your eternal destiny.
How to Start
For those who have never walked this particular walk, the first thing to consider is ~ you’re not here by accident. God loves you. He wants you to have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus, His Son. There is just one thing that separates you from God. That one thing is sin.
The Bible describes sin in many ways. Most simply, sin is our failure to measure up to God’s holiness and His righteous standards. We sin by things we do, choices we make, attitudes we show, and thoughts we entertain. We also sin when we fail to do right things. The Bible affirms our own experience – “there is none righteous, not even one.” No matter how good we try to be, none of us does right things all the time.
People tend to divide themselves into groups – good people and bad people. But God says that every person who has ever lived is a sinner, and that any sin separates us from God. No matter how we might classify ourselves, this includes you and me. We are all sinners.
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
Many people are confused about the way to God. Some think they will be punished or rewarded according to how good they are. Some think they should make things right in their lives before they try to come to God. Others find it hard to understand how Jesus could love them when other people don’t seem to. But I have great news for you! God DOES love you! More than you can ever imagine! And there’s nothing you can do to make Him stop! Yes, our sins demand punishment – the punishment of death and separation from God. But, because of His great love, God sent His only Son Jesus to die for our sins.
“God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
For you to come to God you have to get rid of your sin problem. But, in our own strength, not one of us can do this! You can’t make yourself right with God by being a better person. Only God can rescue us from our sins. He is willing to do this not because of anything you can offer Him, but JUST BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU!
“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.” Titus 3:5
It’s God’s grace that allows you to come to Him – not your efforts to “clean up your life” or work your way to Heaven. You can’t earn it. It’s a free gift.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
For you to come to God, the penalty for your sin must be paid. God’s gift to you is His son, Jesus, who paid the debt for you when He died on the Cross.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
Jesus paid the price for your sin and mine by giving His life on a cross at a place called Calvary, just outside of the city walls of Jerusalem in ancient Israel. God brought Jesus back from the dead. He provided the way for you to have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus. When we realize how deeply our sin grieves the heart of God and how desperately we need a Savior, we are ready to receive God’s offer of salvation. To admit we are sinners means turning away from our sin and selfishness and turning to follow Jesus. The Bible word for this is “repentance” – to change our thinking about how grievous sin is, so our thinking is in line with God’s.
All that’s left for you to do is to accept the gift that Jesus is offering you right now.
“If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10
God says that if you believe in His son, Jesus, you can live forever with Him in glory.
“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
If you are ready to accept the gift of eternal life that Jesus is offering you right now, here’s a recap of what this commitment involves:
- I acknowledge I am a sinner in need of a Savior – this is to repent or turn away from sin
- I believe in my heart that God raised Jesus from the dead – this is to trust that Jesus paid the full penalty for my sins
- I confess Jesus as my Lord and my God – this is to surrender control of my life to Jesus
- I receive Jesus as my Savior forever – this is to accept that God has done for me and in me what He promised
If it is your sincere desire to receive Jesus into your heart as your personal Lord and Savior, then talk to God from your heart: “Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and I do not deserve eternal life. But, I believe You died and rose from the grave to make me a new creation and to prepare me to dwell in your presence forever. Jesus, come into my life, take control of my life, forgive my sins and save me. I am now placing my trust in You alone for my salvation and I accept your free gift of eternal life.”
The Bible uses two terms to describe what happens when people say yes to God and join His family: born again and adoption. To be born again means that the new Christian is part of God’s family just as certainly as they are part of their earthly parent’s family. He is their Father, and they are His children. (See John 3:3-8.) The other term used to describe this relationship is adoption. Even though all humans are born in a condition that inevitably leads to death, Christians are adopted into God’s family and given all the inheritance rights of God’s Son. Because Jesus rose from the dead, those who trust in Him will, too. Because Christians are part of God’s family, they can feel completely secure. He will not disown them or rewrite His will. He has promised to be faithful to His children, and God always keeps His promises. As children of God, Christians can have power to follow Jesus even when the way is hard, power to make Jesus known to others, power to love and to serve. His children also have hope. No longer will they fear that death will ruin their plans and destroy their relationships. Instead, they have confidence that God will raise them to life in a new world where all is life and peace and joy.
Now – Some Beneficial Exercises!
Next, you’ll want to read what God has written to help you stay on the path and finish the course. Think of a daily appointment in God’s Word – the Bible – as being wonderful nourishment and strengthening for your spiritual body. A person does not enter a marathon without lots of training and building up to that event. So, too, as you explore God’s Word on your daily walk, it’s okay to start with small steps.
Baby Christians need rich nourishment, and no source is better than God’s Word. The Bible, a collection of 66 books, is a portable library that contains enough nourishment for several lifetimes of rapid growth.
- To learn more about God’s love for His children, read the short book of I John, near the back.
- To get better acquainted with Jesus, your Savior, read one of the Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.
- To understand more about how Jesus’ death means life for you, read Romans.
- To praise God for inviting you into His family, read some of the Psalms (start with Psalm 100).
Why not start off by trying to spend 10 to 20 minutes every day in God’s Word? By the end of the first week, you’ll have spent over 2 hours with Him as He speaks to you through His Word, and as you get to know Him better, you’ll want to spend more and more time with Him, hearing what else He has to say to you! And with that being said, He wants to hear from you too! Make prayer a habit. This means talking to God about anything, at any time of the day or night. It also means spending a “quiet” time with Him where you meditate on His Word, tell Him of your love and devotion, and talk to Him about others and their needs. In any relationship, communication is vital.
Track Your Progress
Keeping a daily record of your spiritual walk can help you see where you started from and serve as a source of inspiration. A Christian journal is a place where you can write down your prayers, collect your thoughts on the things God is teaching you, record Bible passages and the wisdom and insight you’ve gained from reading them, and record the amazing things God has done in your life. It can be an amazing tool to help you record God’s transforming work in your life. Sometimes we tend to forget just how many times God has answered specific prayers, made timely provision, and done marvelous things in our lives, but having a place to collect all these memories prevents their being forgotten and reminds us of God’s faithfulness to us.
Share the Experience
When you experience something that has a positive effect on your life, you want to share it don’t you? Why do you suppose Zumba, Spin Classes, Step Classes, etc. are so immensely popular? It’s a shared experience where everyone is enjoying the exercise and benefitting from it together.
When a new Christian opens the door to Christ and comes home to God, they acquire a new set of spiritual brothers and sisters – God’s other children on earth. It is important for God’s family to meet together regularly. Churches are where God’s people gather to worship Him together, learn from the Bible, encourage each other, and welcome new believers into God’s family. Baby Christians need to be nurtured, protected, taught, and loved, and the church is the best place for them to gain the support they need to grow tall and strong. Find a church near you that does these things, and get involved. Your church should believe that the Bible is the accurate Word of God, that Jesus Christ is God’s Son, that He is fully God and man, and that only through faith in Jesus Christ can a person have eternal life.
As you continue your walk with the Lord, there will also be other ways that you’ll want to share the experience.
1 John 1:3-4 says “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We do this to make our joy complete.”
There are friends, family members, and many in our neighborhoods and world who do not know the Lord or don’t know His Word. But we do, don’t we? And we’re experiencing the wonderful benefits of doing so! Jesus prayed for his disciples and for us, the children of God the Father, on the night that he was betrayed when he said in John 17:17, Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. As those who know the truth of that Word, our calling is to go to our neighborhoods and throughout the world to proclaim the truth of that Word. In that same passage Jesus says My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. As Jesus sent the disciples into a world in need of the Word ,so also today, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we are sent into the world to proclaim the story of Jesus as Savior.
And sometimes that involves walking!
Vary the Routine
- Walk across the hallway from your apartment or across the street from your house to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a neighbor in need.
- Walk to the cubicle next to you and proclaim the hope of Jesus to a coworker.
- Walk the neighborhood and pray for the salvation of those who live in your community.
There are many ways that we can walk in the Word to make an eternal difference in the lives of those around us, but it starts with our own connection to Jesus. He is the one who gives us the strength through the Spirit to know the truth of the Word and to proclaim that truth in Word and deed in our lives and through the lives of people throughout the world.
The apostle Paul writing to the church in Rome quotes from the prophet Isaiah when he declares, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” May God strengthen your walk this week as you spend time with Him in His Word and as you go forth to proclaim the joyous Word of Christ to your families, neighborhoods, schools, and world.
It’s a special path that He wants all of us to be on.
The Ultimate Reward
Even though the steps of any journey can be difficult at times, it helps if you keep your goal foremost in your mind. So remember, once you take that first step, you’re on the way to an incredibly gratifying walk . . . and a very important destination!
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Revelation 21:1-7 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
1Corinthians 9:24-26 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore . . . let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
Philippians 3:10-14 Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.