The experience of a Christian can be compared with that of a rope-walker in the circus. If you have been to the circus before you will understand. A performing rope-walker is always conscious of the task ahead at every performance. He can be pointed out as an excellent example of a careful man because a careless act will bring him down to the floor. He always looks straight ahead gracefully, never sideways nor backward. He may way at times be wobbly but he maintains as much stability as possible taking every step cautiously. He always carries a stick in his forward-stretched hands as he walks on the rope. Some say the stick helps him to maintain his stability as it is likely that without the stick, the incoherent movement of his hands may trigger off a fall. We must not forget that the objective of a rope-walker is to walk a certain distance on a rope from the beginning to the end without falling. And we must note that at the end of every successful crossing, a tremendous joy radiates in the face of the performer.
The rope-walker did not learn the art one day. In his life there must have been a period of crawling in the art of rope walking. There must have been a period when he was guided to stand, and yet in his life, there was a period of constant practice because they say practice makes perfect. At last, there came a period when he mastered the art and became a professional in the art.
The same is our Christian life journey. There were period of spiritual crawling when we did not know exactly what it was to be a Christian, there were period when we were being guided like a little baby in the Lord in order to stand and there were period when we began to realize our stand in the Lord and we began to see the reason for constant practice of what we stand for in the Lord. Glory be to God for the dynamism and relentlessness of the faithful servants of God — the instruments He is using daily to perfect us in the faith.
Jesus therefore said to them, “For a little while longer the light is among you. Walk while you have the light, that darkness may not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the light, believe in the light, in order that you may become sons of light.” (John 12:35-36)
Christ had expressly told us that we must walk in the light when we have the grace so that darkness will not overcome us. Imagine how beautiful it would be if the people that are been called by the holy name of the Lord are living together in a large community as it was at the beginning of Christian age after the Pentecost. Perhaps there would not have been crimes or atrocities that abound in our cities today. But if this is the case, the purpose of God through us concerning the people who are in need of the light of gospel might not have been met. In the world we live today, righteousness is becoming unpopular and wickedness at varied level is at the peak of its ugly fame. Take a look at the person by your side in the train, you will notice that cold, suspicious and distrust look. The only conversation you will hear around you is ‘excuse me, please.’ Thinking critically, can anyone be blamed when we take into consideration the hostility and wickedness that abounds today? In the office the relationship is strictly official with profitability as the only corporate goal. In our streets are the people that are living a reckless life of crimes, drugs peddling, strives, lasciviousness and other undefined evils are part of our own civilization. And yet the children of God dwell in this environment that is spiritually not conducive where godliness has been relegated to the background. Although we are in the world, but we have been admonished not be of the world. Thanks be to God for the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ that shed light on our path but the factors of flesh which is the worldliness tend to dim this bright light. This is the crossroad we always find ourselves at the time of decision-making concerning our spiritual life. The minister of God will not be there to remind you his preaching, the Sunday school teachers will not be around to remind us their teaching, and neither will your Christian parents nor your brothers and sisters. The battleground is your heart and you are the final arbiter. A right decision would lift up our heads in the righteousness of God and a wrong decision is would alter our Christian journey lead us into drifting to the abyss of darkness.
Some men of God have experienced this ugly situation in the past. The Bible described King David as “the man after God’s heart.” David was walking straight under the marvelous light of God from his youth until he looked sideways when he used his position as the King of Israel to take over Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah and send his innocent, loyal and faithful soldier to his untimely death because of covetousness and he drifted into darkness thereby. Thanks be to God Almighty for his swift intervention when He illuminated his path again through His Prophet, Nathan, who tactically confronted with his spiritual errors. David repented remorsefully and retraced his steps back to the light of God. It was not as easy as it is expressed here. From time to time the children of God were struggling with sin in their attempt to overcome evil with goodness. Was Paul thinking aloud about his helplessness when he said, “. . . the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me?” (Romans 7: 19-20) At the third crow of cock, Peter realized that he had drifted to the darkness. He wept sorrowfully in repentance. Lot’s wife, Judas Iscariot and Demas (2 Tim . 4:10) could not walk uprightly in that narrow way, they drifted into darkness and perished there because of the weight of worldliness in their heart.
We are not in any way better than the above men of old, in fact we face more social perils than them but we can still achieve our spiritual objectives if we apply the principle of the art of rope walking into our Christian life journey. The Bible says, “we can do all things through Christ who strengthen us.”
The rope walker in the circus always look straight ahead, the same way we are to look unto Jesus Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith. We must not give room for side attractions of this world that can distract the attention we are giving to his directives. Christ must be our role model in thought, in deeds and in observation as he had commanded us because the anchor of our salvation has already hold and gripped the solid rock, which is Jesus Christ.
“It doesn’t matter” is the language of this carefree world, and it is the name of that destructive train that is heading towards Hell Fire. We must not compromise. We must always compare our actions with the standard of the word of God and consider whether our ways and thought is righteous. The Bible warned, “. . . if you think you are standing firm be careful that you don’t fall.” (I Corinthians 10:12) Examine yourself daily. Put yourself on the spiritual scale of righteousness and take note of your shortcomings. Cast all the shortcomings to God and let the word of God control those worldly variances in your life. Do not allow the setting sun to rise to meet you in that besetting sin because we do not know when and where we are going to end the Christian life journey.
The rope-walker keeps himself stable with a stick in his forward stretched hands. Your stability in the Lord can be ascertained if you can walk close with Him. The book of Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” J.R. Baxter Jr. (1948) rightly concluded everything in the song, “Just a closer walk with Jesus” when he wrote thus:
Through this world of toils and snares
If I falter, Lord who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
Let me walk, dear Lord, close to thee.
If we allow the word of God to brighten our path everyday and we are taking every step righteously, and we are close to God, we will not fall and our candle light in the presence of Almighty God shall not be put off.