Part of the Punta Gorda Pathways bicycle and walking trail takes you alongside the Peace River. There is a stretch of the pathway that is bordered by a picturesque mangrove thicket. As I walk this beautiful trail I have noticed various animal footprints in the concrete. Footprints of heron, panther, fox, raccoon, and even a bear. It didn’t take me long to realize the footprints were fake. The designers of the trail purposely made these footprints no doubt to add a touch of the wild to our journey through nature.
Fake footprints however, can cause a real problem in our spiritual lives. It is possible to do a pretty good job of replicating the walk of a child of God without being one. We can appear to others as good and decent people. We may go to church, give to charitable causes, and even serve in various roles within a religious setting. However these religious footprints do not make us a genuine child of God. Jesus made a sobering statement in Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” In Jesus day and in ours there are those who instead of being genuine believers are make-believers. True believers in Christ are those who have repented of their sins and received Jesus as their Savior. They are characterized by walking in the footsteps of Jesus doing the will of the Father.
The footprints that I saw engraved in the concrete were not made by the real animals, they were fake. I pray that the footprints we make in life are made by a genuine faith that is intent on following our Savior.
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation