” For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14
The ability to walk is a significant milestone for any human being, expanding the vista of one’s surroundings and experiences; it is a gateway to physical freedom.
The word “walk” is found throughout the Bible. I think of Psalm 1 describing the pathways that the righteous avoid, symbolized in terms of the various positions from walking, to standing, to sitting: a retrogression from mobility to immobility.
I think of Jesus commanding the paralytic to rise, take up his bed, and walk. I think of the apostle Peter, instructing the man crippled from birth to arise and walk in the name of Jesus.
In Galatians 5, the apostle Paul talks about “walking in the Spirit”. As I read this chapter, I perceive that the Christian walk involves the interdependencies of the virtues of faith, hope and love. Paul mentions the words “standing”, “waiting” and “walking”. It is faith that enables us to live in the Spirit, and to stand fast in the liberty given by Christ. It is also faith which builds up the “hope of righteousness.” Hope gives the grace to wait for desired ends. But it is love that makes faith work! Think of how powerful love is: as faith and hope enable the first step, it is love that sustains the walk.
Love is the fulfillment of the law. Walking in the Spirit, led by the Spirit, is walking in love. It is living and stepping outside the boundaries of the law, into the realm of total liberty. Walking in love demolishes the lusts and desires of the flesh and its pertinent bondages, yielding and turning into reality the very fruits of the hope of righteousness through faith.
Love never fails.
* photograph: by Hugo Romano