Last week, I wrote about becoming more Christlike as we go through life.
The New Testament often uses the word walk to talk about the process of living. (In fact, the NIV uses “live a life” in place of walk in Colossians 1:10.) There wasn’t space, however, to unpack walk. Today, let’s revisit those verses and consider three paths in which we walk (because in follows walk all three times).
Walk in the Way of Love
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. –Ephesians 5:1-2
Make love the
pattern of our lives.
Paul calls us, as Christ-followers, to make love the pattern of our lives. Love, he continues, is sacrificial. But notice something here. Christ’s sacrifice is Godward. He gave himself for us, but the sacrifice honors God.
There are some people in my life who are difficult to love. I’d rather not act or speak lovingly toward them. Big relief here: I don’t have to love that person before I can show love to him/her! Like Jesus going through us to honor God, I can love someone not for him/herself but as a way of honoring God. In the meantime, God will work in me to truly love the one in front of me because he loves us all.
For practical guidance on how to act loving (even when you don’t feel like it), look to the verse above our passage:
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. –Ephesians 4:32
Walk in a Manner Worthy of the Lord
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. –Colossians 1:9-10 ESV
Paul says it is possible to live a life worthy of the label we’ve received as Christ-followers. Sometimes we put ourselves down, believing we’ll never live up to God’s standards. While it’s true we’ll never arrive (see last week’s post), we’re drawn into increasing worthiness when we apply wisdom and understanding in order to discern and heed His will.
The result of walking worthy is twofold. First, through obedience, we bear fruit. That means our lives produce good things—tangible and intangible. People become believers, God is glorified, others see Jesus in us, etc. Second, we continue to learn more about him, which draws us into greater wisdom and a better understanding of His will, which makes us more worthy.
In obedience, we live up to
the name He has given us.
We obey so we’ll know how to obey more. Obedience pleases Him. Obedience makes us worthy of our label.
To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. –1 Samuel 15:22b
You are my friends if you do what I command. –John 15:14
By the way, Colossians 1:9-10 are great verses to pray for your kids.
Walk in the Light
If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. –1 John 1:6-7
To walk in the light means we move through life with the truth of Jesus around and in us. In the New Testament, darkness represents deception and the spiritual realm in which Satan rules. Light represents truth, honesty, and seeing the world as it really exists. (Ever wonder why Jesus healed so many blind people? Yep.) Think of walking around blindfolded compared to seeing what’s around you.
To put it another way, Jesus is the Light in which we walk. He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
On the Damascus Road, Jesus told Paul, “I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” –Acts 26:17b-18
And later, Peter tells us we “are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
We see the truth
about the world.
It’s as if we walk around with this spotlight on us, not in an I’m-watching-you way but in a let-me-help-you-not-stumble way. To be in the Light means we can see the truth about the world around us, and we can discern the true way forward. This Light leads us through our days.
Before you protest, thinking this is alot to handle, remember we’re not wandering alone and lost! The Spirit comes with us on these walks (Galatians 5:16, Romans 8:4), helping us stay on the path and grow in spiritual strength.
We walk these three paths all at once. As we proceed along them, we find ourselves becoming more and more like Christ. It’s practical and, with the participation of the Holy Spirit, very doable.
We make love the pattern of our lives.
We live up to the name He has given us.
We see truth and expose truth around us.
Sometimes the idea of becoming more Christ-like is overwhelming. I like these three points because they are practical and helpful. What do you think? Will these ideas help you “walk” through your days? Do you have anything to add? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!