One of the challenges of walking I noted in my most recent post was to allot time to do it. So many of the things that are so good for us are ones we need reminders to do. Whether it is sleeping, eating the right things, exercising, or any other healthy habit, they don’t happen automatically. They don’t happen without discipline. They happen when we choose ourselves and plan them. I am sure we all wish it were easier.
The enemy (Satan) is very good at hindering us in any and all things that are good for us or help us become and stay healthy. But it isn’t just our physical walk that he likes to upend. He wants to hinder our spiritual walk in any and all ways. He is a success at it. After all, he has been practicing the tactic for thousands of years.
When Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:1 to walk in a manner worthy of our calling, it sounds straightforward. The first problem is whether or not we know what our calling is. A study of this passage points not to a specific call of any one of us, but rather to the call to all of us as Christ-followers. Do we know what that means? What does it look like?
That brings us to the second problem. How well we accomplish Paul’s admonition is determined by what we know about Christ and have ingested into our very being. If we have read and learned truth, that will go a long way toward the goal. What will help us even more is if we have ingested the truth so it is a part of us. Then we experience His life within us and our actions, words, attitudes, and behaviors will look more like Him.
The catch to all of this is this: do we know the truth?
We may not admit this often, but it is not unusual for any one of us to have some inaccurate information about Christ. Some of that comes from subtle messages we have learned or heard over time. Some comes from the accuracy of the source we listen to or read. I hear and see things in print that do not match the whole counsel of scripture.
There is also the lens we bring to what we hear and see that comes from living in a dysfunctional world and dysfunctional families that skews our perception of the Lord. It leaves a filter that we may not even recognize when we read the Bible or lesson to a sermon. As a result we can be blind to the whole truth. Let me remind you of an example I am sure you know that explains that.
It’s about the blind men and the elephant. One feels the leg of the elephant and believes it is like a tree. Another feels the tail of the elephant and thinks it is like a snake. It continues from there. Whatever part of something is touched becomes the reality. The issue is that the information is incomplete. The blind men fill in the missing information as though they have the whole picture. As a result the understanding and responses to it will be flawed as well.
We can do that with what we know or don’t know about Christ from the Bible and the many sources we may use to relate to or get acquainted with Him. How easy it is for us to be deceived as a result!
As I read Esther Meek’s book, Longing to Know, she wrote a profound four-word sentence:
“Obedience is lived truth.”
In order to comply with Paul’s words in Ephesians 4:1, I need to be obedient to the truth of his words and what he means by them. If I am obedient to the whole counsel of scripture, then I will walk in the manner Paul speaks of. For each of us one thing is certain. We will either live out truth or live out falsehood.
Our walk is indicative of what we believe. It represents my commitment to the truth. If it is complete and worked into the fabric of my being, I will not be associated with hypocrisy.
Obedience is a word that is less often used in our modern cultures. Western postmodernism values individual thought and choices. If we follow that path, the challenge to walk in a worthy manner will be thwarted.
So, what is the key to the challenge of walking that Paul tells us?
I think the key is to grow in the knowledge of the truth (meaning the whole counsel of scripture).
If we immerse ourselves in truth and follow Christ in obedience we will discover something else Esther Meek shares in her book:
“We don’t focus on the obedience; we move through it to focus on God.”