“If you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk,” is familiar 20th-century American axiom. It is an alternative to various old sayings that express the idea that “talk is cheap.” Or “actions speak louder than words.”
Benjamin Franklin is reputed to have coined the proverbial saying “Well done is better than well said”.
The Bible uses the word “walk in this figurative fashion by referring to our manner of life. A course of conduct. A path of behavior.
Yesterday, my friend and preaching colleague, Mike Stephens, presented a fine lesson at Wellandport from Ephesians entitled: “Walk. Don’t Walk.” Mike has a unique style of preaching that is engaging, conversationally friendly, and very effective.
Mike made the point that the Ephesian brethren were not that much different than Christians today in the challenges they faced and the opposition they encountered. Satan continues to tempt us with the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes and the pride of life. So, Paul issued both some positive and negative commands regarding their Christian walk. Here are the 5 points from Mike’s lesson.
(1) Walk worthy of your calling. (4:1). Its attitude is rooted in humility, gentleness and patience. It’s based on the unity of the spirit and the oneness of Christian principles–one God, one Lord, one Holy Spirit, one Faith, one Baptism, one Body, and one Hope. Mike made the point that the Body is not the head, and so we should humbly listen to the directives of our Savior.
(2) Don’t walk like the rest of the Gentiles. (4:17). Their thinking led to a life that was futile. Foolish. And fruitless. It is a dark walk that results in every kind of impurity, insensitivity, and callous disregard for God and goodness.
The Christian walk is the exact opposite. Based upon a knowledge of God, and an understanding of Truth is it motivated by righteousness and issues itself in holiness, honesty, honor, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.
(3) Walk in love. (5:2) Love is the great commandment. Our attitudes and actions should be an expression of our love for God and love for others–our friends, family, and brethren. When we really love we exhibit the character of our Father and exemplify the lifestyle of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(4) Walk as children of Light. Just like Jesus is the light of the world, we are to be reflectors of that light. We all have a personal responsibility to let our light shine so that we can lead others to Him. Goodness, righteousness, and truth dispel the world’s darkness. Illuminates the way for others. And offers spiritual enlightenment.
(5) Walk circumspectly (5:15). In other words be careful. Be cautious. Don’t conduct yourself in a way that is careless, reckless, or indifferent. Be alert. Be aware. Be attentive. Walk in wisdom. Walk in the will of the Lord. And watch out for the devil. He’s out to devour you.
Mike’s lesson was a heartfelt appeal for us to walk differently than the world (Eph. 2:2). This walk calls for a new way of life. A different course of conduct. And behavior that denies itself of “fleshly lusts that war against the soul.”
Ultimately when we learn how not to walk, and how to walk, we will walk in God’s ordained good works (Eph. 2:10).
I was reminded that it’s good for us preachers to also sit and listen to practical preaching that appeals to us to follow in His steps. Yes, it’s not enough for us to “talk the talk,” we too, must also “walk the walk.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman