Walking the Talk

Posted on April 19, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Devotional Reflections

Rankin-Devotional“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.”  Ephesians 4:1

Everyday we should practice being aware of the question of whether or not the life we live is consistent with what we confess to believe. I grew up hearing the admonition that we ought to practice what we preach. Although that truism has an application to those who stand in the pulpit and proclaim the word of God, it is relevant for every Christian.

We would readily acknowledge our tendency to fall short of how we know we are to live. Anyone who has attended church and read the Bible knows how a Christian is supposed to live. Christ-like character and loving others is not always reflected in our relationships and day-to-day behavior. The piety that is normally associated with one who claims to be a Christian is elusive, and one’s lifestyle is typically stained by compromise with worldly values.

The Apostle Paul has just completed three chapters elucidating the doctrinal realities of what it means to be a Christian. We are undeserving sinners saved by God’s grace and created as new beings for God’s work. The fact that we are predestined to salvation, redeemed by Christ and sealed for eternal life by the Holy Spirit to the praise of God’s glory should make a difference in how we live.

Our calling to salvation from the penalty of sin is also a calling to a new way of life, but do we reflect in the practical realities of life that we are a new creature in Christ? Ephesians 4:1 launches a sequence of practical teachings based on the theological realities of our calling. The way we walk is not a reference to the gait of our footsteps but to our lifestyle and all that entails.

One’s identification as a Christian creates certain expectations. We may confess to be a follower of Christ, but does the way we live and relate to others match our calling? Does our walk match our talk. Too many Christians faithfully attend church, even teach Sunday School and fill places of service, but then revert to living like everyone else on Monday morning. The testimony of a changed life that would draw people to Christ erodes our witness. You have probably heard the expression, “What you do is so loud, I can’t hear what you are saying!”

The way we live–our daily walk–is for more powerful that what we say. We may confess to follow Christ, but it is meaningless if it is not backed up by behavior and attitudes that are Christlike and worthy of our Christian calling. Paul goes on to highlight some aspects of what it means to walk worthy: “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:2-3).

Those practical examples would be a pretty good start to “walking the talk.”

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