How do you walk? Sounds like a silly question doesn’t it? If you have ever had an injury or illness which hindered your ability to walk it isn’t so simple. When I had Guillain-Barre Syndrome, I was unable to even turn over in bed. Walking was out of the question. As I began to improve, I was very unsteady and had to think about something I had taken for granted. Each step had to be contemplated and taken with a conscience effort. I praise the Lord that I made a full recovery, but recently, as I read Ephesians, I came across the following instructions God gives us through Paul.
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV
Our lifestyle is brought into focus in this passage. We are challenged to purposefully walk worthy of our calling. It struck me that we need to pay attention to each move we make in life. We need to intentionally choose steps which conform to the call of God and His purpose. Our attitude is mentioned as well. We are to walk in humility, gentleness, and patience. We are to ensure our steps maintain unity with our brothers and sisters. Each move must be focused on God and the needs of others.
So I ask again, how do you walk?
If you’re going somewhere and you’re off course by just one degree, after one foot, you’ll miss your target by 0.2 inches.
- After 100 yards, you’ll be off by 5.2 feet.
- After a mile, you’ll be off by 92.2 feet.
- After traveling from San Francisco to L.A., you’ll be off by 6 miles.
- If traveling from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., 42.6 miles off.
- Traveling around the globe from Washington, DC, you’d miss by 435 miles and end up in Boston.
Over time, a one-degree error in course makes a huge difference! (Antone Roundy)
As I am writing this, 2017 is in the books and 2018 is just a few days old. With the change in the calendar, we have an opportunity to examine where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. It is easy to begin to drift in our spiritual lives. If we drift even a small degree from our purpose in Christ, it can lead to disastrous consequences. Our doctrine can begin to drift into error and outright heresy. Our life can drift one compromise at a time into ungodliness.
Paul, writing to the Ephesians in chapter 4:17, 20, & 22-24 offers a reminder of the contrast which should mark our lives. He says, “17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!– 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” ESV
We must always seek to put off our old sinful selves, and put on the new person we are in Christ. As we take stock of our lives and reflect on the past and look toward the future, make sure you are on the right path spiritually.
Have you ever had trouble staying on task? As a classroom teacher, I have witnessed many with roaming eyes. I have often seen students wander off topic and lose their focus on the task at hand. Before we get too self righteous, I must admit I have seen adults do this and am sometimes guilty myself.
It is easy to get busy and let our eyes roam. Proverbs says, “Wisdom is the focus of the perceptive, but a fool’s eyes roam to the ends of the earth.” (Proverbs 17:24 HCSB). Too often we take our eyes off the wisdom of God and substitute a false wisdom which comes from our own understanding. If we look to the world around us, our moral compass will be off. I have witnessed a slow fade away from godliness became a mad dash racing toward destruction. Society is distancing itself from God’s wisdom in so many areas today. Regardless of the topic, if someone’s justification for their opinion and conclusion comes from their observations in the world, they have lost their focus. They become fools when they allow their roaming eyes to find justification for their sin they desire to cling to. They feel right and justified because they can point to others who have the same opinion. However, morality can never be determined by polling the populace.
My dad is a retired pastor. I recall him saying many times, “God said it, and that settles it!” I cringed as a kid at the absoluteness of that view. As I moved out of the house and entered my adult life, I found myself finally getting it. When choices arose about my behavior and the behavior of those around me, I found myself at the point of casting off God’s word, or complying with it. It is really as simple as that.
Too many Christians today are conforming to the world. They are looking at the world to answer questions of morality. Today, we need an awaking to wisdom. We need to refocus our eyes on God and His view on life’s issues. Only then will we have the right focus.
We’ve all heard it. It is one of those legendary lines Moms use on wayward kids. When the unsuspecting child discovers that amazing entertainment of crossing their eyes, their ever diligent Mom says, “if you keep doing that your eyes will get stuck that way!” Little did I know they were right. Last week, my wife and I took our kids to see a movie. Since we are behind on our movie going, we went to the bargain movie theater to catch the film we wanted. Normally, that works fine, but this movie was in 3D. I’m not sure if it was in the equipment or the operator, but the movie never totally worked. I wore my stylish 3D glasses but things stayed out of focus. After squinting and straining I was able to get the center clear enough to watch. After 2 hours of this the movie ended with the hero winning, when we got in the truck to drive home, I was puzzled by the blurred road. My eyes were stuck! It has taken a couple of days to get over that forced wrong focus.
Maybe that is why God inspired Paul to write “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable — if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise — dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8 HCSB). The things upon which we focus stick with us. They make an impression and set a pattern for us. For example, by focusing on a lie long enough and performing mental acrobatics to twist our brain, we begin to think the lie is true and the truth is a lie.
Let’s stop pushing and straining to make ourselves fit this world. Instead, we need to have our minds fixed on the things above. High and noble thoughts which conform to the word of The Lord.