Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. (I Thessalonians 4:1, ESV)
The Christian faith involves an ongoing daily walk that supports the “talk.”
There is no spiritual plateau in becoming more and more like Jesus. Yes, when we get to Heaven, we will be like Him (I John 3:2); however, until that time, we are encouraged to continually walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh (Romans 8). “Walk” is defined as our daily lifestyle and reputation.
The Christian life is not about lofty notions, philosophies, or spiritual posturing. It is about putting into practice what we learn from God’s Word and Spirit. It is one thing to have much knowledge about something – it is quite another to put that knowledge into practice.
For five years, I was privileged to work as a race “spotter” on the safety crew at Daytona International Speedway. It was an incredible experience to learn the racing terms, safety rules, different engine sounds, and varying colors and smells of car smoke. It was thrilling to watch the cars race around the track at breakneck speeds – while also participating by calling the wrecks, warning of debris on the track, and drawing attention to other safety issues. However, to my chagrin, not once did they ask me to drive one of the racecars. To be qualified for that would require me to have the racing knowledge as well as the skill and experience – and many hours of practice.
Similarly, the Christian walk isn’t about having a wealth of knowledge about Scriptures. It is taking what we learn, listening to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and applying it to our everyday lives – living in a manner that is pleasing to God (I Thessalonians 4:1). If we are not spiritually stronger than we were a year ago, how can we say we are growing closer to God or into the likeness of Jesus? Even for the spiritually strong and steadfast, each day presents the opportunity to align our lives more closely to Him. God calls each of us to a life of holiness (I Thessalonians 4:7). Our daily goal should be to become more pure in spirit, mind, soul, and body. If we put this into practice, our Christian walk will more closely mirror our Christian talk.
- How do your lifestyle and reputation compare with your Christian “talk”?
- If your family and closest friends were to describe you, what characteristics would they use?
- In looking over the past year, how have you grown spiritually?