‘Walk this way, please.’

[] In the way

The book of Psalms opens with mention of two opposing paths: ‘the way of the sinner’ and ‘the way of the righteous’ (Psalms 1:1,6). And, later, one psalmist encourages us to pray, ‘Teach me your way, O Lord’ (Psalms 27:11). The little word ‘way’ is versatile in any language and can be used to indicate where you walk (on this path) and how to walk (in this style).

Throughout the book of Acts the Christian life is referred to as ‘the Way’ (Psalms 9:2; 19:9,23; 22:4; 24:14,22). Occasionally it is augmented to ‘the way of salvation’ (Psalms 16:17), ‘the way of the Lord’ or ‘the way of God’ (18:25-26), and ‘the way of truth’ (2 Peter 2:2). Those first disciples were indicating with whom they still walked, since Jesus had referred to himself as ‘the way … to [God] the Father’ (John 14:6)? Were they also acknowledging that their lifestyle was in the way that Jesus had walked, since he had made that claim after washing their feet – a demeaning task only performed by a domestic servant – adding: ‘I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you’ (see John 13:12-17)? He showed them the way to serve God as well as the way to God.

[] Walk the walk

The word walk, as we shall see, occurs often in the New Testament Greek text. But it is sometimes paraphrased in modern English versions as ‘live’. That is, after all, what the metaphor means, but it misses the very practical picture of simply putting one foot down after the other. ‘Walk’ implies what to do, but also how to do it, as Paul clearly spelled out in Ephesians 5:15-21,

‘Look carefully … how you walk … [D]o not get drunk with wine … but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs … to the Lord with your heart, … submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.’

The walk of a disciple of Christ clearly requires some very specific activities:

  • Don’t get drunk
  • Keep topped up with the Spirit
  • Sing spiritual songs to one another
  • Praise the Lord wholeheartedly
  • Submit to one another for Christ’s sake

[] Walk this way

  1. ‘Walk by the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:16). Walk with energy; don’t shuffle through life, but put a spring into your step by constantly renewing your inner being with the Holy Spirit’s presence. Then you will avoid the prevalent materialistic lifestyle of today’s society.
  2. ‘Walk in love’ (Ephesians 5:2) – not only toward God and our fellow-Christians, but when among work colleagues and shop assistants, walk with charity concerning their failures and walk with empathy concerning their needs.
  3. ‘Walk in the light’ (1 John 1:7) walk with transparency, but don’t impose your ‘light’ nor be intimidated by their ‘light. ‘Walk in the light of the Lord’ (Isaiah 2:5). John had just said, ‘God is light, and in him is no darkness at all’ (verse 1 John 1:5).
  4. ‘Walk in truth’ (3 John 3) walk in reality (Greek aletheia). Am I a different person in public than when I walk at home, or am I real through and through?
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