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Walking – Week 16 / April 13th
“Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their mind on earthly things.” Philippians 3:17-19
For Paul the Apostle living the Christian life meant walking it out. That is, the beliefs we embrace and hold dear and to be true should impact our lifestyle or, way of walking. Walking is of course an interesting illustration of what it means to be a true follower of Jesus as it denotes three things:
The Apostle does not say “run” but rather walk. Living for Jesus day by day means being disciplined and faithful. To some degree there is routine to the Christian life, and those who make out that they are living a miracle every day or hearing the voice of God every day are quite simply not telling the truth. God our Father desires that we should learn to trust Him by building His word into our lives and this is a process that requires much patience and consistency. Christians must learn to walk in the light of the Bible and not in the expectation of the sensational. This is not to say that God, by His Spirit, doesn’t break into our lives, from time to time in dramatic ways. He certainly does but He first of all requires that we learn to walk!
Once again for Paul, the way you walk denotes the way you believe. Those who have surrendered their lives to Christ behave or walk in a new way of living. This new way of walking speaks of the character of Jesus. Or, as Paul puts it in his second epistle to the Church at Corinth, we must become living epistles for people to read. (2 Corinthians 3:1-3) Our behavior must reflect the pages of scripture. Paul knew that this is in the reach of every professing Christian because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross for all men. He therefore confidently invited the believers at Philippi to model their lives on him! He was a walking pattern for them to follow. We should be the same; meaning that we should invite our fellow believers to follow us as we follow Christ. It’s time for the so called followers of Christ to “man up” and be the real thing.
The antagonists of the early Church took note of the believers and recognized that they behaved like Christ. (Acts4:13) Their way of walking validated their belief system.
There are many in the Church who are actually “inside outsiders.” That is, they speak the language, dress correctly, give generously and even live decently but they are going to hell! This is so because they live to satisfy their own personal desires. Paul says that they are “enemies of the cross” because the true Jesus follower will seek to live out the desires of Jesus. Jesus called these people “Tares” that grow up with the wheat and even look like the wheat and have a following that asserts that they are wheat! The truth is they are not and the only way you will know it is to look for what holds first place in their lives. In other words examine their walk carefully. Paul wept over these people while acknowledging that they were in the local church. He therefore says “note those who so walk, as you have us as a pattern”. This “noting” means look carefully for the difference.
To claim to be a Christian and not have all your desires submitted to Christ is a contradiction and designates one “an enemy of the cross” and sadly, as it was in Paul’s day, our churches are filled with people like this today. Their god is in fact their bellies, (never ending cravings), and their destiny is destruction. Powerful words indeed.
So, let us walk as Jesus walked (1John 2:6) and let us invite others to follow us. We should at the very least give this invitation since it is made possible by the power of the Holy Spirit in us.
©Malcolm Hedding Ministries