The Christian’s Walk
In the Scriptures, the term walk is often used to describe the way in which we conduct our lives. God expects His people to conduct their lives in a certain way. Paul wrote to the brethren in Colosse about this: “So that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects” (Colossians 1:10). How do we walk in a worthy manner?
Walk in Newness of Life
“Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4).
Walking in newness of life follows baptism. This is when our new life in Christ begins. In baptism we receive the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16), but there is more to our new life than just forgiveness. We are to be different from the “old self [that] was crucified with Him” (Romans 6:6). This is repentance. We are not to be like the world, but must live by a higher standard (Romans 12:2). Walking in newness of life after receiving forgiveness leads us to walk in other ways as well.
Walk in the Spirit
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
The Spirit and the flesh represent two competing worldviews. Paul wrote, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). The mind set on the Spirit focuses on God and eternity. The mind set on the flesh focuses on self and the temporary world. The deeds of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) are rooted in selfishness and a lack of self-control. The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) is produced as we walk in the Spirit. To walk in the Spirit is to walk according to the teachings of the Spirit found in the word of God (1 Corinthians 2:10).
Walk in Truth
“I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth” (3 John 4).
There is a close connection between walking in the Spirit and walking in truth – and for good reason. He is “the Spirit of truth” (John 16:13). But to walk in the truth, we must know the truth. This is only possible by continuing in God’s word. Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32). If we want to continue in His word, then regular study and growth is necessary (2 Peter 3:18). Once we know the truth, we must obey it, becoming “doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (James 1:22).
Walk in Wisdom
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15).
We must walk in wisdom (applying what we have learned), not as one who is unwise (not applying what has been learned). There is a danger in knowing what is right and not acting upon it. There is a danger in failing to gain wisdom by learning from our past experiences and mistakes and striving to improve. There are no new challenges to be faced (cf. Ecclesiastes 1:9-10); therefore, we must learn from the past. There are no new temptations to be overcome (1 Corinthians 10:13); therefore, we must find the way of escape each time. Walking in wisdom means we become stronger and better able to face the hardships and temptations in life by learning how we can use God’s word to help us handle these challenges.
Walk in Love
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Ephesians 5:1-2).
We walk in love in order to imitate God and Christ, for “God is love” (1 John 4:8). God clearly demonstrated His love for us by sending His Son to die on the cross (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). Jesus showed His love for us as well in willingly enduring the cross (John 15:13). We are expected to love our brethren (1 John 4:9-11) and love the Lord (John 14:15). In the Bible, love is sacrificial love. It is more than just words and emotions. John wrote, “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18). If we walk in love we will obey God in all things. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:13-14). Jesus laid down His life for us. We must lay down ours for Him by doing what He commands.
If we wish to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” (Colossians 1:10), we must continually strive to walk in newness of life, in the Spirit, in truth, in wisdom, and in love.