Her disguises didn’t work.
The Queen of France was young, energetic, and immature, and she longed to be with people her own age. Resenting the limitations of royal life, she attended dances, balls, and parties in disguise. But biographer Carolly Erickson said about Marie Antoinette: “Her swift, purposeful gait was her trademark. It was said that she could never successfully disguise her identity at masked balls, for no matter how she dressed, she still walked like an Empress.”
Our walk always gives us away.
As Christians, we are called to walk worthy of our calling, morning, noon, and night. We have a manual—the Bible—that gives our marching orders. The Bible has 225 verses about walking, and the word “walk” occurs 406 times. Many of these verses refer to our daily behavior. Genesis 5:22 says, “Enoch walked with God.” The Lord told Abraham, “Walk before Me and be blameless” (Genesis 17:1). He commanded the Israelites: “You shall . . . keep My ordinances, to walk in them” (Leviticus 18:4). The Psalmist said, “No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). Paul told us to walk by faith, to walk in love, and to walk as children of light.
What does that really mean? I’d like to suggest something. Take a concordance sometime and look up the word “walk” in the Bible. See how many times it occurs. Study some of these verses and look for the lessons they contain. For example . . .
Walk with the Wise
The book of Proverbs warns us against walking with fools. Listen to these verses: “If sinners entice you, do not consent. . . . Do not walk in the way with them. Keep your foot from their path. . . . Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. . . . He who walks with wise men will be wise” (Proverbs 1:10, 15; 4:14; 13:20).
In modern terminology, we’re talking about peer pressure, the desire for approval from one’s friends. It often leads down dead-end streets.
Following the recent drug-related death of a popular teenager in peaceful Black Mountain, North Carolina, a police spokesman issued a warning to parents: “You think peer pressure was bad when you were growing up? There’s four times the amount of pressure on young people today.”
It isn’t just young people who struggle with peer pressure. Consider how easy it is to smile at an off-color joke, to go with the guys to an inappropriate movie, to gossip about someone with friends over lunch, to begin skipping church to attend ball games with buddies. 6/1/15The apostle Paul wrote, “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 the enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:17-18).
Perhaps the best question to ask yourself is: “Who are my three wisest and most mature friends?” Once you decide who they are, cultivate time with them. Watch them. Listen to them, and let their sensibleness rub off on you.
In a similar vein, ask: “Which three friends pull me down the most?” Begin weaning yourself away from them. Or better yet, tell them you’d love to be with them—but in church!
Walk in the Fear of the Lord
We’re also to walk in the fear of the Lord. As Christianity spread in the book of Acts, the “churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace. . . . And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied” (Acts 9:31).
Walking in the fear of God is an almost forgotten concept. Christians were once described as “God-fearing people,” and pastors preached about the fear of the Lord. Nowadays we’re so eager to present the Gospel in an inoffensive way that we’ve gotten away from using—and practicing—the verb fear. Yet the phrase “the fear of God” appears repeatedly in Scripture. There are over 300 references to it in the Old Testament alone.
In his book, Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer wrote: “In olden days men of faith were said to walk in the fear of God. . . . However intimate their communion with God, however bold their prayers, at the base of their religious life was the conception of God as awesome and dreadful. This idea of God transcendent runs through the whole Bible and gives color and tone to the character of saints. . . .”1
The fear of God isn’t an unhealthy phobia, but a therapeutic sense of awe at His greatness. One way to cultivate this attitude is to visit a location that speaks of His grandeur. Perhaps a vast cathedral where you can sit in silence a while. Perhaps a mountain ledge or thundering waterfall where the sheer, dangerous beauty of God’s creation makes you dizzy. Perhaps a camping trip away from city lights to gaze into the blackened sky and see the splendor of the stars. Cultivate a reverence for God Almighty, Omnipotent, Holy, and Eternal.
Walk in Newness of Life
That leads to another “walk”—we’re to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). This phrase describes the change of attitude and behavior that develops as we come to know Jesus Christ. Among other things, it means that life becomes more refreshing and uplifting. It implies a sense of wonder. As we sit in that lofty cathedral or gaze into the star-splashed sky, we not only develop a hearty “fear” of God; we find ourselves full of wonder. It’s the kind of wonder that leads to worship.
Evangelist D. L. Moody often described the sudden change of attitude and perspective that came to him as a newly-converted teenager: “I remember the morning on which I came out of my room after I had first trusted Christ. I thought the old sun shone a good deal brighter than it ever had before—I thought it was just smiling upon me; and as I walked out upon Boston Common and heard the birds singing in the trees, I thought they were all singing a song to me. Do you know, I fell in love with the birds? I had never cared for them before. It seemed to me that I was in love with all creation. I had not a bitter feeling against any man.”
The Christian walk should be filled with wonder, fresh, filled with the fear of the Lord. We should walk in newness of life. And that leads to obedience.
Walk in Obedience
The old apostle John wrote: “I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father. . . . This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment . . . walk in it” (2 John 4-6).
In other words, we’re to live an obedient life. Since the word “obedience” is abstract, we must attach specifics to it before measuring ourselves by it. Let’s ask ourselves, for example, whether we’ve told any white lies recently (Ephesians 4:25). Have we said something in an angry tone or hurt someone else with our words (Ephesians 4:26, 29)? Have we contributed to an unhealthy argument (Proverbs 17:14)?
Have we worried about our finances (Matthew 6:25)? Have we associated with a humble person today (Romans 12:16)? Have we given our tithes to the Lord this week (Malachi 3:10)?
Have we spoken a word for Christ to someone recently (Psalm 107:2)? Have we talked with our children about God’s Word today (Deuteronomy 6:7)?
The entire last half of Ephesians is full of this theme: Walk worthy of your calling. Do not walk as the world does. Walk in love. Walk as children of light. And don’t quit—walk around the clock.
A study from Duke University touted the benefits of walking a half hour every day. “As little as 30 minutes of walking daily is enough to prevent weight gain for most sedentary people,” said the report.
For the Christian, it’s a continuous walk. We’re to walk around the clock. While we might have a great half-hour of “Quiet Time” each day in Bible reading and prayer, we actually walk in His presence 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.
If you’re walking with the Lord, keep your eyes on Him, and heading down that straight and narrow path. If you aren’t, make the adjustments needed to your stride. Learn what one man called “The Gait of Galilee.”
As Jeremiah quaintly put it centuries ago: “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it. Then you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16).
By David Jeremiah
1A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy (New York: Harper & Row, 1961), 78.