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Bringing Our Walk Up To Our Talk

A short passage of Scripture from the pen of the apostle Paul sends every Christian a life-long challenge: "I, Therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace' (Ephesians 4:1-3). In this passage the apostle reminds the church that the standard of living for Christians is high indeed — our lives are to be guided by the same attitudes which caused Jesus to live (and die) the way He did! In a haughty and high-minded world, we are to be lowly (humble). In a world marked by harshness and gruffness we are called to personify gentleness in our dealings with each other. In a world that is short on patience we are to be longsuffering. And in a world where people are put out with and hate others at the drop of a hat, Christians are to bear and put up with each other's failings and imperfections in love. Study the life of Jesus and you will see that  He was the supreme example of all of this. From the cradle to the cross, the Son of God never failed in His talk or His walk. And on the day He was tried and(because of political correctness and religious convenience) condemned to die as a criminal, even those not friendly to Him forced to say, "Why, what evil has He done? I have found no reason for death in Him' (Luke 23:22). And to think — we are called to follow in Jesus' steps! A high way to walk indeed. And Paul reminds us our challenge as Christians is to walk (New International Version "live") worthy of that calling (Ephesians 4:1).

People watch how those who claim to be Christians walk. They hear our high claims and holy talk, and then proceed to make up their minds whether or not to pay any attention based on how close our walk is to our talk. Somewhere I ran across the following story which reminds us we not only need to talk the talk but also walk the walk. A woman took her son to see the doctor. "What seems to be the problem?" the doctor asked when he saw the two bickering in the waiting room. "My son eats sweets constantly," the woman explained. "I've tried telling him that too much sugar is bad for his health, but he doesn't believe me. He'll listen to you, though. Please tell my son to stop eating so much sugar." The doctor hesitated a moment then said, "Bring him back in exactly one week." Puzzled, the woman did as she was directed. A week later she and the boy were back and she said to the doctor, "I hope you can help me this week." And he did. He examined the boy's teeth, took his weight, etc. and finally said, -Son, I have bad news for you. You can't eat any more sugar. It's not good for you. And if you don't believe me I can draw some blood and have a test done that will prove it to you." At the sight of the needle the boy agreed not to eat any more sugar. The mother was very pleased and said, "Thank you, Doctor. But why didn't you do this last week?" The doctor's answer stunned her - "Because last week I was still eating tons of sugar myself. And it occurred to me I wouldn't be much of a doctor if I didn't follow my own advice." How about it do you practice what you preach? Is your walk up to your talk? Think about it.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ