You have likely heard the phrase, “He can talk the talk, but can he walk the walk?”
This phrase (or something similar) is used in many different areas of life. Perhaps it is someone boasting about their ability in sports or acting or any number of other areas.
But the statement is certainly true of living as a Christian.
And for those who cannot walk the walk, well, we (yes, I include myself), we are called hypocrites.
The reality is that no one who has ever been a Christian is able to perfectly walk the walk. And yet, we are to talk the talk. That is, we are to teach others. And, as Jesus said, we are to teach others to observe all that He has commanded in an effort to make disciples (Matthew 28.18-20).
Now, it is one thing to teach others and it is something far greater to teach to observe. In order to teach others to observe, we must be observing ourselves. And that is the rub, isn’t it? We are imperfect. We are sinners. But we are called to teach at this greater level anyway.
So, how can we do this?
The answer is simple, “Follow Me.”
Those words are among the first words of Jesus as He began His public ministry. He said those words while walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee to a handful of fisherman. Later, He said those words to a tax collector just outside of Capernaum. And He still says those words today to people like you and me.
Now, we have a choice because those words represent both an invitation and a command. The invitation is to follow Jesus, both in the immediate and for the long-term. Again, Jesus invites us to follow Him, but as we make the choice to do so, those two words, “Follow Me,” become a command to continue to follow.
As we follow Jesus, He gives us a promise – “I will make you fishers of men.” In the most literal sense, Jesus was talking to a group of fishermen when He said this. But the greater promise is that He will make something of all who choose to follow Him. And, a part of that promise is to make more of us than we currently are and more of us than we could be on our own.
And that includes helping move from just talking to walking. Without being able to walk, we cannot become fishers of men, or a good disciple of any kind.
Paul elaborates on this need to improve our walk in Ephesians 4.1. After spending one-half of the letter to the Ephesians discussing who God is and what He has done, Paul shifts the focus to how we should “therefore” live.
And the first item is that the Ephesians needed to learn to walk worthy of the manner to which they had been called. That calling, just like Jesus’ words on the shoreline many years before was to follow Jesus. To learn to walk like Him, talk like Him, teach like Him, and love like Him. In other words, to live like Jesus.
But Paul knew this was a choice and thus, he said that he urged them to make the right choice regarding this walk. But also, please note, this choice to walk worthily was not to be “saved” but was in response to the calling they had already received (“to which you have been called”). That is, the calling was past tense. So, to choose to walk worthily was to move from simply talking about matters of faith to living by the faith that had led to their salvation (Ephesians 2.8-10).
The choice for the Ephesians then is the same choice we have to make now. We are still to heed Jesus words, “Follow Me.” Both in the moment (invitation) and for life (command). Of course, we will still make mistakes and people will still call us hypocrites. But God knows that if we are following, although we may stumble, that does not mean we are no longer worthy. We are worthy because of the call…we are worthy because of the blood of Jesus!
So, what is your choice today?
You cannot undo yesterday or last week or last month or last year. But you can make a different choice today. And you will have to make a choice tomorrow, and the next day, and the next for the rest of your life.
Walking the walk of faith is far more difficult than merely talking the talk. But it is far more rewarding as well. Because as we choose to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, we begin to see His promise being fulfilled – that promise of making something different of us (Matthew 4.19).
So, will you make that choice to follow Jesus? You will follow someone of something, but like Paul, I urge you to choose to make your walk in line with Jesus. I still stumble, and even fall sometimes, but I know that choosing to follow Jesus has changed my life. And I know I can follow Him more closely still.
And I know if you choose to follow Jesus, or follow Him more closely, He can (continue to) change your life as well.