Not long ago, I read an article describing the life of the soldier of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment of the United States Army who has been chosen as one of the honored guards at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. Known as the "Old Guard," there is nothing taken for granted in the execution of his duty. Every step is measured with precision and every action reflects the soldier's knowledge that inside that tomb are men who gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy. To walk like the rest of the humans who stroll the grounds at Arlington is to give up the honor of standing with those who have gone before him. When it's his turn to guard the tomb, therefore, he does not walk in an ordinary way. (see www.tombguard.org/)
The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:1 that we must "walk worthy" of the calling we have been given. Some translations say, "Live in a worthy manner." I prefer the idea of "walking," however, because walking requires a certain kind of precision. Those who take careless steps risk injury and the idea behind Paul's admonition to walk in a worthy manner is that we take great care in how we live our lives. It's more than just "living." there is intentionality to a worthy walk.
Just a few weeks ago, I did some hiking at a park in Virginia. It was raining and the trails were very slick. And to make the experience even more of an adventure, we found an outcropping of roicks that jsut begged to be climbed. With every step of our ascent, a little voice in my head reminded me, "It's harder coming down than going up!" Sure enough, once we scaled the nearly 50 foot high monolith, we began our descent with the knowledge that a misstep could cause serious injury.
Thankfully, we made it to the bottom with no incident. But, only because we took great care with where we placed every footstep. EVERY step has purpose.
These two illustrations help me gain a better understanding of what it means to "walk" worthy. We can't be careless with the calling God has given us to salvation and His desire for us to live for Him.
As a way of processing that information, I make three observations:
1. You can't walk unless you have life--Before you can actually live a life that honors God, you must be born again. Don't get the sequence wrong. The Bible is not asking you to "walk worthy" so that you will find salvation. We "walk worthy" becasue we have salvation.
2. Don't just talk the talk... walk the walk--We have a compelling interest in "walking worthy." Every step we take as a Christian reflects the Savior who rescued us. The glorious God of creation has invested Himself in us and to be careless about our walk is to ignore the cost of the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf.
3. No one can do your walking for you--Your parents, your spouse, your pastor... none of these people can do for you what God has uniquely equipped you to do.
I am praying for a revival in our church and among Christians at home and abroad. But I've come to define "revival" quite a bit differently than most people. A true revival is not when a bunch of people walk down an aisle. A true revival when is when those people have a clearly different kind of walk as they venture out into the world with the Good News of Jesus.