Walking As Jesus Walked
whoever says he lives in Christ [that is, whoever says he has accepted Him as God and Savior] ought [as a moral obligation] to walk and conduct himself just as He walked and conducted Himself.
1 John 2:6
You can’t just talk the talk; you’ve also got to walk the walk. This statement about authenticity is true in every area of life, but none more than in our spiritual lives. What does it mean to “walk just as He walked.” Some of us might think it means performing miracles, and to that we may say, “Well, I don’t think that’s going to happen!” Probably not, but that’s not what John is talking about. The hallmarks of the Christian experience, John says in verse 5, are obedience and love.
How did Jesus walk in obedience? From childhood, He dedicated Himself to the Father’s will. When Jesus might have been tempted to stay where He was very popular, He said, “No, I have to go where the Father has sent me.” When He was criticized and condemned for following God; He didn’t flinch. He stayed true to the Father’s purpose for Him. When Satan offered Him the whole world, He said no. Nothing could keep Him from following the narrow path of doing what pleaded the Father.
How did Jesus walk in love? To the amazement (and often, dismay) of His closest friends, Jesus reached out to people at the “bottom of the barrel” over and over again. He didn’t care what others thought of Him. He loved the prostitutes, the lepers, the blind the paralyzed, the sick, the tax gatherers, the foreigners, and all the other outcasts in society. And of course, He loved everybody else, too.
When we walk as Jesus walked, our hearts are increasingly riveted on God’s purposes instead of on our selfish desires and self- protection, and we reach out to care for people no one else even notices. If we truly know Christ, He changes our hearts, and His love will overflow from us to touch others.
What would Jesus do?
Charles Sheldon’s question has become an almost trite saying. Bracelets were made and slogans of WWJD became popular and it’s easy to say what would Jesus do, but it’s another thing to actually carry it out. To walk as Jesus walked and to love as he loved requires more than a discussion in a Sunday School classroom or some church committee meeting. Jesus didn’t hide Himself behind the walls of the temple as most of the religious people of His day did. Jesus didn’t build a building and wait for the needy, the helpless and the hurting to come to Him. Jesus went out and walked where these people were. He didn’t categorize or stereotype them, He met them where they were.
At the risk of having people to use my words as justification for not belonging or committed to a church or gathering of believers, our great need in the world is that Christians would live as Christ lived and would understand that just going to church and singing songs and hearing sermons and participating in programs designed for our benefit simply isn’t enough. The real work of God takes place outside the building and outside the parking lot. The religious leaders of Jesus day practiced such things and failed to touch or reach the multitudes. As a matter of fact, what irritated the religious group was that Jesus who was supposed to be a prophet of God dared to risk touching the “untouchables.” The list that Ziglar gives is still basically the same list today. Of course we might add addicts, alcoholics, those with aids, or the other members of society that aren’t like us. Often we exclude, whether intentional or not those who are different from us, such as people from different races, economic status, social status, and the like, but Jesus walked among the hurting, the broken, the wounded and the downtrodden. To each of them He gave hope and help. It may be true that we might not be able work miracles as Jesus did. We may not be able to heal their bodies, or restore their sight or supply some need, but we can give them hope and care and love. We can help them to come to know Jesus and find grace and forgiveness. We can walk along beside them and give encouragement to them in the journey of life. We can invite them to our gatherings and treat them like long lost relatives rather than strangers interrupting our inclusive groups.
We are called by God to live out our faith not within the walls of the church but in the marketplaces of life, on the job, in the community and through our conduct, attitude and actions let those around us see the talk and the walk as being the same.
One thing that is obvious about Jesus is that He was the same no matter who He was around. To Him every soul was precious, every life important, and every need important. His total obedience to the Father’s plan of redemption and His ultimate display of love for humanity on the cross. Now God isn’t asking us to go that far but He is asking us to obey the commandments of the Father, to obey His instructions and to love our fellow man to the degree that we give up sometimes our comforts, preferences, and exclusivities to walk among the broken and hurting and give them hope. You most people can’t see God but they can see us. Most may not feel the literal touch of God but they can feel our touch. Most won’t ever know the love of God unless they experience it first through us.
The children’s song says that Jesus loves the little children (and the big ones too), all the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, (and every other skin color, economic, social standing) They are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the children of the world.
Our call to walk and love as Jesus did is indeed a high calling and every Christian is called to it without exception. We have received such an awesome gift and it has changed our lives. Let’s let the world see what God has wrought in us by letting Christ shine through every word, act, and deed!
Dr. John Thompson