Our home in Arlington, MA was close to the Minuteman Bikeway, a walking, running, and biking trail. The Minuteman Bikeway is a 10-mile paved multi-use rail trail, located in the Greater Boston area of Massachusetts. It runs from Bedford to Alewife station, passing through Lexington and Arlington along the way.
It is one of the most used trails in Greater Boston and Barbara and I (and our kids) were some of its many users. Every day you could see, watch, and pass senior adults out walking, parents running while pushing a stroller of kids, other parents walking while pushing a stroller of kids (and even having their dog along for the time outside). You would see scores of runners and cyclists of all types, sizes, and numbers. Everyone had a distinctive set of colorful clothes, a unique gait, stride, or pace, as well as a walking, running, or pedaling cadence.
Read Ephesians 5:1-14.
The apostle Paul reminds us that we are to, “Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” (Ephesians 5:2). He wrote in Colossians 4:5 that we are to be “wise in the way we act toward outsiders.”
The question that arises from these two texts is: How much does the practice of my faith in Jesus reflect his love and wisdom?
As we read and consider the rest of the text from Ephesians 5, other questions come to mind:
+How devoted are you to following God’s example (v 1)?
+How is your daily practice of being sexually pure? How are you avoiding any kind of impurity? What about greed? Those three are improper for God’s people (v 3).
+How are you avoiding obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking in your conversation (v 4)? All are supposed to be out of place for followers of Jesus.
+How do you cultivate and practice thanksgiving (v 5)?
+Are you aware that God’s wrath comes to the disobedient (v 6)?
Paul writes that those of us who follow Jesus used to be in darkness, but since our transformation, we now are walking and practicing His teachings, which are like light (v 8). Light refers to good, right, and true paths (v 9). Disciples of Jesus are focused on what pleases Him (v 10). They also recognize, ignore, and avoid the fruitless deeds of darkness of their old ways (v 11), and expose them through their witness and spiritual empowerment. Paul adds that it is shameful to even mention what the disobedient do in secret (v 12).
If you took an inventory of how you are doing lately and used the fourteen verses of Ephesians 5, how would your life measure up to these verses? If you sat down with a friend and he or she asked you to use the 14 verses as a mirror, what would your response be? And if they asked you, “Have you lied to the previous questions?” how would you do? Are you really walking in love and wisdom? What evidence is there to support your assertion that you’re on the right path?
Think theologically. To walk in a Christ-like manner, you must keep in step with Jesus. As you do, your language, practices, and habits should align and serve to characterize you as one of His.
Love is a verb,
©2017 by Mike Olejarz