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Walk Worthy

April 18, 2011

photo by Teri Lynne Underwood

I watched her walk away … eleven years old and so sure she could do it on her own.  I remembered other times she had walked away – her first day of school, off to spend the night with a neighbor, across the parking lot to meet her friends.   Often I remind her as she’s going someplace, “Don’t forget who you represent.”  I want my daughter to realize that her life reflects on her, on us as her parents, and on Christ.  I want her to walk well … to walk worthy.

Paul wanted the same thing for his spiritual children in Ephesus:

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.  Ephesians 4:1 ESV

What does this worthy walk entail?  How is it that we pursue this noble task of living lives that reflect the greatness of the sacrifice Christ gave for us?  As I instruct my daughter what I expect of her, so too Paul outlines what it is to walk worthy of this great calling in our lives.

Our Attitudes {Ephesians 4:2, 31-32}

Ultimately, our attitude should be the “same as that of Christ Jesus” … rooted in humility.  Paul instructs us to function “with all humility and gentleness” in Ephesians 4:2.   As believers we are expected to be filled with a humble spirit and called to repent from attitudes such as bitterness, wrath, anger, and slander (Ephesians 4:31)  Rather, our attitudes toward one another should be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving (v. 32).  Why?  Because “God in Christ forgave you” (v. 32).  Walking worthy demands a humble heart that is given to kindness and gentleness toward others.

Our Actions {Ephesians 4:2, 29, 5:21}

Behavior is the result of the attitudes of our heart.   We cannot claim a humble spirit and then live self-seeking lives.  Our actions will reflect what is inside us … what motivates us, what controls us.   If we are controlled by the Spirit, our behavior and actions will show it.   Paul gives specifics about these actions in his letter to Ephesus.  In verse two we find that we are to be patient, bearing with one another.   The idea here is “patient endurance even when others have inflicted pain or suffering” (Women’s Evangelical Commentary, 551).  This isn’t about not complaining when the line at WalMart moves slow, this is about extending grace when someone hurts you, not retaliating in kind.  Paul instructs later in chapter four that our speech must build up, “that it may give grace to those who hear” (v. 29).  Did you catch that?  Our words must give grace not just to whom they are spoken, but also to anyone who hears them.  And we are called to submit to one another (5:1).  This submission is rooted in “voluntarily giving up your own rights and bowing your own will to another (WEC, 561).  Our actions – including our speech – must be others-oriented if we are to walk worthy.

At this point, you may be asking the same question my daughter likes to ask, “Why?”   Why does it matter? 

Again we use Paul’s own words:

[Be] eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Ephesians 4:3, 30 ESV

We walk worthy – in attitude and action – because it draws us  together, unifies us in the Spirit of God.   This “bond of peace” is found when we live out the words of Christ from John 13:34, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (ESV).

The best way we walk worthy is to live in unity … treating one another with grace, speaking to each other with kindness, loving each other as we have been greatly loved.

In what ways do you struggle to walk worthy? 

How have you seen your attitudes affect your actions in this area?

10 Comments leave one →
  1. April 18, 2011 7:51 am

    Teri Lynne, thanks for reminding us that our actions reflect the attitudes of our hearts. I can often control my behavior but sometimes when I’m “squeezed” those still-sinful, selfish attitudes rear their ugly heads. But thanks God He is still working on me!

  2. stephanieshott permalink
    April 18, 2011 10:06 am

    Teri Lynne ~ Great encouragement and wonderful reminders of not only the call to walk worthy, but why we are to walk worthy, as well.

    By the way…when my kids were growing up, I often told them, “Remember to whom you belong!” I sometimes still throw that little reminder out there to my 23 and 30 year old sons. Always a mom! 🙂

  3. April 18, 2011 12:38 pm


  4. April 20, 2011 4:04 pm

    This reason for all we do regularly renews my heart and mind: “Why? Because ‘God in Christ forgave you.'” And I regularly do need that reminder.


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