Look carefully then how you walk!
† In Jesus Name †
God’s gifts of love and mercy are yours in Christ Jesus!
Look carefully then how you walk!
It was too bad, that I didn’t happen to read in my devotions back in February our epistle reading this morning. I left home that morning, having decided it would be a great habit to walk to the office each morning.
I will admit, as I left the house, my mind was in a couple of different places, and I wasn’t doing what Paul advised. Looking carefully then how I walked, o come on, this is Cerritos! About 150 yards from the house, the raised sidewalk and my foot confronted each other. In such that my knee and should a half second later met that sidewalk even more forcefully.
After getting through the maze of our medical system, I started therapy two weeks ago. Bbecause I hadn’t looked carefully at how I walked afterwards, I didn’t realize how odd my way of walking had become – because my left knee and hip were compensating for an much weaker right knee and hip. Literally one step I was taking was 2 feet shorter than the next, and imbalance from the damaged side having 40 percent of the strength of the other side. The “therapy” (I think that’s Greek for torture) will last a couple of months, rather than a week or two. I should have watched how I walked!
If it is important to watch where we are walk physically in this life, it’s more important to watch how we walk spiritually. As Paul describes our journey of faith in our reading, he mentions consequences that are worse than anything a physical therapist can do to torture us! The danger of walking with those who walk in darkness, partnering with them, allowing them to deceive us and draw us into their sin, is that it leads to suffering God’s wrath. Why would we risk that, in view of what awaits us with Him?
That is why Paul talks about looking carefully at how we walk! He urges us to analyze how we walk – and walk as those who are wise, and not unwise.
The Challenge of Walking in Darkness
Though I was walking in broad daylight when I wasn’t paying attention, how much harder is it to pay attention in the dark? How many of us, on a trip have tried to walk around in a strange house, or hotel room in the dark? Usually its because we woke up, need to use the restroom quickly, and we get out of bed and look like a fool as we walk into a chair, a couch, a wall! Which doesn’t make our body any less needing to go!
People wandering in spiritual darkness remind me of a children’s game – pin the tail on the donkey. Like the game, spiritually those in the darkness are spun around, and their ability to navigate is highly compromised! That’s what living life dominated in sin, and caving into our desires does. We can’t tell which direction we are supposed to be heading, and while we know where we would like to go, where we would like to be, we have no ability to get there! The journey is worthless, it does us no good, and indeed, that life is lived with more and more frustration, and less and less peace.
Even that which God writes in all hearts – the natural law which most people acknowledge, those directions to live life can’t be followed, for our hearts were hardened and in the dark confusion, our instincts for self-protection and for pleasure override common sense. Every religion, even atheism indicates that certain actions, certain attitudes are wrong and evil – yet those lost in darkness seem to choose them over and over. This is not to forget, that in the darkness, you can’t see who is talking, and it is easy to be deceived, to be seduced into a relationship that damages us, for it ignores the warnings God provides to keep us safe.
Wandering in the darkness, not a good idea…
Entering the Light is a Challenge!
There is a challenge though, for to not walk in the darkness means that we have to struggle learning how to deal with walking in the light! Which is easier said than done! When you were walking around in that dark house, and someone turned a bright light on, didn’t it take a little bit before you really could see?
As we awoke from our sleep, and arose from the dead because Christ’s light shown on us as it says in verse 14, we had to learn to walk spiritually, to walk with God. It is a whole different life, a complete change of how we do things, and to be honest, we need to remember that – it’s too easy to slip back into doing things the way the world does, its do easy to be deceived and enticed into sinful thoughts, and evil deeds. For this world encourages us to be narcissistic, to look out for #1, even to do things unethically and immorally, if it makes our life better, or is just more pleasurable.
As we walk in Christ, that life we see for what it is – evil, immoral, shameful, and we struggle even more! We see it for what it is, even as we “see” deeply into things that are not so visible, such as the Lord’s Supper and Baptism, and the benefit of hearing that our sins… our individual sins are forgiven, and we are cleansed from every sin and all unrighteousness.
We learn that the light shows us what to flee from, what to let God sever us from, cleanse us from, freeing us so that we can learn to live life with what is beautiful. It takes a little to get used to! We realize that being in the light is more a blessing, and less that which we should fear. We learn as well that analyzing how we walk is also a blessing – as we become wise, and we learn to redeem the time, to make it profitable, not in the world’s views perhaps, but definitely in Gods view.
Our lives encounter healing! God heals them spiritually with therapy that is not full of pain, but rather a feast that causes us to rejoice!
Walking in the Light
We can discern what is pleasing to the Lord
We can understand what the will of the Lord is
I love that Paul linked worship, in a variety of ways, to this idea of looking at how we walk in the light. As we sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to each other, giving thanks and praise to God the Father for everything, everything that has been poured out on us, by Jesus, because of Jesus, in the Name of Lord Jesus Christ.
Here is how praising God is link to walking in Christ light. Read with me the end of verse 8 and 9 – without what’s in parenthesis .
Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.
And then in verse 17,
16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
What pleases God? What is His will, what does He desire above all? Peter tells us it is this:
3:9 The Lord is not being slow in carrying out his promises, as some people think he is; rather is he being patient with you, (desiring that no one would ) wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 (NJB)
And Paul guided by the Holy Spirit wrote:
2:3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:3-4 (ESV)
As we realize that God’s desire is to have a relationship with us, to establish us as His people, to have us know that He will care for us! He cares as the best Father could care for His children, we find ourselves renewed, rejuvenated, relieved of burdens and sins. We come to trust that our journey is not just in the light of a star we call the sun, but in the light of God’s glory. That His promises are all true, that all things will work out for good, that He will never forsake us, nor abandon us. “Us” isn’t just the people in this room – it includes all who have heard of His love, and those with whom God has sent us to share His love!
As we realize that – we sing – we praise Him, from simple psalms like Jesus Loves Me and Change my heart o God, to incredible hymns like A Mighty Fortress and Just a Closer Walk with Thee, to the spiritual songs that call us to realize we dwell in the presence of God, that plead with God, confident that He will shine on us… each different yet coming from the same place – a place of joy, a place of peace, a place where hope is incredible.
For God would calls into His light, into His glory, into His peace which surpasses all understanding, even as Christ keeps our hearts and minds there…with Him. AMEN?