The Walk


The walk with Christ is the most fundamental aspect of a believer's life after receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior. A Christian will face obstacles and hardship in this world as they actively submit their will to Jesus. The gift of salvation is a supreme example of God's Grace and a very real responsibility for the believer. We know that submission to Christ entails faithfulness to the Word of God and repentance of sin, but just what does our day-to-day walk with Christ look like?

Romans Chapter 12:

4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,
5 So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
6 We have different gifts according to the grace given us.
Just as people have unique personalities, the manifestation of the Christian walk is not meant to be indistinguishable among believers. God has bestowed upon all men and women natural gifts, which cover all practical pursuits from physician to teacher, entertainer to athlete, and so on. Regardless of whether they are used to fulfill Godly goals, the Lord freely endows these natural gifts, so boundless is His Love and Wisdom. We often see individuals use their God-given talents to serve humanistic, or even demonic, purposes. This is why Martin Luther once remarked to the Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus: "I acknowledge that you are a great man, adorned with many of God's noblest gifts--wit, learning and an almost miraculous eloquence, to say nothing of the rest; whereas I have and am nothing, save that I would glory in being a Christian."

It is unwise for believers to not acknowledge the natural gifts that God has given all, saved and unsaved. The reason for addressing this is that the walk with the Lord requires not, for all believers, a call to ministry and/or outward signs of religiosity, but rather the use of natural gifts, whatever they may be, to glorify God. Of course, there are instances where a man or woman embarks upon a field which utilizes their natural gifts but does not glorify God -- crime is a good example. Those individuals must make a major career change. By and large, however, the Lord calls upon His people to shine His Light upon the world in their current capacities, usually outside church walls.

Fulfilling one's God-given potential is essential for the Christian walk. The Christian who is otherwise faithful in spiritual matters but fritters away their natural talents disobeys the Lord. A believer cannot be complete in Christ by shirking their earthly duties. God has a plan for us all, and He does not call us to something in which we cannot succeed and be a winner. Not necessarily a winner in the worldly sense (exaltation of Self), but in the sense of glorifying God.

Following the above passage from Romans Chapter 12, the Apostle Paul goes on to describe the spiritual gifts that God bestows upon each believer. Unlike natural gifts, spiritual gifts cannot begin to blossom without first being seeded in Christ. The natural and spiritual gifts are meant to dovetail seamlessly for the believer as they mature in their Christian walk. Maturity is the key concept here. While our hearts are to possess the purity of little children (cf. Matthew 18:2-4), our minds must mature. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians Chapter 13:
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
What often steers us away from the path of Christ are recurring sins -- sins that we hold onto like security blankets. We may hate them, but we still cling to them. Or these sins seem innocuous enough that we reason them away as not hurting anyone else. To use a similar analogy, we are like children refusing to let go of a sugary candy when we refuse to relinquish our sins to God. The maturing Christian must look to Christ first; if that individual chooses to seek their own security, they will inexorably be bonded to that sin, no matter how hard they struggle. How often do we hear someone justify a sinful behavior by claiming that it's existed since childhood? Don't children lie, cheat, and steal, as well? For a person to grow in Christ, they must let go of the small comforts of humanity for the greater Love of God.

We also hear people say that so-and-so is "a wonderful person except for such-and-such sin." That's like referring to sin as some kind of alien parasite, and it does not take into account willful disobedience. Furthermore, it diminishes the call for believers to be like Christ, and it diminishes the regenerative powers of Jesus' blood atonement. We are called to be perfect in Christ (quite different from perfectionism for the sake of Self or personal holiness), which is the goal of the Christian walk. This means always looking to Christ; it doesn't mean the complete absence of failure or misstep. The walk is not easy, but all things are possible with Jesus. We must use this God-given life of ours to make the right choices, and when we fail, to reset our sights on God. As the English writer J.R.R. Tolkien (and peer of C.S. Lewis) once wrote: "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

Because Christianity is spiritual in nature, we often forget that God desires for our natural gifts and daily life to exalt Him in ways that aren't exclusively mystical (for example, throwing away every worldly possession and becoming a missionary). Each individual is called to glorify God in a way befitting to their personal talents and circumstances. Growth in Christ necessarily involves a maturation by the relinquishing of worldly securities. But this has more to do with affairs of the heart and mind than, say, a superficial display via liquidation of material possessions (though this may legitimately occur). Christ is at the Head of the body of believers, and the body must submit to His Will. Godly change is actualized internally rather externally, which is the realm of humanistic change (by way of governmental decree, military force, mind control, and so forth).

Because Jesus changes a person from the inside, Christians are called not to impose His Truth but to model His Love and Grace. The responsibility is a huge one, but the Lord is right there to guide every believer each step of the way. The Godly execution of a person's Christian walk bears witness and testimony to Jesus and His gift of salvation. In 1 Peter Chapter 3, the apostle Peter wrote:
15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
16 Keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.