Stage Right, Stage Left, Center Stage, or Wherever You Are: Walk in Love
Walking in love as Christ walked in love is a pace marked by ongoing, sacrificial giving unto the Lord. Such a walk is a fragrant offering to him. He inspires it, empowers it, and gets all the credit. Step by selfless step, our love to one another pleases God and exalts his name among the nations.
God is glorified when a thief’s hands become calloused by hard work so they can give. His name is exalted when a slanderous tongue lets loose in edifying words to build up others. We used to offer ourselves in worship to our idols, but now by the mercies of God we present our bodies as living sacrifices to him. And the watching cosmos is astonished.
Step by selfless step, our love to one another pleases God and exalts his name among the nations.
Everything that belongs to the old self is to be cast off and discarded—sexual immorality, impurity, and covetousness (Eph. 5:3). All our filthy speech, foolish speech, and crude jokes must be replaced by thanksgiving (v. 4). The consequences for refusing to walk in love could not serve as a more severe warning than the one Paul gives in Ephesians 5:5:
For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
If we want to be among those who inherit the kingdom of Christ, we will flee from the darkness we once lived in. Even as temptations assault us on both sides of the road, and a shroud of deception hangs in the air, we can by God’s Spirit resist the gravitational pull of the course of this world and enter through the narrow gate.
The Motivation for Holiness
The only reason this is possible for us is that Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross has broken our chains. Being conformed to the image of Christ means that we are no longer bound to principles that held our hearts in sway as the world carved its image on us. At one time we were darkness, but now we are light in the Lord. And so it simply goes to follow that we walk as children of light and try to discern what is pleasing to him (Eph. 5:8–10).
I love that these strong exhortations to holy living and severe warnings are joined with reminders of our being sealed for redemption. The day of redemption, a phrase unique to Ephesians, directs our thoughts toward the future grace of Christ’s return. God has begun his good (new-creation) work in us, and he will assuredly complete it (Phil. 1:6). Our faith to keep walking in love is strengthened when we recall our preciousness before him.
Isolated Christianity Is Impossible Christianity
In the meantime, we need daily intervention because our steps can be drawn back into the shadows. Walking in love is a community project. The dark forces that attempt to weave us back into ungodly patterns of living are constantly at work in the world. Those perverse values make up a pervasive way of life.
How can an isolated Christian stand up to such pressure alone? We are all being assaulted both overtly and subtly by the darkness that opposes the light of Christ. You and I desperately need other Christians in our lives who are willing to interrupt our dark thoughts and show us the brilliant light of the Word.
By definition, a Christian is one who has been delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of his beloved Son (Col. 1:13).
If you mourn the fallenness of your world rather than curse its difficulties, you know that grace has visited you
Paul's letter to the Ephesian church details how being embraced by the love of Christ truly changes everything.