Walking the walk: 3 ways to follow Jesus

The other day I bought myself a spiffy new pair of walking shoes. There were many styles of shoes to choose from but walking is all I can do these days. I suffer from a chronic illness that (for now) prevents me from running, cross training and anything else that requires me to jump around.


Sometimes this upsets me, but honestly I hate running and cross training anyway! The last time I enjoyed exercise was in the 80’s when aerobics was the craze. I remember bopping around in my mom’s kitchen in my leotard and leg warmers . . . those were the days.

The days I had energy and nothing sagged or jiggled around. Oh well.

Walking is more my speed anyway and I’m in good company – Jesus walked. He walked in gardens, by the sea, in the desert and in towns all around ancient Palestine. He walked alone, with friends and with crowds of people who hung on his every word.

olive grove in Ramallah, Palestine

In antiquity the word “walk” was a metaphor for the way in which someone lived her life. There were only two choices: you could walk in the way of light or in the way of darkness.

John 8:12 says this: When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

So what does this mean for us? The same thing it meant for the people of Jesus’ day. We have the same choice. Here are three ways we can cultivate this practice.

Love God: Loving God requires commitment. When we read the Bible we get to know Him intimately and learn to put Him in first place above ourselves and others. We begin to understand his character and his requirements. Then we can begin a relationship with him through prayer which is the first step to opening the lines of communication. Deuteronomy 10:12 says: And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?

We benefit when we walk with God and learn to fear him.

Get rid of sin: Sin contaminates and separates us from God. The Bible says: For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness but rather expose them. We can confess our sins to another trusted believer, ask God for forgiveness and change the way we live.

Living with sin is worthless and unproductive.

Obey Jesus’ commands: Scholars disagree on exactly how many commands Jesus issued during his ministry but the numbers range anywhere from 50 – 125. That should keep us busy for awhile (just kidding). Jesus’ commands run through the pages of the New Testament and especially in the four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. John, one of Jesus’s best friends, said: “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

When we walk like Jesus we find true life.

Your turn: What’s your favorite scripture that helps you walk like Him?

Skills: Do you have what it takes to teach about Jesus?

Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Acts 8:30

When I was in third grade, I had a Language Arts teacher who never seemed satisfied with me. All year long I strived to do good work in my favorite class and all year long I heard the same thing. “Good work but your handwriting is terrible. Work on your handwriting.”

“Good work, but…”

In those days we had these things called autograph books. At the end of each year, we’d bring our books to school and have our friends and teachers sign them. Hopefully they’d write something nice, but there was always someone who ruined your page by writing something dumb.

School day fun

What I learned from her then was that the effort I made wasn’t quite good enough. In fact, the grade she gave me was lowered because of it.

This morning I was journaling out some scripture and for some reason, that memory came to my mind. I guess it was because I was writing in cursive, taking pleasure in the way forming letters felt under my hand. And then I had this thought: My grandchildren – whenever I’m blessed to have some – won’t even be able to read my writing. The cursive “Mrs. What’s Her Face” thought was so important, now means nothing to future generations.

Then I thought, Oh my gosh! Since cursive is obsolete in school, they won’t be able to read the Constitution, Declaration of Independence or other documents as they were originally written. That is unless I make sure they’re taught.

I guess my teacher wasn’t so dumb after all.

Now, go back to the Bible verse above, about Philip and the man who invited him to come sit with him. Philip was literally running alongside this important Ethiopian official’s chariot at the Holy Spirit’s command. Picture Philip out of breath, trying to keep up with the mighty beasts pulling it.

I’m guessing Philip was thinking, hold your horses! when he got the invitation, and that the man stopped them so he could climb aboard.

As they rode along – the official in his royal finery and Philip in his ragged tunic – he taught the man about the good news of Jesus and his kingdom. This resulted in the official requesting to be baptized into the new Christian faith and the taking of the Gospel to the Ethiopian kingdom of Queen Kandace.

When I think about why the Holy Spirit chose Philip for this task and what it would mean for future generations in Ethiopia, only one thing comes to mind . . .

Philip knew Jesus and he could run fast.

Your Turn: Do you have an “obsolete” skill you could teach future generations? Is the Holy Spirit asking you to share your knowledge of Jesus with someone else?

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Jesus (Matt 24:35)