Sitting down in the presence of our Father is the best ever place to be in this life. We are fully protected, cared for and loved in the shadow of the Almighty and the secret place of the Most High. [Psalm 91]
However, life demands action. We are purposed beings, living and breathing, going somewhere, progressing, building and moving according to the rhythm of the world around us. Our contribution to history can only be measured in accomplishment, which implies action. We walk our walk with an attitude of a triumphant Jesus, leading us in the paved way of the cross.
Modern life is in community – that is a fact. One of the most important ingredients to a happy life is relationship. Relationship is the life-giving water of community. Living successfully and fulfilling within community is a happy life. Community can be defined as a group of people living in the same place or a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, places and goals.
Jesus ministered within community, to community and from community. That is the foundation of all ministry. Our personality and beliefs are expressed within community. As Christians we function and serve within our community. It is amongst souls that we walk the walk of heaven.
Walk is mentioned eight times in Ephesians. It can be described as order of behaviour, conduct, habits and attitude. The Greek word is: emperipateó: to walk about in or among and the Hebrew word is: halak: to go, come, walk.
Our walk is always in His name, bearing witness to His life and achieving through His grace.
From the earliest times, God’s people were known for their walk through life. It is in our being and moving that we bear witness to the great Father we serve. St Francis of Assisi’s words ring true through all the ages:
Always preach the Gospel, sometimes use words.
All the nations may walk in the name of their gods, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever. …
Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments …
1 Kings 9:4:
As for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have …
The most important conduct-prescription for our walk in this life is in these verses of Ephesians:
4:1,2: walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4:17,23: that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
5:15: See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise,
These comments of Paul cover the whole field of relationships, both domestic and public. In chapter 5 he talks practical behaviour to neighbours, husbands, wives, parents and children, to remind us that the first layer of community is home and family – those closest to us. This is the real test for our behaviour. It is in the lives of loved ones that we walk the walk of heaven. Jesus covers so much and more of this order of behaviour in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5,6 and 7 and related verses in the other Gospels.
It is one thing to put an effort in to good conduct and another to do it from a seated position in Christ. We are not left to our own devices in this world. Our starting point is different. The world will always struggle with good and bad, right and wrong all the while acting as their own god, eating from the Tree of Knowledge. We eat from the Tree of Life, Jesus. We find our good and right-living IN HIM.
Ephesians 5:1,2: Therefore be imitators of God as dear children…
Acts 17:28: …for in Him we live and move and have our being,
Our secret is in the prayer of Paul for the Ephesians:
3:20: Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.
God does the work. Lean hard on Him in all matters of relationships.
Work out your own salvation…for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Watchman Nee explains the progress of an invalid in a power-driven wheelchair as opposed to a healthy marching soldier. Our conscientious Christian-living will cause us to hold on to the image of a marching soldier, while our progress could only come from God’s power working in us. The invalid’s “progress follows from the position in which he has been placed”. [Watchman Nee: Sit, Walk Stand]
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Only Jesus is light, love, unity and wisdom. That is a good description of the walk of heaven. The precious words of Jesus:
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. …
1 John 1:7:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleans us from all sin.
2 John 1:16:
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love…
The most important principle is to set aside our empty efforts and ASK. He will live in us. Do not try – TRUST. Our life in Christ should flow from our inner being like speaking in your mother tongue. It is not to act like we think Christians should behave. When our own efforts fail, we hurt the ones we are trying to help.
For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
The scribes and Pharisees dictated a command performance of the law. They could not enter the invisible kingdom of God where every self-effort is subjected to the cross of Jesus and a heart-felt dependence is the first rule of every day. Jesus raised the standard of living prescribed in the law of Moses. How could He? Complying was impossible in the first place. Jesus knew His father and the power of the Holy Spirit that is available to His children. God will never command what we cannot achieve through Him.
Page with me back to chapter 5 to have a closer look at the high standards of New Covenant living.
5:15-17: See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
In Matthew 25 Jesus tells the story of the wise and foolish virgins waiting for the bridegroom. All ten virgins expected the bridegroom, all ten had lamps with oil, but the oil of 5 did not last the waiting period. In Revelation 14:1-5 the virgins are mentioned again.
Being a virgin, expecting the bridegroom, with a lamp and oil for the lamp, is the package deal of successful Christian living. The bridegroom comes unexpectedly, as we so well know when we are surprised and shocked with tragedy and problems coming our way. It is in the hard times, the wilderness of life, that the bridegroom invites us to the feast at the table in the valley of the shadow of death. [Psalm 23] He comes and opens the door to the feasting. We are ready when we have our lamps burning with the knowledge of the Word, quickened and revealed by the Holy Spirit to equip us for the crisis. We can go and feast with Him.
Without oil, the crisis finds us unprepared. We stumble in darkness to buy oil. The bridegroom and feasting are forgotten while we struggle to gain the inner power of the Holy Spirit, which we have not learnt in the waiting. Therefore we must redeem the time, making it our priority to study the word, knowing the voice of God when His rhema word reveals to us the great and mighty things we do not know. [Jeremiah 33:3]
We must seek the fullness sooner than later. The wise virgins have done well at an earlier hour. They had the reserves to walk in victory. Watchful disciples will find ample oil ALL the time with a continuous miraculous supply for every day. How will we know what power is available if we do not have knowledge of the full extent of the promises of God.
Being filled = plerousthe. It specifically means to be continually filled, not only in hard times of crisis and need. By studying the Word of God and His promises, alive in the power of the Holy Spirit, we will be clear about the will of God and His goodness in times of need. The Holy Spirit will flow through us like the ink in a fountain pen – ready for writing at all times. [Watchman Nee: Sit, Walk, Stand]
3:19: …that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!
…the eyes of your heart [the very center and core of your being] may be enlightened [flooded with light by the Holy Spirit], so that you will know and cherish the hope [the divine guarantee, the confident expectation] to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints (God’s people), 19 and [so that you will begin to know] what the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His [active, spiritual] power is in us who believe.
To me – this is walking heaven on earth!