April 26, 2018 • Life for Leaders
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
When I was in college, a Christian friend asked me, “How is your walk?” My first thought was, “How is my what?” I wasn’t yet familiar with the Christian-speak use of “walk” to mean “your relationship with God and how you’re living each day.” I figured out what my college friend meant and answered in some reasonably acceptable way. But even though I had many friends who kept on talking about their “walks,” I never adopted this language. Honestly, it always sounded a little weird to me.
But I must admit that this language does appear in Scripture. The language of walking as a metaphor for the Christian life comes straight from the New Testament. Later in Ephesians, for example, we’ll examine a verse that could be translated literally, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (4:1). Today’s passage uses the metaphor of walking to depict our living death apart from God. The NIV reads, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live…” (2:1-2a). The Greek could be rendered more literally, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to walk.”
By using the verb “to walk” (peripateo in Greek), Paul refers to a pattern of life, what we might call a lifestyle. Before God delivered us, we were not merely dabbling in sin. Rather, we were walking in it consistently, knee-deep in the muck of rebellion against God. We were thinking and speaking and acting in ways that reflected sin’s dominion over us.
As we’ll see later in this chapter, when we put our faith in Jesus Christ, thus receiving God’s grace through him, not only are we forgiven for our sins, but we are also welcomed into a new way of living. Our salvation is not simply a ticket to heaven in the future. It is also a passport to a new “walk” in this life, a new way of living and being, a new way of relating to God through Jesus Christ.
Something to Think About:
How would you answer the question, “How is your walk?” How is your relationship with God? How are you living out this relationship each day?
What helps you to live out your faith in the challenges and opportunities of work, school, church, friendship, family, community, and citizenship?
Something to Do:
Take a few minutes to write (if you’re a journaler) or to talk with a trusted friend about “your walk,” so to speak. What helps you to know how you’re really doing in your relationship with God and in living out this relationship each day?
Gracious God, thank you for delivering us from walking in our transgressions and sins. Thank you for opening up to us a new way of walking.
May our walk be genuine and vital. May we keep away from patterns of sin and selfishness. May we walk with you, in your strength, and for your glory, in all that we do. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
Walking in Newness of Life (Romans 6)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.