By Trish Rife: “Your walk talks and your talk talks, but your walk talks louder than your talk talks.” This saying is just a polite way for someone to say, “You hypocrite! You say one thing, but you do another!” How many times have we heard lost or backslidden people use the excuse of “hypocrites” in the church as their reason for not attending?
Ephesians 5:8 “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:”
“Sometimes darkness” reminds me of years ago when I was very young. I’m not sure why I would do this, but I would oftentimes walk through our house with my eyes shut, imagining being blind, just to see if I would be able to function if I ever lost my vision. Of course, when a pinky toe got stumped, it was an automatic reaction to take a quick peek for reevaluation purposes.
At the time of this writing, we Coloradans are experiencing weather that is plummeting to 20 below at night. One morning I didn’t want to open the garage door before getting in my car, neither did I want to leave the light switch on while I was running my errands. Can you guess what I did? I took a final look at my car in its spot as I allowed the hallway door to close behind me. Pitch black. I walked the straight line as quickly as I could, reaching forward for the door handle. I found it right away and, so very proud of myself, I climbed inside.
Wait, something wasn’t right. The seat doesn’t feel right. Why does this feel so weird? Where’s the console? Where’s the steering wheel? It was then that I realized what I had done. I had opened the back door and was sitting in the backseat of my car. I guess I don’t maneuver very well in the dark after all!
In real life there is no cheating. We don’t always have an opportunity for a quick peek to reevaluate our path everytime we stump our toe or end up sitting in a place we didn’t expect to find ourselves. Sin will take you further than you’ll want to go, and it will keep you longer than you want to stay. God doesn’t want us stumbling around in the dark simply playing the part of a Christian and, make no mistake, our skeptics are always watching.
But how do we walk as children of light?
1. Decide once and for all where true joy comes from. The most miserable of (wo)men are the ones looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong places. Money, jobs, the latest trends and fashions, a special someone, success, accolades, friends – they may offer temporary happiness, but not joy. There is only one true source of joy – the Lord Jesus Christ. This is also why the Bible says “no man” can take it from you. When we resist God, we backslide right into darkness.
2. Put away the old things. After learning about Deuteronomy 22:5, I fell under conviction. I began struggling and wrestling with the Holy Ghost about my clothing. I would always put on a dress or skirt on the weekends since I lived near our church and knew Pastor preferred ladies in dresses, but during the week, everyone knew I was wearing pants – even my preacher. One day it hit me: Why would I dress to please my preacher but not God? I began wearing skirts nearly everyday, but there was still one pair of dress slacks I couldn’t (wouldn’t) let go. As I got ready for work one day, I put them on. As I sat at my vanity table, I was under conviction the entire time. I ignored it, applying my lip gloss. Finally ready and taking one step out my back door, I exclaimed audibly and with frustration,“Oh, this is stupid already!” I went upstairs, (really) changed, and carried my last pair of slacks out to the dumpster, tossing them in forever. I learned right then that the letting go part was easy; it was the hanging on that was torturous. Let God have full control over your clothing, your speech, your music, your activities. Old habits that are bad will never lead to new results that are good.
3. Fill the void with good. Purging the old will certainly leave a void screaming to be filled. If God takes ungodly friends out of your life, He will surely replace them with ones who love Him. When you give up the bad music, replace it with good music or else you’ll be right back listening to the same old garbage. To this day if I hear a song from my past, I am amazed that I still remember every word, right down to the tiniest drum cymbal that I thought I had forgotten. It also brings back memories of what I was doing way back then when I listened to that song. These memories are generally not very good, nor are they Christ-honoring. When you throw away your jeans, fill up your closet with feminine clothing that pleases the Lord. Complete freedom will only be found when you decide to “walk” as the feminine counterparts we were created to be.
4. Always walk with God. Our protection from backsliding increases with every minute we spend with the Lord. As women forsake standards they’ve held onto for decades, the message sent becomes, “I’m not right with the Lord because I’m not spending time with Him.” I’m afraid the “Footprints in the Sand” poem has some of us expecting the Lord to carry us when He’s enabled us to walk. And as we are able, He expects us to. We also have a great obligation to those who look to us for examples to walk in the light. What kind of testimony would we have if we forsook Biblical principles and tossed them underneath the umbrella of “grace”? More people are watching than we realize.
I pray none of us will stumble around in the dark when we have the ability and privilege to walk in the light.