Tom Haynie column sig

It was Halloween. A man dressed as the devil in the usual red suit with pitch-fork, horns and pointed tail was passing by a neighborhood church meeting for its usual Bible study.

He decided to stop in and ask the church folk if they could help him find his way to an address at which a party was to be held. He was in a hurry, so he ran into the building, burst through the door where the study was ongoing, and announced he needed help.

The study group took one look at the “devil” and ran for the doors to escape. They all got out except one elderly lady whose pants got caught on the chair.

As this “Satan” approached her to ask his question, she realized she could not escape, so she blurted out, “I’ve been a member of this church for 50 years, but I want you to know I’ve been on your side the whole time.”

Whose side are you on, friend? The answer to that can be answered in the way you walk, that is, walk spiritually. Paul instructed the Ephesians in how to walk in the way most acceptable to God’s favor.

In Ephesians 2:1, 2, Paul writes, “You once walked in your trespasses and sins …” but because of God’s great love (v. 4), you have been shown a new way to walk.

First, he says you must walk worthy of your calling, Ephesians 4:1. What calling? When you come to Christ, you are called by God to live a life of righteousness, casting off any evil, sinful way.

How does one do this? Verses 2, 3 tell us our walk must be with humility and gentleness toward one another. It must come through long-suffering and patience with one another, striving hard to keep the unity of the Lord’s will for his church in the bond of peace.

Second, he says you must walk no longer as those who reject Christ in the futility of their own minds. Ephesians 4:17. That is, learning to know and follow the mind of Christ is far superior to thinking as man thinks.

Man’s thinking tends to center on this earth and in this life. Futility! God wants us to think as He thinks, on heavenly things, striving for treasures that will matter 100 years from now.

Third, Paul writes that we walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise. Ephesians 5:15 Earlier in this chapter, verse 8, he says, “Walk as children of light.” Earlier yet, in verse 2, “Walk in love.”

Interestingly, Paul goes on to say in verses three and following that sins one used to commit must not be committed any longer. Then he names some of them: fornication (living with someone in a sexual relationship without being married), covetousness (greedy living for oneself not regarding needs of others or God’s will), filthy thinking or living (clean up your minds), coarse jesting (dirty jokes, etc.) Then God says (v. 5) that those who live in this way cannot inherit eternal life (cannot go to heaven).

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. ... I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14

I encourage you to walk with the Lord his way. If you are on the Lord’s side, you will strive your very best to walk as Jesus walked.

You may contact Tom Haynie at tom.julie.haynie@gmail.com