“Talk the talk; walk the walk.”
How much simpler can it be? When I open my mouth to share my incredible knowledge and wisdom, when I take it upon myself to dispense earth-shaking opinions, and when I assume that what I say is absolute truth, then I am headed down the highway of disappointment and pain. I know today that my open mouth, more often than not, results in a foot entering therein, that opinions are akin to another body part of which everyone has one, and my truth is, at best, relative to my circumstances.
OK, so talk is cheap. How about the walk? The walk separates men from boys and women from girls. An act of unselfish compassion, a cup of coffee for the homeless man, a ride given to the hitchhiker, an hour of time shared with someone who desperately needs a friend, a pocketful of change in the bell ringer’s bucket are indications that a person is walking the walk. Buying that cold man standing on the corner a Micky D’s breakfast, sending a check to a favorite charity, helping a blind man navigate the busy street, talking for an hour with a needy AA friend, sharing an encouraging word with a caregiver, showing up for church when not feeling very worshipful, cooking supper for a spouse overwhelmed with personal issues…..these are ways to walk the walk.
Jesus, the reason for this season, walked the walk strenuously and perfectly. Certainly, he had great opening lines on the Mount and taught a profound lesson, but, his ministry and that of his disciples was called “the Way”. They healed the sick, ministered to the poor, and salvaged hurting souls. The Buddha called his teachings “the Path.” Both infer the necessary action of walking to reach the desired goal of enlightenment. The talk is the text-book that instills understanding and the walk is the lab work, a place to conduct research. Studying the text book until the cows come home will not change me one iota until I apply the learning into my daily life’s walk.
So then, how do I know if the text-book which I follow is the real deal, the genuine Jesus of nativity fame? Is my book like one of the many self-proclaimed Jesus experts who interpret and interpose at whim, who devise a Gospel according to their own self-serving needs, who harbor intolerance and hatred under the name of God? What is my spiritual barometer?
“15Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them…..” Matthew 7:15-16
“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
There it is. That is my personal spiritual barometer. How do I measure up to the words from the author of Galatians citing love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control as fruits of my indwelling Spirit? Sometimes favorably, other times in need of fixing, but always on the right path when I am willing to walk the walk which Jesus walks. Wandering from that path is part of my human nature; bringing me back is part of His divine nature. We’re a good team.