If you were to read the hobbies section on my Facebook, you would notice I am into reading, blogging, and running. I do all those things almost every week. If you keep reading, however, you will notice it also says I like to work out, rock climb, and surf. While those things are listed, if I am honest, I haven’t done any of those activities in quite a while. Now, I can talk to you for hours about each of them. I know the lingo, but I don’t actually climb, surf, or workout anymore. So while I can talk the talk, I am not walking the walk.
Talking the Talk Without Walking the Walk
Often times a lot of churchgoers know how to talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk—especially those who have been around church for any length of time. They can talk all about the Bible and “churchy things” because they have been around it for most of their lives. However, when it comes to obeying all of Jesus’ commands (Matt. 28:20) they don’t do it. They aren’t walking the walk. Instead, they are just talking the talk.
Disciples of Jesus—those who have been regenerated by the Spirit, repented of their sins, and placed their faith in Jesus—not only talk about Scripture, they also allow it to guide their lives. They walk the walk.
Walking the walk is an everyday activity that involves us applying God’s Word to every area of our life. Family, work, play, and community involvement should all be informed by God’s Word. One major area is our families. God commands men to lead their families. Specifically, the husband is to be the leader and shepherd of their family flock.
Since we are to walk as Jesus walked, imitating him in all things, it is only right we look to Jesus for the “how to” of family shepherding (1 Jn. 2:6, Eph. 5:1, 1 Cor. 11:1). Let me offer you a few guiding principles to get you started.
First, we must know those we are shepherding. In John 10:14, Jesus tells us he is the Good Shepherd. After which, he tells us what the Good Shepherd does, namely, he knows his own.
Applying Jesus’ idea of the Good Shepherd to our own Christian walk means we have to know our families. The best way to get to know our family is to spend time with them. Family time doesn’t just occur because we are in the same room with them. It’s more involved than just being in close proximity. It requires us to engage them in conversation. Conversation that gets to know the heart of your family in an effort to draw out their interests, fears, and concerns. We cannot effectively draw out the hearts of our family if they have to compete with the television, Facebook, or our iPhones, so we have to disengage from our technology in order to engage with our family.
Second, we must protect our families from spiritual danger. Jesus tells us the Good Shepherd is willing to lay down his life for his sheep in order to protect them (Jn. 10:11-13). If we are going to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, we must do the same.
In order to protect our family, we have to know their world. We have to be aware of what they are watching, reading, and their friends. Also, we must understand the culture in which they live and know how to combat its worldview with the gospel.
Lastly, we must instruct our families. During his earthly ministry, Jesus intimately instructed his disciples, teaching them how to both read and understand Scripture (Acts 1:3). We must do the same.
There is no one size fits all way to instruct our families. Some may choose nightly family devotions, other families may benefit from weekly Bible studies, and still others from discussing that weeks sermon over lunch. The method will differ from family to family, but the principle remains the same—men, who walk in Jesus’ footsteps, instruct their families in the Lord.
You see, being a believer means more than posting spiritual quotes or Bible verses to Facebook, knowing the lingo, or making a claim of faith. Being a believer means we live according to God’s will; it means we walk the walk. So it doesn’t matter what you say. What matters is what you do.
Gospel Change Causes Us To Walk the Walk
Now, I am not trying to frustrate you by telling you you have to work harder or that you have to produce change on your own. Change doesn’t occur solely through our effort. Instead change primarily occurs through the gospel. When the gospel pierces our heart of stone, it does something we could never do. It causes our heart—our will, desires, and wants to change. It’s that change which is necessary for us to walk the walk.
However, gospel change doesn’t mean all we have to do is believe and all of a sudden we are perfectly walking as Jesus walked. We must still put forth effort. We must still work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12) Even so, we can be assured that while we work, God is working in us, changing our will to be more in line with his (Phil. 2:13).
Since God changes us, we know change is possible. In fact, we will be changed into the restored image of Christ (1 Cor. 13:12). Put another way: if we are disciples, there is no way we won’t change to live more inline with God’s will throughout our Christian walk. We may hit some valleys along the way, but we will always be moving up the mountain. Since that is true, men, walk the walk, don't just talk the talk.
Casey Lewis currently serves as the Senior Pastor of Sycamore Baptist Church in Decatur, TX. He is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, a husband, father, and a follower of Jesus Christ . He currently blogs at ChristianityMatters.com. Follow him on twitter: @caseylewis33