By Dr. Michael A. Milton, Crosswalk.com
Walk This Way: Walk in Love
By Dr. Michael A. Milton
"Therefore be imitators of God as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead, let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things, the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of the Lord will endure forever." - Ephesians 5:1-7
Walk This Way
Learning to walk is a universal experience. Indeed, learning to walk is one of the first lessons our parents give us. Our parents teach us how to walk in at least two ways. They teach us by motivation, and they teach us by prohibition.“Walk this way! Yes, that’s right. Come on, then. You can do it. Walk to daddy!” The father motivates his child with love. The excited, smiling face of the father is an unseen but genuine force creating the child’s will to walk. But there is another instruction. “Do not walk over there!” “Over there” could be a step-down in the living room, a sure danger zone for tumbles and tears. By guiding the child to “walk this way, but not that way,” the loving parents erect a verbal “danger sign.” Likewise, the Lord calls us to walk toward the Lord Jesus Christ and away from those sins that threaten our souls.
The Lord God calls believers to “walk the walk” of obedience in Christ faithfully and yet cautiously. How, then, shall we walk?
Walk in Love
Verse one calls believers to be “imitators” of the Lord. There are “incommunicable” attributes of the Triune God. He is eternal. We were created. He is omniscient. We see through a glass darkly. Yet, there are “communicable” attributes, one of which is love. God demonstrated His love to us in that He sent his only begotten Son to save us from sin and its consequences. His perfect life and sacrificial death on the cross provide us with the righteousness and atonement we need. Our lives might then show obedience that flows from grace and gratitude, the wellspring of love. Paul says that such offerings of love-prompted obedience are pleasing to God. So, we are to walk this way: follow the Lord Jesus in the love of God that produces undefiled worship. While we walk in love with Jesus and, thus, each other, we must walk cautiously away from the world. The love of God is contrasted with the uncleanness of this world, specifically, the uncleanness of sexual impurities and of filthy language. The uptick in the use of foul language in, for example, film and popular music is not unexpected though it is deplorable. Filthy language is a sign of a heart unhinged from the love of God and subject to the foul winds of evil. While our secular age is saturated with course language and the dehumanizing use of sexuality, we must be on guard. Such sins are corrosive to your mind and your body. Stay clear of the danger zone. Walk this way.
The Last Walk
No walk matches the pathos and power of that footpath from Pilate’s kangaroo court to Golgotha. The Via Delarosa—the way of the cross—is the ultimate walk of love. This is the love we are to imitate: dying to self to live for God, and in doing so, knowing the fullness of joy in Christ. This is the love that motivates us to “walk this way.”
Intersecting Faith and Life:
To walk like Jesus is to cultivate a life of love. But how do we encourage such love in our lives, in our relationship with God and others? Dr. Donald Whitney urges us to take the revealed “spiritual disciplines of the Christian life.” Through Scripture, prayer, and other disciplines, God has given us the resources we need to walk in love.
Boice, James Montgomery. Ephesians: An Expositional Commentary. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998.
Chapell, Bryan. Ephesians. Philipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub., 2009.
Lloyd-Jones, David Martyn. Darkness and Light: An Exposition of Ephesians 4: 17-5: 17. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1982.
Whitney, Donald S. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2014.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/kieferpix
Michael A. Milton (PhD, Wales) is a long-time Presbyterian minister (PCA) and a regular contributor to Salem Web Network. In addition to founding three churches, and the call as Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga, Dr. Milton is a retired Army Chaplain (Colonel). He is the recipient of the Legion of Merit. Milton has also served as chancellor and president of seminaries and is the author of more than thirty books. He has composed and performed original music for five albums. He and his wife, Mae, reside in Western North Carolina. His most recent book is a second edition release: Hit by Friendly Fire: What to do when Another Believer Hurts You (Resource Publications, 2022). To learn more visit and subscribe: https://michaelmilton.org/about/.