The Three Facets of the Christian Walk
Length: 976 words (2.8 double-spaced pages)
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As I begin this essay, I pray that I might be able to "rightly divide the word of truth", so that I need not be ashamed (2 Tim 2:15). This being my goal, I hope that you the reader might learn something from this essay. Remember though, to be as the Christians in Thessalonica, and examine all teachings based on their faithfulness to the scriptures (Acts 17:11).
As Christians, we are to go through life in a certain way. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus tells us that the proper path in life is narrow.
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
What then is this path? Well, as Christians, we know that the path to Eternal Life is through Jesus. Jesus tells us in John 14:6 that,
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
So we know that, as Christians, we have already turned to face the right direction. As all Christians certainly know, though, the story does not end with the Sinner's Prayer. After that day of salvation, we must go to sleep, and then rise again the next morning, again having to face a fallen world. In order to be the "Salt of the World", as we are told we are in Matthew 5:13, we must know how to walk. Certainly one that follows all of the dictates of the scriptures is doing right (all of the dictates, NOT just the rules of action). It is my belief that the Christian walk can be broken down into three inter-related Facets.
The first of these facets is Worship. The word "worship" appears in the King James Version of the Bible 108 times. Under the classification of worship, one could include such things as praise, prayer, and thanksgiving. Worship, though, is more than these things. One can worship in all things, because to worship is to give glory to God (1 Peter 4:11). One can give glory to God by having a heart attitude of thanksgiving and praise when walking through a grocery store, through the woods, or down a street.
Worship should not be an event, but a habit. Certainly it seems easier, at first, to worship in a church sanctuary, when singing hymns, or at a youth camp, when everyone around you is worshipping. These times are special, because the coming together of believers is special (Matthew 18:20). We must, though, worship at all times, and in all things. No particular action can be considered worship by itself. The action, regardless of its merit, is incomplete unless the heart of the actor is focused on worship.
The second facet is Obedience. By obedience, I mean obedience in actions. This type of obedience is, of course, not evidence by itself of a Christian's faithfulness, but it is important. As we are told in James 2:20, "Faith without works is dead." Having made a decision to follow Christ in word, we must obey his teachings in deed as well. We must strive to be examples to a lost world. Let us be holy, so that, as vines in the Master's vineyard, we might bring forth good fruits that will set us apart from the thistles of worldliness (Matthew 7:16-20).
The third facet is the study of God's Word. In 2 Timothy 2:15 we are told to "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." The scriptures are a mighty weapon against evil, called the "Sword of the Spirit" in Ephesians 6:17. The might of God's Word is described in Hebrews 4:12, where we are told that,
For the word of God [is] quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and [is] a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
We have been given the scriptures so as to discern what is right and what is evil, and to judge teachings. Let us not dismiss this gift! Too often we see the believer who is only interested in the so-called "Plan of Salvation", and fails to see the value of learning more of the scriptures. Christians, remember what we are told in 2 Timothy 3:16:
All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
It is by the scriptures that would should live, learn, teach, and interpret all that is around us. Without viewing our world through the looking glass of the scriptures, we will fall into the sad state described in 2 Timothy 3:7 - "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."
As you go about your Christian walk, remember that partial obedience is disobedience. We must strive to be complete Christians, "that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works"(2 Timothy 3:17). It is easy for a Christian to only focus on one facet of the Christian walk. The Christian might praise God in all things, but not ever do anything. The Christian might obey in his actions, but rebel in his heart. The Christian might study the Word of God, but not act upon it. All of the components are essential, but none can stand alone. These three pillars support one another. The Christian must Worship the Lord, obeying his commands which are understood through the prayerful study of scripture. To neglect one of these is neglect them all.