We exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory (1 Thessalonians 2:12, esv).
Have you ever walked anywhere accidentally? I’m not asking if you’ve been on a walk and ended up somewhere unplanned. I mean, have you ever been sitting on your couch and suddenly found your legs carrying you across the room, unbidden? I’m guessing that hasn’t happened to you—because walking is a deliberate thing.
Again and again the Bible refers to the life of a believer as a walk—a walk that is “worthy of God.”
Paul said it to the Ephesians: “I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called” (Ephesians 4:1, nasb).
He said it to the Colossians, praying that they would “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10, esv).
And he said it again to the Thessalonians, not only exhorting them to do it (imploring them like a preacher); not only encouraging them to do it (as if with an arm around their shoulder); but also charging them to do it (urging them with an emphatic warning).
So this walking must be a serious business. And it must be “worthy” of the One we follow.
The word worthy carries with it the idea of weight or gravitas. A certain kind of dignity. An acute, obvious awareness of whose presence we’re in. Just as you wouldn’t wear a bathing suit to an important meeting, or serve leftovers to respected company, or show up late to an appointment with the CEO at your workplace, the kind of walk that is “worthy of God” requires taking into account the “weight” of our audience.
This awareness is what keeps a true believer in Jesus Christ from ever being indifferent to the need for their walk to match their talk. Anyone who climbs on board the “follow Jesus” train is simultaneously agreeing to a walk that pleases God. And even if you’re often discouraged in your walk, disappointed in yourself, or afraid you can never satisfy Him no matter how hard you try, the power of the Holy Spirit at work in a believing heart can lead to a genuinely consistent lifestyle that truly delights Him.
To some, the problem with their walk is that the effort it requires is unpleasant or doesn’t seem necessary, as if the life they deserve is instinctively more valuable than what God deserves. But the Bible’s exhortation to walk worthy is not an option for us, nor is it out of our reach. Like Paul would later say in his same letter to the Thessalonians, “Brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more” (1 Thessalonians 4:1). They were doing it, Paul said. They were walking worthy, pleasing the Lord. His only challenge was that they keep it up, that they do it “more and more.” And he knew they could do it.
Just as you can do it too.
If you desire to walk worthy of the One who has loved and saved you, you can honestly do it—through a deliberate, daily, determined choice to make up your mind, pick up your feet, and just start walking. Commit to moment-by-moment thoughts that lead to minute-by-minute decisions to honor Christ. Keep getting up every morning. Keep getting up from every stumble. And keep on walking.
Father in heaven, You are great and worthy of all praise—worthy, too, of all my obedience. Nothing I desire outside of You or in addition to You can ever satisfy me like You do. Thank You for placing within me this hunger to know You better and to follow You more faithfully, and for giving me Your Word to guide me in living it out each day. Keep me walking with You more and more, so that others can see the real difference You make in a person who belongs to You. I pray this in the worthiest name of all, the name of Jesus, amen.