In July of 2008, my wife and I spent a week in Montego Bay, Jamaica for our honeymoon. We could not have asked for a better experience. Beautiful skies, tropical sunsets, the waves gently lapping at the steps outside of our beachside vista and time to spend together enjoying the community with God’s creation. During our stay there we noticed a peculiar saying by the locals, “walk good.” We would hear this at various times throughout the day. After a show the performer would say, “Goodnight and walk good.” When we finished a meal our waiter would send us on our way and remind us in his thick Jamaican accent to “walk good.” This started to become a joke between Devon and I. We continually reminded one another to “walk good” throughout our stay.
During the week I started to wonder what does it mean for a person to walk good? Furthermore, how does a Christian walk good? As a minister and therapist I am constantly peeling back the curtain and looking at people’s struggles, habits, hurts and problems. I myself am no exception. I am a broken human being with more problems and shortcomings than I would readily like to admit. It is so much easier to deny them and make everyone else think I am walking hand in hand with Jesus Christ every second of every day. We all have our problems. I know a few Christians that would have me believe otherwise. A lack of struggles and problems do not a good Christian make. To think we are without our problems is narcissistic, egotistic, or living in denial.
One thing I have found is many of my problems, and this applies to all people, could often be avoided if I would simply walk good. My favorite verse in the Bible is Ephesians 5:15. It is verse that calls us to live to a very high standard and it is pure application. Ephesians 5:15-16 (NKJV) says, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Circumspectly means to look around. We get the picture of someone taking great care as they walk down a path. Each step is made with precision and vigilance. This is what our Jamaican friends were communicating to us. They were admonishing us to be careful as we exit and make our way home. In this verse the Apostle Paul challenges us to live carefully. The NIV translation of this verse says “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise.” The question is, are we living a life that seeks wisdom? Are we walking down the path of life giving great attention to how we walk and where we are headed?
So we get the idea from this passage in Ephesians that we are to live wise, that we are to be careful in living our lives. Knowledge is one thing and application another. How do we do it? We ask ourselves a question. We ask ourselves this question every day. Every decision and aspect of our lives should be funneled through one single question. What is the wise thing for me to do? This question should be the backdrop for our entire lives. This is not a question many people think, or even want, to ask? Most people simply want to know is there a rule against it. Is there a Bible verse that says what I am about to is ok, or does the Bible speak out against it? I believe we should consult the Bible for every decision we make, but asking “is this a wise decision” holds us to a higher standard. Just because there is not a rule or Bible verse against a certain action does not mean it is wise for one to do. Everyone has different struggles, histories, temptations, circumstances and experiences. What is wise for one person is not always wise for another.
Asking “what is the wise thing to do?” radically alters how we live and raises the bar for morality and making good decisions. In I Corinthians 10:23 (NIV) Paul tells us, “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive.” Just because there is not a rule or verse against something does not make it a wise thing to do.
Paul then goes on to tell us in Ephesians 5:15 to “redeem the time because the days are evil.” He tells us we are to “make the most of every opportunity we have.” Wise people redeem the time. People that walk good don’t waste the time they have. They realize that one wrong decision leads to another and this wastes precious time and energy. I see so many people squander the time they have. They often do this by living in denial. They want their life to be at a certain point. They feel they have a goal and they are headed toward it. They dream about where they are going. They talk about where they are headed in life. They even pray for God to bless their endeavors as they head toward said goal. When you actually evaluate their lives they are making no progress at all to where they want to be. It is the direction you are headed that determines where you end up. We can dream, pray, hope and discuss where we want to be further down the path, but if we are not taking active steps in that direction we are deceiving ourselves. Napoleon Bonaparte said, “There is in the midst of every great battle a ten to fifteen minute period that is the crucial point. Take that period and you win the battle; lose it and you will be defeated.” When it comes to living a life called to wisdom there are various windows of opportunity. One squandered decision cost us time and we may never be able to make it up. We must redeem the time. We are never stagnate; our lives are constantly headed somewhere, be it forward or backward. The question is, “are you headed in the direction you want to be?” Are you walking good? Are you living as the wise? This question should govern our lives.
We must keep in mind that it is not our wisdom that we seek to live by. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) challenges us to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” We are to seek God’s wisdom if we hope to have a straighter path to walk down. We are to ask “what is wise in relation to who I am as a unique individual taking into account my history, circumstances and struggles?”
This principle and verse is the reason I titled my blog Walk Good. All of my entries will be me trying to live out this challenge and make sense out of life. I hope at the end of my life I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing I did my best to walk good.
Walk good. Live Wise. Be blessed.