Back when I was in college, I went to a Halloween costume party. I didn’t want anyone to recognize me, so I went all out and bought a theater quality rubber mask that covered my entire head and neck. There were two small holes through the eyes where I could barely see out, and it was super hot inside! Regardless, it looked awesome, and that was all that mattered! I went the extra mile to disguise my identity by wearing a large baggy sweatshirt and baggy jeans. Plus, I wore gloves that covered my hands and an old pair of unlaced work boots that covered my feet. That night many people would be easily identified, but I was not going to be one of them. My plan was to forever go down in history as the mystery man under the mask at the big Halloween party! As soon as I walked in the front door, I immediately strolled across to the center of the main room. However, the moment I reached the far side of the room, I heard a group of people to my right say, “Hi Dan!” No kidding! I was completely stunned and confused. How could they possibly know it was me? Did someone see me at the store when buying the mask? Did someone see me coming out of my dorm room? After a while, I gave up trying to figure it out and I just asked how in the world they knew it was me? They laughed and said it was easy because I have a distinct walk. All they had to do was see me walk! Until that day, I never realized how many people could identify me just from watching me walk. A couple years later, I dressed up in the exact same costume at another Halloween party, and no one was able to identify me! This time, I made sure I changed my walk. In Ephesians 4, Paul urges believers to pay attention to the way they walk! “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”(1-3) The way we walk matters…..especially when it comes to relationships! Our greatest joys and our greatest sorrows tend to be come out of our relationships. And yet, it seems that most people don’t really know how to improve their relationships. Have you noticed that most of the time people don’t get along? The natural state of community isn’t harmony, it is conflict and disharmony. God says, it doesn’t have to be this way! “Oh that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways.”(Psalm 81:13) God has some significant things to say about how relationships REALLY work. God wants a better life for us. We must learn God’s ways and then do everything in our power to put them into practice. This is why Paul urges believers to stop behaving like children and learn how to get along with each other! Good relationships don’t just happen; they are the product of a deciding to walk with humility, gentleness and patience. We must wrestle with what it means to bear with one another in love. Are we willing to let go of winning in the moment in order to put the needs and interests of others above our own? God expects believers to get along with each other. We are “to put off our old self which belongs to our former manner of life….and put on the new self, created after the likeness of God….”(22-24). What do people see when they look at your walk?
Director of Small Group & Lay Counseling Ministries