We have all delightfully and amusedly watched little children trying to learn to walk. They take a few short jerky steps, lose their balance, and plop down on their bottom. We call them toddlers because they have not yet mastered the art of walking. To toddle means to move about with unsteady steps.
Most have heard the idiom “Walk the walk,” meaning to do what one says they will do, or to do what is right and good. To walk the walk is often paired with or contrasted to the phrase, “Talk the talk.” We recognize that it is much easier to say what one will do, but can be far more difficult to actually do what we said we would do.
We have many sayings to call out this contrast between words and actions. For instance, we may say that one is “all bark and no bite”, “all talk and no action”, that “talk is cheap”, “actions speak louder than words”, or “practice what you preach.” A Chinese proverb states that “Talk doesn’t cook rice.” Benjamin Franklin said, “Well done is better than well said.” An Arabian proverb is, “A promise is a cloud; fulfillment is rain.”
More importantly, Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). In verse 16, Jesus said we could know false prophets by their fruits, showing this principle that words aren’t worth anything unless accompanied by actions. He also went on to contrast those who hear and do His sayings with those who hear but do not do what He said (vv. 24–27).
Real Christianity is about actually doing what God says we are to do. It is all about the walk. Talk is fine, but it must be actualized. When it comes to true Christianity, you might say it's all about the walk.
Bible students are familiar with the admonition in James 1:22 to be doers of the word and not hearers only. The preceding verses instruct us to “…be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath…” (v. 19) and to “…lay aside all filthiness and overflow (abundance) of wickedness…” (v. 21). It takes effort to stay on track and always be slow to speak and slow to wrath. In a moment of stress, when our guard is down, we all too easily slip up. Our actions say far more than our words.
When we look into the “perfect law of liberty,” like looking in the mirror, we see what kind of person we really are. Then we need to resolve to continue walking according to God’s word and be doers of the work (v. 25).
We have probably heard someone say, “Do as I say, not as I do!” This saying is hollow and hypocritical. We would rather follow someone who sets a good example.
Jesus famously said to His disciples, “Follow Me.” And they did follow Him (John 6:68).
Peter said that as Christ “is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15–16). Peter also said Christ left us “an example, that we should follow His steps…” (1 Peter 2:15). And John said, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:6).
Jesus said, “He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness…” (John 8:12) and “he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going” (John 12:35).
John also talked about walking in truth and walking according to His commandments. He explained that “This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it” (2 John, vv. 4–6).
Learning to walk as Christ walked takes longer than a little toddler learning to walk. For more on this subject, watch our telecast “How To Walk With God.”