“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us…”Ephesians 5:1-2

You can tell a lot about a person by their shoes. If you examined my running shoe, a size 11.5 Asics Gel Nimbus, you could learn some interesting things about me. The large heel cushion tells you I’m not some wispy, 140-pound runner; that cushy heel is built to absorb a lot of shock and believe me, I deliver plenty of it. The reason my running shoe is half a size bigger than all my other shoes is because people’s feet swell up during long runs; the larger size cuts down on blisters. The Nimbus is also a neutral cushion shoe, built for under-pronators such as myself. This means that the way I run wears down the outside edge and this shoe is designed to help correct that; it reduces the amount of stress that I put on that part of my foot, reducing my chance of injury. Finally, you’ll notice there’s ample dirt on the mesh and in the treads of my Nimbus; this tells you that I prefer to run dirt trails over the hard asphalt of streets.

Yes, you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes: how they walk, where they walk, how much they walk. Walking is one of Paul’s favorite metaphors for living the Christian life. At least five times in Ephesians 4-5, Paul uses this metaphor of walking to encourage the Ephesians to live honorable lives, to walk in the path of light, and to follow in the steps of Jesus.

  • I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to walk worthily of the calling to which you have been called… Eph. 4:1
  • Now this I affirm and insist on in the Lord: you must no longer walk as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their minds. Eph. 4:17
  • Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Eph. 5:1-2
  • For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Walk as children of light… Eph. 5:8
  • Be careful then how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Eph. 5:15

Notice how Paul links our walk with imitating the virtues of God and the example of Jesus (Eph. 5:1): “Walk in love as Christ loved us…” I can’t help but recall Jesus’ invitation to Peter, Andrew, James, and John to “Come, follow me.” What does such a life look like? Paul’s answer is, it looks like Jesus. Specifically, Paul highlights the way Jesus lived with a sacrificial, self-giving love, laying down his life for the good of others. He contrasts this new walk with their old Gentile ways as light contrasts with darkness. He also contrasts futile ways and empty thinking with purposeful, intentional living.

Paul calls us to lace up our shoes and to walk with Jesus, conducting our lives in a Christ-like way. If the shoe fits, wear it!

Andy Wall
Author: Andy Wall