Following Christ is more than just holding a set of beliefs. Following Christ is about how you live your life: where you go, what you say, the things you do. To “walk like Jesus” means to pattern your life after the example of Christ and to trust in Christ daily for guidance and strength to live your life in ways that honor Him.
17 Therefore, I say this and testify in the Lord: You should no longer walk as the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their thoughts. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them and because of the hardness of their hearts. 19 They became callous and gave themselves over to promiscuity for the practice of every kind of impurity with a desire for more and more.
20 But that is not how you learned about the Messiah, 21 assuming you heard about Him and were taught by Him, because the truth is in Jesus. 22 You took off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires; 23 you are being renewed in the spirits of your minds; 24 you put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.
25 Since you put away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. 26 Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and don’t give the Devil an opportunity. 28 The thief must no longer steal. Instead, he must do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need. 29 No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. 30 And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption. 31 All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. (Ephesians 4:17-32)
1. Your old self is not the way of Christ. Notice in Ephesians 4:17-22 the many descriptive words referring to your “old self,” meaning the way you were before Jesus changed your life. Words like futility, darkened, excluded and callous are used to describe this way of life. That way is not the way of Christ. As a believer in Jesus, you are not bound to that way of life anymore. You have been set free to walk like Jesus.
2. To walk like Jesus, you need to learn from Him. You don’t need to just learn about Him; rather, you need to learn from Him. See verses 20-24. This learning begins with you having a personal relationship with Christ. It continues throughout the rest of your life as you read the Bible, pray, and ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen and guide you you to walk like Jesus.
3. Walk like Jesus every day. Not just on Sundays and special religious holidays. Walk like Jesus at home, at work, in the community, everywhere you go, every moment of every day. How? Ephesians 4:25-32 gives us guidance. Here are four questions to consider in light of these verses:
What words are coming out of your mouth? Your words should be the same kind of words Jesus would be using, with the same tone he would be using. Words to build up, not tear down. Words that are truthful, never lying. Words that honor God and encourage others.
What do your actions say about who you are? Jesus was not an angry person. When He displayed anger, it was righteous indignation because people were being mistreated or led astray. He responded to every situation in a pure, controlled way. Also, Jesus was an honest person. He did not steal. What about you? You may not be stealing from stores or banks, but do you ever cheat on your taxes or steal someone’s joy through hurtful words? See Ephesians 4:26-31 for guidance.
How do you treat people? Jesus lived a life of kindness and compassion. What about you? See verse 32. The ways of kindness and compassionate are the ways of Christ. Walk in these ways.
How do you deal with people who hurt you? It is natural to want to seek revenge, to harbor anger, and to lash out against those who hurt you. But, the way of Christ is the way of forgiveness. See Ephesians 4:32. Walk in this way.