Every once in while, I try to find an "oldies" station as MariAnne and I are driving down the road. I especially like it when a classic sixties song like the Four Season's "Walk like a Man" begins to play. I pull out my rusty falsetto voice and begin to belt out in a high pitch voice "Oooo ooo oooo ooo ooo." MariAnne always looks over at me, smiles and says "You might be just a bit out of your range." Which in my world translates "Keep singing honey, I am lovin' it."
What is particularly humorous about the song "Walk like a Man" is that no one sounds like they are walking or talking like a man. Most of the vocals are in the oxygen-less upper atmosphere such that you have to be a soprano in order to sing along. I will attach the link to an old video of the song here for your amusement (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpl_jPxSuFg). If you watched it, do you notice that no one seems particularly concerned about either walking or talking in a "manly" fashion?
One of the best practical application sections for the Christian life found in the Bible is in the last few chapters of the apostle Paul's letter to the Ephesians. You could sum it up this way: "Walk like THE man. Talk like THE Man." The fourth chapter begins with this exhortation: "I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of your calling." Later in the same chapter, the apostle writes "Now, this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds." Why are they not to walk the way that they once did? Why ought they to "walk" in a new manner? Paul explains the reason for the change in the way that they live this way: "But that is not the way you learned Christ! - assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus...". In other words, it is because of Jesus. Jesus has taught us the right way to walk. We are to walk like THE man, the perfect Man, Jesus Christ.
I really do urge you to read Ephesians and in particular chapters four through six. What I encourage you to notice is how much Paul teaches about the way that Christians are to talk. A great deal of the Christian walk has to do with how we talk to one another. Words are powerful. They do much good and they can inflict great harm. Paul is exhorting us: "Walk like THE man! Talk like THE man!"
An interesting way to think about the way that we talk to each other is to pick up on one of Paul's key themes in Ephesians. Paul views Christians as a living "temple". God isn't building a temple made of gold and glass and marble. God is making a temple which lives and moves. The temple is made of people who have been purchased by the blood of His Son, set apart as holy and dedicated to God, and are now being filled with the glory of God's presence and power by the Spirit. In Ephesians 2, Paul puts it this way: "So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him, you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit."
In my next blog post, I want to dive into this a bit deeper. How we talk as Christians is huge! Let me just challenge you this way. When you are together with other Christians or even one other Christian, do you think about the fact that you are in "the temple of God?" When we were in England this past summer, we were in some stunningly beautiful cathedrals. No one ran through them shouting obscenities or carelessly hooting or hollering. There was an expected code of conduct and it was universally understood and applied. There were often people standing at the doorways reminding us that we were welcome but this was a place of worship. We were to show reverence and respect.
Now, I like to hoot and holler and there is a time and place for such things. (The NFL season is starting.) However, in Christ, every conversation as Christians and between Christians is in the temple and as the temple of God. Whether you are a parent addressing your child or a teen responding to your parents, you are dedicated to God and are to be a people fit for the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Every conversation in marriage is holy. So, we have some learning to do. Listen then, as the apostle Paul writes these words to the Ephesians: "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."
Being a Christian and growing into maturity involves learning how to walk like THE man and talk like THE man. For Jesus, every conversation was a holy moment to honour God and to bless the people of God. Just think what the world would be like if we all did this.