Walking Your Way To Heaven!              by: Dan Gulley, Smithville, TN

D id you hear about the guy who tried to take a very short cut to walking for good health? He said, “I named my dog ‘5 Miles’ so I can tell people I walk 5 Miles every day.” I guess we might say, to coin an often-heard phrase, that guy “talked the talk but didn’t walk the walk.” Keep reading about two guys who really did walk the walk, to an extreme. The website matador.com reports that Dave Kunst was the first [verified] person to complete an entire circuit of the earth on foot (not including the oceans, of course). Beginning in June 1970, Dave, accompanied by his brother John, left on a journey that would take them across Europe, North America, Asia, the Middle East & Europe. Sadly, John Kunst was shot and killed by bandits in Afghanistan during this adventure, but Dave completed the journey with his other brother Pete. The site also told about Stephen Newman who is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the first person to walk around the world solo. Newman crossed 20 countries and walked some 15,000 miles during his four-year journey, finally finishing in 1987. Wow! Talk about mega- walkers! Those two sets of feet piled up some miles. This might surprise you, but the site also reported that it takes about 20 million steps to walk around the world, not to mention several years of commitment as well as determination, stamina, trekking gear, & a state of mind few of us can imagine. Amen to that!

There is another one-of-a-kind long-distance walking challenge that requires an Olympic champion’s kind of commitment, determination and a state of mind that won’t be deterred. I’m talking about what can very aptly be described as not just walking around this world, but through it and eventually beyond it — I’m talking about walking our way to Heaven! While the Bible never uses the exact phrase, “the Christian walk,” it calls on Christians over and over again to “walk” in certain ways. For instance, 2 Corinthians 5:7 reads in many translations, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” It is clear here and in other passages the writers were calling on Christians in their audience to live a certain way. Other passages (not exhaustive by any means) include: * Romans 8:4-5 (“walk according to the Spirit”) * Romans 13:13 (“walk properly”) * Ephesians 5:1 (“walk in love”) * 1 John 2:6 (“walk just as He [that is, Christ] walked.” One other compelling passage is Galatians 5:16-26 where we read the command to “walk in the Spirit” (v 16), be “led by the Spirit” (v 18), and to “live … also walk in the Spirit” (v 25). But not only the command to walk in the Spirit, but the apostle [Paul] paints a stark contrast between those who walk in the Spirit and those who don’t. He explicitly says those who “practice” what he refers to as “the works of flesh” (among them are sexual immorality, idolatry, hatred, jealousy, anger, selfishness, drunkenness) — these people, he declares without stammering, “will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Conversely, he declares that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” To walk and live in the Spirit means to obey His truth and teaching as written and preached by inspired men and preserved in the gospel in the New Testament (Galatians 4:7 * Ephesians 6:17). “Against such,” Paul sums up, “there is no law” (Galatians 5:23). Do you want to walk your way to Heaven? I earnestly hope and pray you do. You can if you will “walk in the Spirit” by doing what He teaches us to do in His word. So said the apostle Paul. So let us say, and so let us do.