After exploring the word “sit" in the opening chapters of Ephesians, Watchman Nee in his small classic Sit, Walk, Stand, looks at the rest of Ephesians, which is devoted to the “walk” or conduct of the Christian (4:1,17; 5:1,2,8,15).
The Christian life, while established in the heavenly realms, “is very present and practical,” Nee writes, "finding the real test of our conduct in our relations with others” (4:1-3).
We who follow Christ are called to reject the degraded ethos of the surrounding culture and, instead, to live at the highest levels of morality, both personal and social (4:17-32; 5:3-6:9).
In fact, we are to emulate the incomparable goodness of God, demonstrated in the sacrificial love of Christ (5:1-2). Paul’s words echo the teaching of Jesus, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt. 5:48).
This expectation, well beyond the commandments of Old Testament law, seems patently unreasonable (Matthew 5:17-48). How can anyone “walk in love” at such an impossibly high level?
The only way, Nee contends, is by “the power at work within us.” (1:19; 3:16, 20; 6:10; also see Colossians 1:29). Only when we “sit” with Christ, relying on the “immeasurable greatness of his power,” can we “walk in a manner worthy of [our] calling” (5:2; 1:19; 4:1).
“The all-important rule,” Nee explains, “is not to ‘try’ but to ‘trust,’ not to depend on our own strength but on his. For it is the flow of [his] life which reveals what we truly are ‘in Christ’”.
Nee likens this to learning a new language. When someone is learning to speak in a second or third language, shaping sentences requires effort. But when any of us speak in a first language, in our mother tongue, words come easily and spontaneously because of who we are.
The secret of Christian conduct at the level of Christ Jesus is counterintuitive. We do not apply ourselves to good behavior; rather, we draw near to the source of power, the personal presence and activity of the Holy Spirit, the Living Christ within (5:18; also see John 15.4-5 and 2 Corinthians 3:17-18). Then the love of Christ flows through us, expressed in a higher level of conduct than we could ever manage on our own.
And at those times that it does not, when there is a crimp in the flow, we remember that we are being changed at Jesus' design and pace (1:14; 2:10; Philippians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18) and we can rest in his grace and mercy (1;7-14; 2:4-10).
This post highlights Nee's insights on the word “walk."
Related posts, before and after, focus on the words "sit" and "stand."