07 walkersPaul moves on to exhort the Philippian believers to “note those who walk in this way, and follow this pattern you’ve seen in us.” (See Philippians 3:17). It’s interesting to notice the way people walk. I remember the old Monty Python comedy routine of the “ministry of silly walks.” John Cleese and others would walk in silly, weird, or clumsy ways to illustrate certain aspects of people’s lives. The way we walk does say a lot about our lives and languages have strived to be precise in describing walks. There are so many different kinds of walks. There are proud walks, there are confident walks, and there are walks of shame. You can slouch, sneak, creep or swagger. Boice says, “The need to describe such forms of walking has enriched language. Roget’s Thesaurus lists dozens of English synonyms for walking. The Zulu language, according to Eugene A. Nida of the American Bible Society, contains at least 120 distinct words for similar ideas—to walk pompously, to walk with a swagger, to walk crouched down as when hunting, and so on. These truths are an acknowledgment that the way people walk reveals something of their ambition, state of mind, and values.”

I expect it’s for this reason that Paul exhorts believers to “walk worthy of their calling.” In Ephesians 5 we’re told to walk “wisely.” In 1 Thessalonians we’re told to walk with “respect.” And in 1 John 1:7 we’re old to walk in the “light.” We are to watch how people “walk” in Philippians 3:17. What we should look for is those believers who have followed the pattern set by Paul and his team (Timothy, Titus, Luke, etc.) who the Philippians had known from the beginning. Richison says that the word “note” in this verse, “…is a military word meaning to reconnoiter, to look, watch or mark. Paul challenges the Philippians to reconnoiter the array of Christians in their purview to detect growing Christians.”

Those who are growing in the “grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” are easy to recognize. They live vibrant, exciting lives, pressing on in the things that really matter in life. In his commentary on the Holy Scriptures, Lange quotes Menken who says, “The ever recurring exhortation of the apostle to rejoice in the Lord, was adapted to assure them that Christianity is something bright, cheerful, and joyful, to make them certain, confident in their knowledge and walk in opposition to those who imagine that one must mix a bitterness, narrowness, and legal servitude with the mildness, breadth and freedom of the new covenant and its gospel.” Paul tells us to “watch out” for one and use them as negative examples. He then tells us to look out for those who live joyful lives in the Lord and follow them!