In ancient times, sophists would travel around the countryside and cities and make eloquent speeches and sometimes debating with the local people. It was just talk, sometimes important conversations and sometimes superfluous. Usually they were religious skeptics and saw truth as relative. They could talk and debate on any side of the issue. There talk had no relation to their actions or lifestyle and not necessarily to their personal beliefs. It was just talk.
Generally, if a person claims to have faith but has no works to show for their faith, their faith is non-existent—it is dead (see James 2:17). Their declarations of faith are just empty words—just talk. There is no ‘walking,’ no lifestyle that reflects their faith. Few people would take them seriously. People of faith are expected to talk the talk and walk the walk that corresponds to each other. The walking should flow out of the talking (the claims of faith). So, we must walk the walk and talk the talk.
On the contrary, we cannot think that we should or could obtain salvation by only walking the walk, as if it would ‘earn’ our salvation. We must have faith (talk the talk) to be saved. To try to obtain salvation by walking the walk (works) without faith in Christ, it is like getting the cart before the horse, to use a popular idiom. We could say that works without faith is dead. But if we believe and confess that Jesus is the Lord of our lives, we are talking the talk and it will be evident when we are walking the walk.
When I lived in Korea, I used to ask Koreans how they perceived Americans. They said many interesting things and one was that they could tell where we were from by our walk. I am sure it is a generalization but our walk (gait), according to them, had the air of superiority and confidence. As much as we might resist this idea, it appears that our culture is evident in our walk. We unconsciously portray our culture because we have learned it growing up in America. I did not ask them if this was true of American Christians. Would there be any difference in our walk (our gait)?
I think the same can be asked about Christians, generally. One’s culture (American, Korean, or whatever) will be evident in our gait, but should not our faith be evident in how we walk (lifestyle) even though it may not be easy to detect it in our actual walking (gait)? Our faith should alter our lifestyle but should it also influence our gait—we may walk with confidence but not with a sense of superiority, for example. The difference may not be so noticeable in our gait but will be in our interaction with other people, especially with non-Americans. Our respect for others should be evident in both our lifestyle and gait.
How do we walk the walk and talk the talk? It is recognizable as Christian?