Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Privilege of Walking with God



Walking God's Highway
"Walking with God" is one of those curious expressions which occurs repetitively in scripture. This expression describes a special relationship with God, one that God delights to honor. The first time it appears is in Genesis 5:24, “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him."So special was Enoch's "walking" that he bypassed death and went directly to heaven. 

Next we hear about Noah's walking. God has decided to destroy the earth, but Noah has found favor in the Lord. How did Noah find favor with God? “Noah walked with God" (Genesis 6:9).  

Later, God instructed Abraham to walk with him.  “Walk before me, and be blameless" (Genesis 17:1). 

Last, in his letter to the church at Ephesus Paul exhorted them to "Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us" (Ephesians 5:2). 

These texts speak of the many blessings that follow those who "walk with God." Immortality, favor with God, blamelessness, and Christlikeness, to name a few. If this is true, every sincere Christian should know what it means to "walk with God"and be found practicing it. 

What it doesn't mean to walk with God is obvious. It doesn't mean perfection. Neither Enoch, Noah, or Abraham were perfect. In fact, in the case of Noah and Abraham, scripture graphically describes their many imperfections. Yet the Bible tells us that they "walked with God." 

Walking also implies the absence of running. It does not produce sweat. It does not require inordinate exertion. 

Last, walking is not an activity for the spiritually elite. Not everyone can run, but just about everyone can walk. I have a 75 year old friend that frequently goes on 10 and 15 mile hikes through the countryside. Even the aged and feeble can "walk." 

So, what does walking with God mean? First, it means faith in the gospel. "By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death" (Heb. 11:5). Hebrews changes the metaphor from "walking" to "faith." That is because they are synonyms. Faith implies a relationship. The sinner trusts God. He banks his life on God's goodness. He accesses God's goodness by meditating on the gospel. Walking means trusting God through good times and bad times. 

Second, walking with God is communal. It is not done solo. He walks with us, and we walk with him. He holds our hand. We communicate. A lady friend walks with a group of ladies several times a week. What do they do? They talk non-stop. Does this describe your walk? Do you sometimes go for a day or more without talking to God? This is not "walking." Walking is about relationship. God speaks through his word and circumstances. We respond with worship, intercession, and fellowship. Walking is communal. We do it with God. 

Third, "walking" implies a journey. You are with God, but together you are going somewhere. You do not determine the destination. You are walking with God. He is going somewhere and you are following. You are on God's agenda, not your own. To walk with God you must get on his highway. "A highway shall be there. It shall be called the highway of holiness" (Isa. 35:8). Access is only by a   narrow gate. "Enter by the narrow gate. For the gates is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow, and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few" (Matt. 7:13-14). 

Last, walking is a matter of slow, steady, perseverance toward the destination. It requires exertion, perseverance, and the expenditure of calories. It produces weariness. It necessitates rest, food, and drink. Are you feeding on God's word? Are you drinking from the River of God's Delights? Are you getting appropriate rest? Most importantly, have you determined to persevere. Only those who persevere to the end will be saved. It is not a sprint. It is a walk. It is a life long journey. 

Blessed are those who know what it means to "walk with God." 






  

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