WALKING IN the Scriptures picture one’s conduct and character. An upright walk indicates good conduct and character whereas a limping walk indicates bad conduct and character. Walking with someone expresses the thought of association, communion, and fellowship.
Enoch (Genesis 5: 21-24) and Noah (Genesis 6: 9), two great Ancient Worthies, are both spoken of as walking with God and as being heroes of faith.
Genesis 5: 22, 24: “And Enoch walked with God.”
Hebrews 11: 5: “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”
Genesis 6: 9: “These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.”
Hebrews 11: 7: “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.”
Glorify God and Lead Men to the Lamb
There is an inspiring Christian hymn, consisting of three stanzas, entitled “Walking with God.” Let us consider this hymn and the lessons it teaches us:
First stanza: “O for a closer walk with God, To glorify his name, To let my light shine on the road That leads men to the Lamb!”
The first part of this stanza describes an important purpose of our Christian lives: To glorify God, and this can only be done by walking close to Him (James 4: 8) (1 Corinthians 10: 31). We glorify God in our thoughts, motives, words, and deeds. Although perfection in thought, word, and deed is not possible in this life, we can attain perfection in motive and seek to come as close to perfection as possible in the other three aspects. God created His creatures because it pleased Him to bless them, and when they respond to Him it makes Him happy. When we come to appreciate our generous Creator, God is pleased with us.
God’s Word points out that the key to a mutual relationship with Him is the doing of His will, and His will is described in 1 Thessalonians 4: 3: “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification.” We ask, what is sanctification? Sanctification may be defined as a setting apart from the world and unto God, and it consists of three parts: (1) initial, (2) process, and (3) the resulting state of holiness. The first part takes place the moment that we consecrate our lives to God. The second part is a lifelong process which consists of (a) self and world denial, (b) serving the brethren and witnessing to the world, and (c) developing a Christlike character. The third part is the crystallization of character that will eventually be attained and that will last forever. Our Lord and St. Peter speak of the importance of the performing of God’s will (John 14: 23) (1 Peter 2: 21).
The second part of the first stanza describes a second purpose of our Christian lives: To let our light shine, with the aim being to lead men to the Lamb. This may be done by our words and by our example. For the sinner who is feeling after God, we point out that the first step back to God is to repent of one’s sins. For the repentant, the next step is to accept Jesus as one’s Savior. For those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior, we encourage the next step – consecration. Finally, for the consecrated, we encourage faithfulness to one’s consecration vows.
Before considering the second stanza, let us consider numerous Scriptures which refer to the various walks of the Christian. Just as we may view a house from many different locations, so we may view the Christian walk from various perspectives:
Romans 13: 13: “Walk honestly.”
Romans 8: 1: “Walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
Colossians 4: 5: “Walk in wisdom.”
2 John 4: “Walking in truth.”
Ephesians 4: 1: “Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.”
Ephesians 4: 17: “Walk not as other Gentiles walk.”
Ephesians 5: 2: “Walk in love.”
Ephesians 5: 8: “Walk as children of light.”
Ephesians 5: 15: “Walk circumspectly.”
Banish all Hindrances – Worship God
Second stanza: “The dearest object I have known, Whate’er that object be, I want to banish from thy throne, And worship only thee.”
Our three great enemies – the world, the flesh, and the Devil – are constantly seeking to place objects in our way to hinder our worship of God “in spirit and in truth” (John 4: 24). That hindering object could be a person, a profession, an interest, possessions, or even a Christian grace of character.
But how could a Christian grace be a hindrance to us? Let us take the example of self-esteem. Self-esteem is a necessary grace in our Christian character structure, but if we fail to control it and it becomes exaggerated, pride is produced. Pride is perhaps the deadliest disgrace that we could acquire, in fact, it is likely that pride has caused more of the Lord’s people to fall from the Lord’s favor than any other disgrace (Proverbs 16: 5). The cure for pride is the development of our seven most important graces (2 Peter 1: 5-7). With those graces in control of our self-esteem, humility, the opposite of pride, will be produced (James 4: 6). Micah 6: 8 reads, “Walk humbly with thy God.” Love is the greatest of the Christian graces of character (1 Corinthians 13: 13).
As Christian worshipers let us seek not only to know about God, but to know Him personally (John 17: 3) Three important practices will aid us along this line:
(1.) Study: Let us study God’s Word, both the milk (the less deep features of His Word) and the meat (the deeper features of His Word). The newly consecrated Christians are babes, so just as babies need milk, the babes in Christ need the milk of the Word. But as babies grow older, they need not only milk but also meat. Similarly, the consecrated Christian who has been in the way for some time needs not only the milk but also the meat features of the Word. Furthermore, the consecrated Christian needs a well-balanced diet. He needs both the features of the Word that nourish his intellect and those that nourish his affections.
(2.) Prayer: Let us also talk with God and that is done through the privilege of prayer. And God answers us through His Word, His spirit, and His providences. Let us watch for His answers to our prayers. When we were newly consecrated our prayers consisted mainly of petitions for various things. But when we became more mature our petitions became less, and our prayers were mainly expressions of our love for Him and our thankfulness for His abundant blessings.
(3.) Assembling: Let us assemble with the brethren (Hebrews 10: 25) where we can engage in praise, prayer, speaking and listening to Bible subjects, testimony, and fellowship.
Walking with God Amidst Trials
Third stanza: “Lord, give me grace to walk with thee Through pain, or loss, or shame, That every act may henceforth be An honor to thy name.”
Mature Christians will receive the more severe trials to strengthen, balance, and crystallize their Christian graces. When rightly exercised, these trials draw us closer to the Lord (2 Corinthians 12: 9) (Hebrews 4: 16). During these times we need to call upon the Lord’s grace to sustain us, and to exercise unwavering faith in Him (2 Corinthians 5: 7). There are four things to bear in mind that will help us amidst trials:
(1.) No trial will ever be too severe (1 Corinthians 10: 13). The Lord will never permit a trial to come to us without first giving us the ability to withstand it (2 Corinthians 12: 9).
(2.) No trial will come too soon. A good teacher will never test his students before they have had the opportunity to learn their lessons. So, the same, the Lord will never test us before we have had the opportunity to learn our lessons thoroughly.
(3.) We do not have to go through our trials alone (Isaiah 43: 2).
(4.) We will receive every trial we need (Philippians 4: 19) (Proverbs 10: 22).
The second part of the third stanza describes a third purpose of our Christian lives: That every act of ours may honor the Lord’s name.
May we glorify God, let our light shine, and may our actions honor the Lord’s name.