Spirit of Grace Ministries
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Spirit of Grace Ministries
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Walk with God

Walking together

by Dennis Pollock

One of the most mysterious men in the Bible was a fellow named Enoch who lived only a few generations after Adam. Enoch's story takes very little space but he is remarkable for the fact that he apparently never died. The Scriptures give us this terse and tantalizing comment: "And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him" (Genesis 5:24).

In the Bible days walking was a common aspect of life. Today many people go years without doing any serious walking. Of course they walk from their house to the car and from their car to the mall and from their car to the restaurant and from their car to their job, but many will go years without ever walking a mile at a single stretch. Not so in Bible days. Walking several miles in a day was common. (Perhaps this was one reason they had far less heart disease and diabetes than we do today!)

A journey of several miles can be a lonely journey if you walk it by yourself. It could also be dangerous, as there would often be robbers and gangs of thieves ready to pounce upon solitary travelers. For this reason many would travel in pairs or in groups. Not only was it safer, but it made the journey far less tedious, and time went by so much swifter when there was someone to talk to as you traveled along the dusty and monotonous roads that led to your destination. God used this idea to represent the relationship He desires to have with us as we make our way through our life's journey. Micah writes, "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8).

This is what Jesus Christ came to give us through His life, death, and resurrection. More than mere hell insurance, Jesus came to make it possible for common, thick-headed, mistake-prone people such as we all are to relate to our holy, righteous, and perfect Creator in a warm and loving relationship that will endure all of our days. Amos asks the question: "Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?" If there is no unity of heart and purpose, walking together will create more problems than benefits. Jesus has died on the cross to bring agreement and unity between God and us, that we may walk together in a delightful relationship that will do us immeasurable good and bring God great delight.

Called to Fellowship

When we were born again we were called into a divine relationship. Paul writes: "God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Corinthians 1:9). At the heart of every marriage is relationship. No one marries (or at least should marry) merely for sex or money or position. Marriage is the formalizing of a desire and commitment for a lifetime relationship between a man and a woman. The "I do" said at the altar is a commitment to be best friends and lifetime partners sharing all life's experiences together. This is very much the nature of the new birth. We find Christ so appealing and the Heavenly Father He represents so attractive, we receive Christ as our Savior and purpose to allow God a determining role in every aspect of our lives from that point on – from youth to old age. Of course this is more than simply joining ourselves to God – first our sins must be forgiven and we must be reconciled to this holy God whom we have so greatly offended, but the cross and resurrection of Jesus bring forgiveness, reconciliation, and divine union all in a single package, with eternal life thrown in as a perk.

Components of a Relationship

A healthy relationship will always have certain fundamental components. First, there must be time spent together. If someone were to ask me, "What is your relationship with the president of Russia?" I would have to reply that I have no relationship whatsoever. Although I have seen him on television news, I have never met him. I have spent exactly zero minutes with him. It would be a fantasy to pretend to have a relationship with someone you have never spent any time with, much like the teenage girl who says she loves some pop singer who does not know she exists.

But time in each other's presence would be meaningless if there were no communication. There is something amazing about the power of words to strengthen relationships. No woman would accept a proposal upon first meeting a young man: "Hi, how are you? Would you like to get married this evening?" Such an idea would be preposterous. But if there is talk over the course of several months, along with humor and laughter, and the sharing of dreams and hopes, they may well fall in love and be ready to commit themselves to each other for a lifetime. What would have been absurd upon first meeting becomes imminently desirable after seeing each other and having conversations over a period of time.

There must be talking and sharing from both parties – otherwise you simply have a monologue. Adolf Hitler was famous for his monologues. He would gather a group of men and women together in the evenings and spend all night lecturing them on every conceivable subject: from history to military strategy to fashion to his views on race. As he would drone on and on everyone would sit still pretending to listen intently while they desperately fought off sleep. A healthy relationship involves communication coming from both parties. It is amazing that in our relationship with God, He wants to hear from us. And not merely petitions! What a pathetic marriage it would be if both husband and wife only spoke to one another when they wanted something from each other. No compliments, no playful talk, no sharing of hopes and dreams, no confiding of fears, just one request after another, and when the requests are finished – silence.

husband & wifeThe results of a good relationship over time are affection, appreciation, and security. In the marriage relationship, the passion of romantic love can wax and wane, but the affection and appreciation built over many years of a healthy relationship run very, very deep. When the ardent professions of love, given during those passionate, youthful, pre-marital days are proven and demonstrated by decades of gentle faithfulness and sacrificial love, the relationship grows sweeter and the comfort level rises higher. This is precisely what God wants of us and for us, as we walk with Him.

Listening and Speaking

As with all relationships there are two primary ingredients to our walk with God – hearing from Him and speaking to Him as we spend time in His presence. First let us consider hearing from God. We hear from God as we read His Word, the Bible. Yes, He can speak to us apart from His Word, but by far His more common and primary means to communicate with us is through His Word. Jesus prayed thus for His disciples: "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth" (John 17:17). The Word of God has a sanctifying effect upon those who read it. It changes our thinking, transforms our attitudes, motivates us to do the will of God, and builds a shield of faith which protects us from the poisonous darts shot from the bow of the evil one. It is also a means by which our divine Friend speaks to us. When we read the Scriptures we fellowship with God.

Of course the idea that Christians should read the Bible is hardly a new revelation. Yet as much as we are told to do this both by the Scriptures themselves and our pastors, yet relatively few Christians make Bible reading a regular part of each day. To go a day without physical food would be traumatic for most people. Deny them all food for a day and their complaining and whining would mount up to heaven, but to go a day without Bible reading is looked upon as no big deal by many; they hardly miss it. What incredible benefits they forfeit!

The second fundamental aspect of our walk with God is prayer. Reading God's Word is God speaking to us; prayer is us speaking to God – and both are absolutely vital. Paul instructs believers to "pray without ceasing." This cannot mean praying non-stop 24/7, but it does suggest an ongoing conversation with God that has no definite stopping point. One term that has become problematic for many Christians is the word Amen. Many see it as a point at which prayer stops. They have prayed for their finances, thanked God for their family, prayed for Aunt Mabel's bad back… There's really not much more to say, so they put an Amen at the end and conclude their prayer. The Father will not hear from them for the rest of the day. But prayer is supposed to be ongoing! Amen is a Biblical means to declare the certainty of the things you have spoken in the presence of God, but it is not meant to shut your mouth and end your prayer until tomorrow – same time, same station.

In Psalm 1 the psalmist describes great favor and blessing which comes to the man who meditates in the law of God day and night. So between Paul's encouragement to pray without ceasing and Psalm's exhortation to meditate in God's Word day and night it is clear that we should be engaged in a conversation with God – Him speaking to us and us speaking to Him – that has no conclusion. This goes far beyond the notion of having a morning devotional time and then forgetting all about God until tomorrow.

Most of us have taken a long car trip with family or friends. You don't talk non-stop throughout the entire trip – at least I hope you don't. We talk a while and then lapse into silence, and then something stirs in our hearts or we see something interesting or we want to stop for a break, and so we speak again. Talking, silence, talking, silence – this is the natural way we communicate with loved ones over the course of a trip. It would be both unnatural and exhausting to talk the entire time, but it would also be unnatural to be dead-silent the entire trip. Only an extreme introvert or an extremely angry person would do this. Nor would we ever attempt to get all our talking done during the first fifteen minutes and then refuse to speak the rest of the trip. So it is as we walk with our God throughout the day. A relationship without any speaking is no relationship at all.

Why not?

So why don't Christians walk with God? Why do they seem to have such a hard time regularly praying and reading God's Word? First, many professing Christians have never been born again. Theirs is a social Christianity or a ceremonial Christianity or a cultural Christianity, but somehow Christ is absent, and when you take Christ from Christianity nothing is left. Expecting a man to have a wonderful loving relationship with someone he doesn't know would be unreasonable. Another reason is that some Christians are carried away with distractions. Like the seed sown among the thorns and weeds, they are choked by worries, pleasures, and the pursuit of wealth, and live spiritually mute, unfruitful lives.

Some Christians assume that their walk with God is the church's responsibility. Pastor will feed them God's word, and the worship time will give them enough of God's presence to last until next Sunday. The church is certainly important, but God never intended church to be a substitute for an individual and personal walk with God. Jeremiah prophesies of the new covenant and declares, "No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them" (Jeremiah 31:34). No more depending upon the priest or prophet to stand between you and God. All God's children will know Him and walk with Him.

You can have a walk with God! Start reasonably. Don't try to maintain a schedule of Bible reading and prayer that you could never sustain over a lifetime. Even a few minutes of prayer and Bible reading throughout the day is infinitely superior to none at all. Don't try to do all your praying and reading in the morning and then forget God until tomorrow. Scatter your time with Him throughout the day. But by all means get started. Life is a long and frequently scary journey. It is so much better to have God to walk with you as you make your way through it, rather than stumbling along on your own. Remember – through Jesus Christ you were called into divine fellowship; you were made to walk with God.

For a full listing of all devos (written and audio) go to our Devos Catalog Page.

     

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