Thursday, November 17, 2016

Just a Closer Walk with Thee

Can Christians caught up in the rush of modern life really enjoy the presence of God?  Can they enjoy fellowship with Him, the pleasure of getting to know Him better?  Can they really experience the pleasure of His company as believers of previous generations have?

Yes, they can.  You can.  If you really want to, you can walk with God as Enoch and Noah and Levi did centuries ago.  Or as D. L. Moody or G. Campbell Morgan or Chuck Swindoll or others of this century.  Let's take Enoch again as our model.  Enoch built a life characterized by walking with God in intimate fellowship.  He could do this because God desires fellowship with human beings.  Some would even say He pursues it.  As a result, He provided the way for us to respond to Him in faith and to walk with Him by faith.  All we have to do is learn what it means to walk with God and get in step.

As we have already seen, a walk with God begins with reconciliation to God.  Remember the words of Amos 3.3:  "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (KJV)  Agreement with God requires reconciliation.  Sin brought alienation, isolation, and enmity.  Enoch inherited these qualities just as we all have.  For him to walk with God, the sin must be cleansed and the enmity removed and the man reconciled.  Only God can do all three, and we know He did it for Enoch because Hebrews 11.5 tells us that Enoch "obtained the witness before his being taken up he was pleasing to God."

To walk with God requires a correspondence of nature; it requires godliness.  To walk with Him, we must be like Him.  The two go hand in hand; as Matthew Henry expressed it, "What is godliness but walking with God?"  But to be godly, to walk with God, we must "become partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1.4).  We must be "conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8.29).  For, you see, godliness is very much also God-like-ness.  And we can't become God-like all by ourselves.  Only after the Lord has placed His Holy Spirit in us can we obey the command to "consecrate yourselves...and be holy; for I am holy" (Leviticus 11.44).  With His Spirit empowering us, we then cease taking our own way.  We abandon the way of the world.  Instead, we walk with God, following the divine way, because the divine nature He's given us enables us to look at life the way the Lord looks at life, desire what He desires, enjoy the company He provides.  We learn how He looks at things and what He desires by getting close to Him, by getting to know Him.  And we get to know Him by walking with Him and by fellowshipping with Him through His Word and His indwelling Spirit.

To walk with God is to make God's Word our rule and His glory our end in all our actions.  Enoch had a word from God in his day: the promise concerning the seed of the woman, probably passed on through Seth from generation to generation until it came to him.  To believe God's Word brings glory to God.  To live by God's Word brings even more glory to Him.  And Enoch believed it and lived by it.  He obeyed God's Word and proclaimed it faithfully to his generation (Jude 14-15).  He preached God's judgment on the ungodly and pursued a godly life because only a godly life would please God.  And Enoch, remember,  "obtained the witness before his being taken up he was pleasing to God" because he walked with God by faith.  His faith was not given to him to improve the world or even to improve himself but just to walk with God.  God gives us faith by His Holy Spirit so we can walk with Him and His Word as a guide to show us how

To walk with God means we set God always before us.  It means we make it our constant care and endeavor to please Him in everything and to offend Him in nothing.  It means we surrender our will to His will.  We submit ourselves to be workers together with Him.  To walk with God means we become more and more like Him in holiness and righteousness and moral fitness.  Oswald Chambers said, "Holiness means unsullied walking with the feet, unsullied talking with the tongue, unsullied thinking with the mind--every detail of the life under the scrutiny of God.  Holiness is not only what God gives me, but what I manifest that God has given me."

We manifest what God has given us by walking with Him before the world as Children of God.  Because we are His children, we walk before Him in sincerity as Abraham did (Genesis 17.1).  We walk after Him in obedience to His leadership and commands (Deuteronomy 13.4).  As the Apostle Paul taught, we also walk in Him revealing our union with Him that has been rooted and established in faith (Colossians 2.6).  Finally, we walk with Him, as the saints of old did, in fellowship and love.  This is life's ideal and the culmination of God's glorious purpose for man--no, for you and me.  No wonder the hymn writer prayed
                                                "Just a closer walk with Thee.
                                                 Grant it, Jesus, is my plea!"