Walking With God
John R. Lenegar
who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He
that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh
truth in his heart." (Psalm 15:1-2). "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." (Heb. 11:5).
The Psalmist in our opening verse tells us that one of the characteristics
of a person belonging to the Lord is that they walk, or conduct themselves
uprightly. The Hebrew thought here has the idea of, "whole mindedly, as
well as blameless and innocent - requiring all their faculties". This is
and always has been a simple, elementary, and joy evoking truth. I am sure
that most of us realize that today many in the "Christian" realm have either
reinterpreted this truth, or ignore it. all together.
With a small amount of investigation, we can readily find a large percentage
of "Christians" today wear only that label. This group, often as not, has
little interest, or no interest at all in living an exemplary life before
the world. The standards of Christian conduct are extremely low and permissive
among large sections of what the world sees as Christianity. Among many
"going to church" is a part of society that all well rounded
people incorporate in their business and social life. Many view going to
church as a place of social contact and entertainment where they can hear
only what will not offend them. If these things disappeared, they would
no longer have a reason to attend. In spite of the Lord's admonition to
us in Philippians 1:27: "Only let your conversation be as it becometh
the gospel of Christ:", the conduct of many wearing the
Christian label is far below the admonition of this Scripture. The natural
man, as well the fleshy desires always finds this subject repulsive and
a reason to rebellion, but the new man, the new life put within us of God
desires to, "walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded
you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you," (Deut. 5:33).
I want us to make a few general observations on walking with God, and then
to note some specific, practical aspects of the Christian walk that I hope
will stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance that we each might do
the things that please Him'.
I. WHAT IT MEANS TO WALK WITH GOD
What exactly does it mean to "walk" with God? Is it a totally spiritual
state of mind which has little to do with our physical life in this world,
as some would tell us? Is it almost totally a physical exercise of works
to increase our favor, or state with God? Neither idea is correct. It is
both spiritual and physical. The one preceding and producing the other.
It is the duty and responsibility answering the moving of God's Spirit
within us. The New Testament epistles are full of assurance that the imparted
energy of God through the Spirit is sufficient for a proper walk, or life
conduct, before God and the unregenerate world around us.
"It is God which worketh (energizes) in you both to will
and to do of His good pleasure:" (Philippians 2:13).
A. We would put this definition of walking with God for our purposes in
this article. "To Walk With God". Living according to the plan and practices
laid down by our God in His Word and in particular those expounded in the
New Testament. Living a life pleasing and acceptable to Him with Whom we
have to do. Living in close proximity to the Guide and Director of our
steps. In short, living a consistently balanced Christian life. Our God
is in perfect balance in all aspects and all things. without
man's interference, would have perfect balance. The believer is to be in
balance in all aspects of his life and testimony. Would to God it were
true more often as not.
B. Our walk as Christians has a two-fold aspect put there by God. First,
our walk, or conduct is God-ward. An example is Joshua 22:5, "But
take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant
of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all
his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to
serve him with all your heart and with all your soul".
Secondly, our walk is man-ward in that we maintain a love and testimony
toward God, but we are to have the same for those about us. An example
of this is found in I Peter 2:11-12, where we read: "Dearly beloved,
I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which
war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles:
that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by our good
works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation."
Therefore, our Christian walk is to first please the Lord for our own spiritual
well being. Secondly, we are to use that walk in maintaining an effective
testimony before unbelievers.
II. THOSE WHO CAN WALK WITH GOD AND THOSE WHO CANNOT
Cannot anyone at anytime
decide to walk with God? Isn't the promise of fellowship and abiding open
to all? Yes, all that are able to respond, but not everyone is able to
respond. Today, we hear constant admonitions of "walk the heavenly way",
take the hand of the man who stilled the water," "walk with God and he
will walk with you". Cannot anyone, at any time, of his, or her own free
will, as a free moral agent decide to walk the Christian way with Jesus?
If they are able to receive and decide, yes! If God opens their heart and
understanding, yes! The fact is, that most preaching today operates under
a false concept when under girded by the belief that everyone at any time
can choose God and His way over evil and destruction. God says: "Can the
Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do
good, that are accustomed to do evil." (Jeremiah 13:23). No one
can walk with God unless they have been born from above. The old question
on which everything pivots is: "Is man totally depraved, or not? God says
of the wicked: "They know not, neither will they understand they walk on
in darkness:" (Psalm 82:5).
Unregenerate men and women continue on according to their own will in this
life. The catch is that their will is governed by their nature.
Again God says: "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into
the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds
were evil" (John 3:19). Unregenerate man cannot walk with God of
his, or her own desire. In order for a person to walk with God, God must
put that person into the way. God must put them in, open the way for them
to enter the straight and narrow. Without divine intervention, God says:
"The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not that they stumble."
Only the elect, quickened by the Spirit can walk with God. We begin when
we first realize the fact of His presence with us. We have received Him
and are sealed unto the day of redemption. Now our desire is that our conformity,
our effort, and our aim is to commune with Him continually. We must keep
fresh our consciousness of His presence with us. Psalm 16:8 says,
"I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand,
I shall not be moved." Our thoughts through the day should turn again and
again to Him. WE need to remember that we live and walk by faith. THE UNSEEN
IS REAL; THE MATERIAL IS MERELY APPARENT. II Corinthians
5:7 says, "For we walk by faith, not by sight."
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship
one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from
all sin." (I John 1:7). "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and
ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16).
The two verses quoted tell us that we are to walk in the light and we also
are to walk in the Spirit. Only God's children can do that; all others
turn a deaf ear. We walk in the light because we are children of light.
We have been translated from the kingdom of darkness into His glorious
light. Note Colossians 1:12-13. We as His children should continually
yield and be filled with the Spirit that we overcome the lusts of the flesh.
We are to remember that we walk by faith and not by sight, even though
it would appear to be the opposite among many today. With God there is
black and white; there is no gray area, or loop hole through which is compromise,
or escape. We are saved by God's power, we begin to live in faith and not
by sight, and consequently we are to walk, or conduct ourselves in this
life according to God's word in a consistent manner that is both glorifying
to Him and profitable to us. That is our reasonable service.
The problem arises today in what is reasonable service and what exactly
the "Christian" walk is and how to conduct ourselves in that manner. We
live in a day and time, it is argued, that is different from when the Bible
was given. That is ridiculous. God never changes, nor does His word. It
is settled in heaven. People and their problems never change, only the
scenarios which surround each group, or time period.
You and I, as God's children, are to realize that God's plan and principles
remain unchanged. As we said in the first part of this message, our walk,
or conduct is two fold: Godward and manward. Our walk is to be obedient
and pleasing to God and that walk is to be a witness to those about where
ever we find ourselves. What does God tell us of this walk and its results?
Although there are several others, I would like for us to look at just
five aspects of walking with God in relation to God Himself, to one another,
and to the church as found in chapters 4 and 5 of the book of Ephesians.
I hope that these are not only familiar to you, but that you will meditate
upon them much and endeavor to practice them all the more.
IN BALANCE AND UNITY
Ephesians 4:1 says: "I therefore, the prisoner Of the Lord, beseech
you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called." The next
few verses speak of keeping the unity of the Spirit in peace. The Christian
walk is to be a balance of the Scriptures. If it is not and one area
is emphasized over another, wrong practice come about and many become open
to the doctrines of demons and man made traditions. Our walk of balance
and unity is always to be balanced by God, i.e. toward God and also toward
the unregenerate. Because of the blessed truths of Ephesians chapters 1-3,
we are admonished here in Ephesians 4:1 to walk worthy. The word
used in the Greek is "axios" which means "equal weight" appropriately;
hence our calling and conduct should be in balance, "being called to the
fellowship of his Son." (I Corinthians 1:9). Hence the calling of
each one of us is to the salvation of God through Christ, but also our
calling is into the church. Our conduct then concerns both our personal
life and our responsibility to other believers in the assembly.
Humility, gentleness, and patience are to temper our conduct.
II. WALK IN HOLINESS
4:17 says: "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye
henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind."
Please read the entire passage: Ephesians 4:17-24. We are not to
act like the lost, nor are we to exhibit aspects of our former conduct
as lost sinners. We are to put off the deeds of the old man. Holiness is
a word we need to consider a great deal more as it pertains to our God
and its out-working in our lives.
Some of its practical aspects are seen here. We are to practice purity
(young believers and old alike) and avoid the sins of verse 19. These things
named here are visible among some called Christians. Sexual sins and moral
degradation are widely accepted today because these are "modern times".
God gives us no pardon in these sins except for I Corinthians 10:13 through
the power of His Spirit. We are helpless to fulfill this walk without the
power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
III. WALK IN LOVE
Ephesians 5:1-4 "Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children;
And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself
for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor. But
fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named
among you, as becometh saints, Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking,
nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks."
Although all five of these aspects of the believer's walk are based on
love, Paul now tells us to walk in love. We are to reflect the love that
God has put within us; remembering that we love Him because He first loved
us. Our love, as the other two aspects of our walk, has two directions.
The first is to God - "And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine
heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."
(Deuteronomy 6:5). Secondly, to one another - "This is my commandment,
that ye love one another, as I have loved you." (John 15:12). it
is because of this love that we are not to practice the self centered
sinful vices of verses 3 and 4, but the self sacrificing love of verses
1 and 2. Beloved, a loving believer is one in whom the work of God's love
has perfected, or matured him, or her. We are to reflect Him in this world.
IV. WALK IN THE LIGHT
5:7-11 - "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the
Lord: walk as children of light." (Ephesians 5:8). We are
changed persons. We are not to be partners, if you will, with those who
are objects of God's wrath. We are not in darkness as are others. We are
not to be involved with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but we are to
expose them. Our lives are to reflect only the light as we discern from
the Word what pleases Him and then the works of evil will be visible for
what they are. I am convinced that the permissiveness of our present age
has blinded many to evil that is so prevalent around us. Note verses 10
V. WALK IN WISDOM
5:15-21 "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as
wise," (Ephesians 5:15). We are to be wise and skillful in making the right
use of any opportunity in these evil days and thus please the Lord. We
are to walk carefully, accurately, exactly while not giving occasion, for
others to stumble (man-ward) and to please our Lord (God-ward). We
are to exhibit a Spirit filled life continually and not for just a couple
of hours a week. It is not an "on again", "'off again" option. All of these
aspects of walking with God are not for the purpose of being someone who
is spectacular, but this is for all of us. These are not options that a
believer might want to consider. We are to have a consistent, day in, day
out walk with our God that is based on love to Him and to one another.
Oh, that we might have the testimony of Enoch among our present generation
of Christians; that we walk with God and even more, that we "pleased" God
in our earthly pilgrimage. To please Him in our walk, our conduct ought
to be the burning desire of our hearts, to be found faithful by those who
come after us; to hear Him say "Well done, thou good and faithful servant.
Enter in the joys of thy Lord."
VI. BENEFITS OF WALKING WITH GOD
Apart from pleasing the Lord and having communion with Him, there are two
benefits that I wish to mention before finishing. First of all, our walk
may be used of God to greatly influence the lost and others around us.
Just as Levi and those typified by him in Malachi 2:6 were used
of God, so may we also. Secondly, our closer walk with the Father will
give us a fellowship and nearness that will cause the things of this world
to grow strangely dim and we shall have a joy in His presence that this
world will never know, will never even taste; a joy now and in the
future ages. Psalms 16:11 says: "Thou wilt shew me the path of life:
in thy presence is fulness of joy: at thy right hand there are pleasures
Beloved, these admonitions and their performance in love upon which we
have just looked briefly, do not end with the cessation of this life. We
may indeed do these things imperfectly now, but we shall do them perfectly
over there. Our perfection in performing them will be because of and by,
His perfection in us. We as God's elect children have this assurance: (Psalms
73:23-24) "Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden
me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward
receive me to glory."
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