When I read about the people in the Bible, I am often impressed by the commendations given to them in the scriptures:
David: “And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ (Acts 13:22 ESV)
Moses: “And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face…” (Deuteronomy 34.10-12, ESV)
Abraham: ““Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.” (James 2.23, ESV)
Noah: “Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.” (Genesis 6.9, ESV)
Even more intriguing are those of whom we know little, like Enoch:
By faith, Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God.
~ Hebrews 11.5, ESV
What we know of Enoch’s life is summed up in Genesis 5.18-24. At age 65, he became the father of Methuselah—the oldest recorded man. We know that after Methuselah was born, Enoch walked with God for three hundred years and had other sons and daughters. After three hundred years his body was not found, for the scripture says, “God took Him.” We also know he was the great-grandfather of Noah, and in the lineage of Christ.
The best commendation he receives is the one that counts the most: “Enoch walked with God for 300 years.”
I haven’t even been alive for half a century; three hundred years is unfathomable. I’ve seen enough of life to know I don’t want to live for three hundred years. One thing is certain: Enoch’s walk demanded long-term dedication.
This idea of walking with God comes up again and again in the scriptures. Noah walked with God. Moses commanded the people to “walk in all [God’s] ways.” The apostle John commanded Christians to “walk in the light as [God] is in the light.” The apostle Paul wrote “walk by the Spirit” and “keep in step with the Spirit.”
We know we are supposed to walk with God, but what does that look like?
It’s more than words.
“God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
~ 1 John 1.5-7, ESV (emphasis mine)
Pay close attention to the verbs in this passage. If we say one thing (we have fellowship with God) while doing another (walking in darkness), we lie. We may talk a good game, but does our life reflect what we say?
Walking with God is more than verbal assent, it’s a lifestyle. What we do speaks volumes above anything we say. The people commended as faithful may have messed up here and there, but they consistently repented and returned to following God until death.
Do my actions reflect the light of Christ or the darkness of the world? Are my priorities indicative of walking with God or gratifying self?
It means we are going somewhere
I’ve been on my fair share of hikes to hitherto unseen destinations. I had confidence that the people who made the path and the trail guides were going to lead me to this lake or that landmark. I would trudge the well-worn, and sometimes precarious paths that hundreds of feet had walked before me in order to see whatever it was worth seeing.
God has given us a trail guide in His word, and we have a great cloud of witnesses who have walked the path of faith ahead of us, pointing the way to heaven. We have confidence because God is the one who made the way in the first place. I often feel like I’m wandering aimlessly, especially when my plans go astray. However, I am also learning that this wilderness trail leads to the ultimate destination, and God will get me there if I keep following in faith.
Existentialists believe that life is meaningless; there is nothing after death. To them, life is basically a treadmill exercise and we’re going nowhere when we die. Get what you can while the gettin’s good.
Which would you rather be? An existentialist on a hamster wheel or a Christian on the road to heaven?
Walking with God is not a waste of energy. We have a destination and a purpose.
It requires endurance.
In High School, I went on a backpacking hike with my Bio-Chem class in Yosemite. We strapped on some heavy packs and made our way to a grove of Redwoods to camp overnight. It was a beautiful trek and worth every aching muscle.
That backpack though… there were many times I wanted to chuck it into the trees! It was bulky and uncomfortable on my small frame. More than once I wanted to stop walking or turn back to the valley for some R-N-R.
Life gets heavy like that backpack. Sometimes we just want to quit and cast it all away. Sometimes, we just want the story to end. Moses and Elijah—the great lawgiver and the great prophet—both had moments when they wanted to stop. They did what you and I should do; they called upon the Lord in their distress and He heard them. He strengthened them and provided the help they needed to stay the course.
If we turn around and go back to living like everyone else, we will miss the greatest opportunity in history. If we cast away our faith, we lose the eternal reward. Don’t stop. Don’t turn around. Take God’s hand and keep walking.
Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
~ Hebrews 10.35-36, ESV
Walking with God means talking with God
Companionable silence has it’s moments. My spouse and I spend plenty of time together saying nothing. I’m usually the chatty one anyway—just look at the word length on my posts! If I did all the talking, however, I would never benefit from my spouse’s excellent insight.
On the other hand, if we never communicated at all, that would put a definite strain on our relationship. We talk about everything—and we’ve been doing that since we started dating. Whenever we’ve been apart for more than a day, we’ve always connected via phone or text, even if all we said was “I love you” or “How was your day?” or “I miss you.” To successfully “do life” together, we maintain strong lines of communications.
Do we take time to listen to God? Do we share our lives with Him? Do we tell him our dreams? Fears? Needs? Do we thank Him when something beautiful comes along? Prayer without study or study without prayer is one-sided communication—the two need to go together. Valuable companionable silence with God comes by sitting quietly, saying nothing, meditating on God and all that He has done.
Do we only reach out to God when disaster strikes? Do we only listen half-heartedly on Sundays? Does he only cross our mind when a verse slides through our Facebook feed? That’s not the makings of good communication…
Walking with God means talking with God. Listen to the Word daily. Pray to the Lord—daily. Don’t “do life” without God.
This post originally appeared on ElihusCorner.com and was republished with permission.
Elihu Anderson is a surviving California native currently thriving in West Texas. When she isn’t writing for Elihu’s Corner, she is teaching, researching, walking, and book-worming with a cup of chai. Visit Elihu at elihuscorner.com