In the first of two previous posts we suggested the Old Testament phrase of “Walking with God” is a good image still today for those who belong to and live for God. My favorite Old Testament example of someone who walked with God is Enoch who is mentioned only in Genesis 5:21-24, but is twice said in those four verses to have “walked faithfully with God.” In the last post we underscored three specifics that hurt our walk with God: pride, worldly-mindedness, and spiritual laziness. In this final post of the trio I want to highlight three broad categories (with some specifics) that help our walk with God.
First, it will help our walk with God if we cultivate the relationship. As we noted previously, the idea of walking with God is a picture of a relationship. And having a relationship with God is in many ways like our other relationships; if it is going to grow there must be a cultivation of the relationship through communication and spending time together.
One of the clearest ways God speaks to us is through the reading of the Bible. and while Bible study is important, I want to stress simply reading the Bible. I grow in my relationship with the Lord by trying to read His Word at least five days every week. (Why not seven days? I usually do, but five days is a good goal.)
Through prayer we speak to God. There are all kinds of aids and methods to help us pray, but eventually it comes down to deciding we are going to pray. Calvin Miller notes, “Prayer itself is not hard, but the will to pray is.” Some of us find it easier to talk about God than it is to talk with God. But if we will consistently pray it will enhance our walk with God.
The third specific for cultivating the relationship is worship. God is God and He is to be worshiped. And, of course, we can worship Him on our own in private. But I also believe we need to regularly gather with others to worship Him corporately to cultivate the relationship.
A second broad category to help our walk with God is to cultivate a generous attitude, spirit, and heart. And this includes the generous giving of our financial resources to honor the Lord and fund His work. But a generous attitude, spirit, and heart includes far more than just the giving of money. It includes the giving of our time and energy to the service others—fellow believers and non-believers alike. A generous follower of Jesus will also refrain from harsh criticism, ridicule, and judgement of others and not be rude. Instead, generosity will be expressed through the expression of affirmation, encouragement, courtesy, and gratitude to others.
Finally, the practice of Christian fellowship will help our walk with God. There is a real sense in which Christianity is “a team sport” because we need each other. (See Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 for some perspective.) In terms of Christian fellowship we need to accept care from others. That’s so hard for some to do, but we need support and encouragement. And along this same line, we need accountability. We give and receive care and accountability to a degree through the local body of Christ at large, but we really need Christian fellowship in smaller groups. Church sponsored small groups (or life groups) are great, but we can practice care and accountability also through less structured and informal relationships as well. At this stage of my life and ministry all my deeper experience of care and accountability come informally through my closest Christian friendships.
I hope you have found these three posts challenging and encouraging. I believe walking with God is the secret to life. Many years ago I loved the stage play as well as the movie “Godspell.” I especially was touched by the music and one song filled my heart to overflowing. The words request, “Day by day, day by day; O dear Lord—three things I pray: to see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, follow thee more nearly; day by day.” May that be our prayer as we walk with God.
I welcome comments and questions below.
(The inspiration and some ideas for these posts come from a presentation I heard by J.I. Packer over 25 years ago.)
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