Back in July we looked at the question, “What does it mean to seek God?” That phrase, seek God, turns up rather frequently in scripture. Jeremiah 29:13 is a perfect example: “ ‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.”
In that post, we considered our experiences of searching for people to discover principles that might guide our search for God.
The same strategy can give us insight for another instruction seen often in scripture: walk with God. Micah 6:8 is one example: “What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
What does that mean exactly, to walk with God? Again, understanding may be expanded by examining what happens when we walk in the physical realm.
First of all, learning to walk doesn’t happen in a moment. The late Howard Hendricks, professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, used to make this point with a humorous illustration:
A baby does not sit in his playpen and suddenly say to himself: “My, oh my! Observe these family members ambulating on two feet! What an amazing maneuver for forward locomotion! I think I shall try it!”
No, a baby cannot simply get up and start to walk. It is a process that happens over time. That brings us to…
Principle #1: Walking with God is a learned behavior that happens over time.
“Come to me,” Jesus says. “Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace” (Matthew 11:28-29, The Message).
Slowly but surely, as we bring Jesus into our daily routines to be our guide and confidante, we take on his attributes. A glorious side effect will be: the fullness of joy that comes when we walk in his presence (Psalm 16:11). And day by day that fullness grows.
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Not long ago, my friend, Cindy, invited me to go on a walk in a nearby state park. It was not an aerobic workout! Cindy and I chatted away as we leisurely made our way through the woods. We probably missed some critter sightings because we were more focused on our conversation than the beauty around us.
However, occasionally something would catch our attention, and one would point it out to the other, such as…
“Oh! Look at those sweet purple flowers!” Two people saying “ooh” and “aah” is so much more fun than one!
Principle #2: Walking with God is simply friendship with God.
God is beside each one of us as we progress through each day. At any moment we can share our hearts with Him, much as Cindy and I did on that walk. As his gifts and blessings seize our attention, we can thank and praise him—share our “oohs” and “aahs” with him.
A. W. Tozer suggests we “live in a state of unbroken worship.” Might that just be like a walk in the woods with a friend?
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A couple of years ago I accompanied two of our three adult children, their spouses, and one granddaughter to a theme park. Of course, the young adults wanted to ride at least one roller coaster. So little Sophie and I went to one of the shows while they waited in line.
Because of the crowd, I held tightly to Sophie’s hand as we made our way to the theater. But there were patches of thick crowds around some of the attractions. At those points, I carried her, to make sure we weren’t separated.
I wasn’t about to let anything happen to her. She is much too precious to me.
Principle #3: Walking with God provides glorious blessings. Among them, protection and care.
- His protective presence. No doubt you remember this affirmation from David: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).
- And Isaiah presents a beautiful image of God’s loving care. “He tends his flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart” (Isaiah 40:11).
Heavenly Father, how incredible it is that you—the majestic Lord of the universe–would want to walk with us! What an amazing privilege that you desire to grace us with your all-wise, all-powerful, supremely loving presence! What wonderful benefits you bestow as we walk close to your side!
Why would I ever want to walk alone?