Abraham can be counted as the greatest leader who ever lived for innumerable Muslims, Jews and Christians lay claim to his inheritance that God promised to him and his ancestors. He developed such a close relationship with God that there was no hesitation to obey any of His commands and God also added a part of His name to Abram to make him Abraham – father of many nations. When we decide to follow God completely our way of life also must get changed to conform to ‘His ways and thoughts’. It is in this transformed state that we can and start walking with God in step with His commands and statutes.
Lord Jesus has established the kingdom of God in us and we are no longer in the age of fallen humanity (Matthew 12:28). Lord Jesus’ life on earth, His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension into heaven has ushered in the spring of new life ending our wait for the end of the winter of sin. The citizens of faith in His kingdom have been made new by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 5:17), yet we still need to be renewed in our minds (Romans 121:1-2). Lord Jesus has set us free (John 8:36) but we are required to put the old man to death (Romans 8:13). God’s kingdom is here yet there are wars, sickness and disease, murders and suffering in the world for we live in an age between winter and summer – Lord’s first and second coming.
In Roman society two thousand years ago, a youth coming of age was clothed with a new ‘toga’, a new robe after removing his childhood clothes giving him new rights and responsibilities as an adult. On baptism, we also remove the old clothes of the ‘Law of Moses’ or the laws of our old beliefs and put on Christ’s new robe of righteousness – not of our doing but an act of grace and mercy by God (Galatians 3:26-27). In this manner we put on the Lord Jesus and His righteousness – first, being identified with Him through baptism and accepting Him as our Savior and secondly, we exemplify His qualities of love, humility and service. We role play in our life, living as He would live, acting in every situation as He would to overcome the desires of the flesh (Romans 13:14).
God chose us in His Son before laying the foundation of the world and saw us in Him even before we came into being (Ephesians 1:4). It is only through this merciful act of forgiveness of our sins and waiving off our due punishment of our sins we are in Lord Jesus – for God chose and united us with Him through our new birth (1 Corinthians 1:30). In this changed life in Him, we surrender to Him every day/moment and like Abraham get ready to follow Him in total surrender.
What is walking with God? – Imagine walking with someone – we move in the same direction, at the same pace trying to reach a common destination showing complete unity and community with him. “Enoch walked with God and he was no more” (Hebrews 5:21-24) and the Hebrew word ‘halak’ translated as walk also means to walk in total agreement and this word is used in Amos 3:3 and other places for Cherubim and Seraphim, who follow God everywhere. Prophet Isaiah saw the ‘Throne of God’ in the Temple with Seraphim moving around while using two of their six wings to cover their faces, two wings to cover their feet and only using two wings to fly while glorifying God by singing “Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD Almighty”. With the mighty power of their voices, the doorposts and threshold frames were shaken (Isaiah 6:1-4). By covering their faces they concealed their own glory or persona and by covering their feet, they surrendered their own walk to God, thus having no self identity.
“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death, and was not found” (Hebrews 11:5) and the Greek word ‘metetheken’ is translated as taken away. However, in Aramaic Bible, the word ‘chanavak’ is used and it also means to be consecrated or dedicated. Thus Enoch was given over so completely that God possessed every fiber of his being to make him one with God to be taken up in his physical state to be with God. In like manner “Noah walked with the true God” (Genesis 6:9), obeying God so closely and loved Him so dearly as if two friends walked together. In this walk was involved years of hard work of preparing the Ark with a total of seven persons with him – his wife, three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, and their wives (1 Peter 3:20). Noah was 480 years old when he started and the flood came at age 600, thus 120 years of work while witnessing to others, listening to their taunts. It is this state of total surrender that involves walking with God in following His will completely without question or doubt of any kind.
How to develop a close relationship with God? – This sort of an association is built over a long period of dedicated and diligent effort. The first point towards this is ‘Focus on God’ and this is achieved through –
- Letting go of all distractions of worldly sinful pleasures available in abundance today through live streaming of data on phones. Removing self from the sin of gluttony or of financial gains and maintain focus on God alone.
- Daily Scripture reading avoiding the excuse of inability to understand the deeper meaning of His Word while seeking His help for perseverance.
- “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing while giving thanks in everything” top stay in close connection with God (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). A school teaches all students to write a letter to God – giving thanks for blessings, placing requests for future while sharing thoughts with the Heavenly Father. In this manner the students are encouraged to enjoy God’s company, cry and rejoice with Him.
- Meditate on His Word – “This book of the law must not depart from your mouth, meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it” (Joshua 1:8). Retain total attention on God’s Word to avoid distractions.
- Pay attention to Divine intervention or providence for there is nothing insignificant in our lives and we must try and understand the pattern of events. Saul (Apostle Paul) was warned by Lord Jesus about the “difficulty of kicking against goads”, thereby implying that God was urging him onto a particular path of obedience (Acts 9:5).
God has a plan for each person of His creation and natural circumstances would be used by Him to lead us onto that intended destination, though one can continue to live in defiance and suffer the consequences of that.
The second point is ‘Follow God’s lead” for He will definitely guide us to our destiny and our life’s entire journey is towards fulfillment of that.
- Analyze your steps – It is necessary to take time out to be still and reflect upon our past – not for recrimination but understanding. God has chosen us and we must identify our behavior of times of closeness to God and repeat that.
- Obey God’s commands – The two commandments are explicit, ‘Love your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and also love your neighbor (one in need) in like manner’. This love must be visible in all our moral, social, financial and spiritual aspects of life.
- Seek guidance from the Holy Spirit – God has blessed us with this Helper as a caretaker for a child to guide and teach us about “all things”. Become like a child before his guardian for His urging and leading and persevere in this quest at all times.
- Have patience – There is a season for everything and a time for every matter under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) and God will lead us to the right place at His time.
- Fellowship with others – Our meeting other believers becomes a source of encouragement for we are not alone, there are others undergoing the same and this is temporary “a little while” and the God of all glory will restore us into His blessed state (1 Peter 5:10).
- Share the good news – After resurrection Lord Jesus walked with two of His disciples while they were going to Emmaus and “beginning at Moses and the prophets, He expounded to them in the Scripture the things concerning Himself”. The two could only recognize Him at the ‘breaking of bread’ and they ‘rose up that very hour’ to rush back to Jerusalem to share the news with others (Luke 24:13-35). God uses people to reveal His will for us and we must be receptive to such messages of love of God.
- Persevere – In our daily Christian walk, while we are surrounded on all sides by the forces of evil, there is every possibility of our falling down into sin. In such a situation, like King David, confess, repent, seek forgiveness and resume the walk with God for that is what He desires. Lord Jesus through the parable of the lost sheep reveals His immense love for His followers – the sheep of His pasture. When one strays, He willingly goes out in search for the lost sheep, leaving the rest, and upon finding the lost He does not scold but hoists it on His shoulders, rejoicing. He is merciful and loving, don’t ever think of giving up in despair.
Apostle Peter felt, understood and so lived in the love of God that despite having denied Him thrice, he got up after this stumble and received pardon and restoration. Judas Iscariot, on the other hand, did not fully comprehend God’s grace and mercy and though feeling remorseful for his action, preferred to commit suicide than face the other disciples. In this he not only missed the chance of redemption through forgiveness from the Risen Lord’, he also lost the chance to enter into heaven.
No doubt we are surrounded on all sides by the forces of darkness that are ever ready to overwhelm us, yet by putting on the ‘armor of light’ (1 Thessalonians 5:8) we can overcome and be counted worthy by the Lord.