Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Week Forty Six - Walk

 “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”  I John 2:6   
This word, walk, occurs 212 times in the KJV Bible.  It is most often used in two ways – man walking with God or before God and God walking with man.  We see a passing of life.   Many are mentioned that walked with God.  One stands out – “Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”  This man knew how to conduct himself.  He has an extraordinary relationship with the Creator and an extraordinary exit from this world.
As we look at this verse in I John we see the exhortation for us to walk according to the example of our Lord.  If we claim to be his, our walk should prove it.  The definition means to conduct one’s self or to pass one’s life in a certain manner.  It is a matter of walking according to His Word.  Obedience is a proof of salvation.  Our obedience, according to I John 2:5, shows our salvation and matures our love.  But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”
Matthew Henry writes:  “To keep the word of God, or of Christ, is sacredly to attend thereto in all the conduct and motion of life….We know that we belong to him, and that we are united to him by that Spirit which assists us to this obedience; and if we acknowledge our relation to him, and our union with him, it must have this continued enforcement upon us…Those who profess to be on his side, and to abide in him, must walk with him, walk after his pattern and example.”
In a sermon on this verse Spurgeon wrote:  We do many of us say that we are in Christ: let us hear how obliged we are by this to walk even as he walked. Oh, Holy Spirit, let us feel the weight of the sacred obligation!
As we look at this word, it is my prayer that we would take time to truly consider how we are conducting our lives.  Time is passing – are we imitating our Saviour?  Are we developing an extraordinary relationship with our Lord?
Are we walking according to His word – or are we hypocrites?

 “…the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.”  Genesis 17:1
“…Noah was a just man and perfect in his generation, and Noah walked with God.  Genesis 6:9
God’s instruction to Abram, and the example of Noah, was to walk.  It simply means to walk, come, or proceed.  Figuratively it has the idea of the manner of life in which one lives and dies.
With Abram we see God telling him to walk before him – to walk in a manner befitting those whose life is under the watchful care of the Creator.  We see that Noah walked with God and he is described as just and perfect.  He, too, ordered his life and steps under the knowledge of the presence and judgment of God.
Henry and Richard Blackaby, in their devotional Experiencing God Day by Day, brought out a great thought concerning walking with God.  Take time to think carefully as you read this quote and ask yourself the questions posed.
“No matter how ungodly the environment you may be in, God will always find you and walk with you.  Noah lived in perhaps the most wicked age in history…How oppressive such an environment would have been to a righteous person….Nevertheless, Noah was not lost to God in the crowd of sinners.  God noticed every act of Noah’s righteousness…Are you constantly surrounded by evil?  Do you struggle at times to live a righteous life when those you associate with each day have no concern for God?  Find assurance in the life of Noah.  God watches you, even as He observed Noah, God will seek you out of the crowd every time, and He wants to bless you and your family just as He blessed Noah.”
So how’s your walk?

 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10
A lovely saint named Nina Burnett once said that this verse is sadly too often overlooked.  She was referring to the fact that many people know Ephesians 2:8 & 9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.”, but they stop there.  If you link the two thoughts together you get a much larger picture.  Verses 8 & 9 have to do with salvation being the work of God in our lives.  Verse 10 confirms that with salvation completed God has a purpose for our lives – a work for us to do.  With the gift of this newly created life we are to be using it for good.  That is our God-ordained purpose.
“…that we should walk in them” means we should make our way, progress, and/or make due use of opportunities.  It reminds me of the verse in Galatians 6:10 – “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
Good works should exemplify our new life.  The Life of Christ is our example.  He went about doing good.  He was kind – even to those who did not deserve kindness.  He was patient – even with those who lacked faith.  He was accepting and forgiving – even to those who were deep in sin.  He was appreciative towards those who showed him care.  He was thoughtful and considerate.  He reached out to the needy.  He did not reject those with diseases and malformations.  He rejoiced with those that rejoiced and wept with those who wept.  He is our example.
So, once again – how’s your walk?  Is it exemplified by good works toward others?  Or closed and self-centered?

 “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called...”  Ephesians 4:1
Of all the Scriptures that have challenged me through life this has to be one that stands out.  As I think of walking worthy it creates a standard and a goal.  The idea of the definition is to regulate one’s life. 
If I am walking worthy I am:
1.    Conducting myself according to God’s Word.
2.    Recognizing my place as a Child of God – an heir to an eternal kingdom.
3.    Walking upright – both in stature and in demeanor.
4.    Making choices that will honour my Lord.
5.    Fulfilling my ministry/vocation thoroughly and with conscientiousness.
6.    Upholding the Name of the Lord in all areas of my life.
The goal is twofold – 1) To bring praise to His name alone. & 2) to hear that “well done thou good and faithful servant.”
To reach the standard and the goal requires that I regulate my life.  I cannot be haphazard about my faithfulness and service.  I cannot run hot and cold in my relationship with my Saviour.  I cannot do things that would bring the ministry or my Lord’s name into disrepute.
I think that is why Paul uses the word beseech.  He wants to impress upon the readers the necessity and passion required as servants of the Lord.  He lives with such regulation and it has brought him to prison.  He knows the cost of a worthy walk, but it is not too high for him to pay.  He beseeches them to not lower their standard, but to walk rightly – to walk worthy.
Are you?

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh….If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”  Galatians 5:16 & 25
The image of walking in the Spirit seems to be different things to different people these days.  Some think it means some sort of spiritual hysteria.  Some think is it a super-pious existence.  But the meaning is simply – live.  Live in the Spirit. If we will live in the Spirit we will have victory over the flesh.
So what in entailed in walking in the Spirit?  It is to live and act under the guidance and influence of the Spirit.  This is the Spirit that will guide us into truth and bring the Word of God to our heart and mind as we face decisions and temptations.  This is the Spirit that will comfort us and join with us in prayer.  This is the Spirit that brings both conviction and confirmation to our souls.
We need not wonder about how this walk would appear.  Just a reading of Galatians 5:13-26 gives us an adequate representation of the walk in the Spirit and the deeds of the flesh.  They are diametrically opposed.
Galatians 5:25 uses both the word live and walk.  The definitions give more clarity.  To walk in this verse means to proceed in a row as the march of a soldier, to go in order.  To live means to breathe, to enjoy real life, to be actively blessed, to have vigor and power.
So it could read – If we draw life, vigor and power from the Spirit, then we should stay in that order.  The fruit of the Spirit should be evident in our walk and the works of the flesh have no place.

Where are you walking?  You can’t walk both places – they are direct opposites.

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