Walking with God
Have a look at Genesis 5 and compare Enoch (who walked with God) with everyone else. Here, the Bible is making a distinction between those who just "live", and those who "walk with God". In historical terms, Enoch lived before the church, before Jesus came, before Israel, before the law was given, before the Bible was written, even before the Flood. It is something anyone can do, at any point in history, in any place.
But what does a walk with God look like? According to the Bible, 3 things at least characterise it. :-
Faith, not sight.
"For we walk by faith, not by sight" 2 Corinthians 5:7.Faith is not a leap in the dark. It's what you believe inside, because of what your mind and your heart are telling you. For the Christian, it is believing that God is everything he has revealed himself to be.
A question often asked is: how can I grow in faith? Here are some ideas:
1. Exercise the faith that you have. Start from where you are, not from where you aren't!
2. You only need a bit of faith to get going. The size of a mustard seed.
3. Seize opportunities to grow in faith. (trusting God, believing God, making decisions...)
4. Read the Bible. How does God reveal himself to me in it?
5. Get with people of faith. It's much easier to catch faith than to be taught it.
6. Exercise the gifts God has given you. (Try it! 'Give, and it will be given to you')
7. Get times of quiet, reflection, prayer with God. A notebook can be useful.
8. If you believe God is calling you to do something, well, you know what to do!
In what ways are you walking by faith?
Grace*, not works.
See Galatians 5:4
1. Grace comes first.
In the physical world we have to work in order to get anywhere, to earn a reputation, gain status, etc.. It is performance related.
In the spiritual world it's different. We are not employed by God. We have been adopted into his family! We have received God's grace and it changes us from the inside, so that how I act becomes an expression of who I am, not an attempt to earn something I haven't got.
Here are some traps we keep falling into:
- We work, in order to try and gain something from God. His approval. His blessing. But we forget that we already have these because Jesus secured them through his death on the cross.
- We try to manipulate God (as if we could!) "I've done this for you Lord. So will you do ... for me?
- We try to earn points (which would end up giving us a big negative figure!)
2. High self-effort. I think "I can do it on my own," but this is a form of pride. We forget that who we are, and what we've got, all come from God (see Deut. 8:17,18). Not surprisingly, James 4:6 says that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (Big clue here in discovering how we can experience God's grace!)
3. Low self-esteem.
To think I'm useless and incapable is debilitating. But this also is a form of pride in that I am focussing on myself. Actually, God says that every human is important and valuable. This is why we are told to "be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim 2:1). Does God have enough grace to lift me up? This is equivalent to asking if Rutland Water has enough water to fill my bath!!
In what ways am I depending on God's grace?
The Spirit, not the human nature.
See Romans 8:4
We sometimes feel that there are 2 forces fighting each other inside us, a good one and a bad one. The tendency is to leave them to it. But if we're serious about walking with God, in that jargon, we need to feed the good one, and starve the bad one.
1. If someone rubs you up the wrong way or upsets you, how are you going to react? According to human nature, or according to the Spirit?
2. Is my life so structured, ordered and organised that I have become blinkered and have left no room for the Holy Spirit?
3. Am I suppressing, quenching the Holy Spirit?
4. Am I allowing God to change my character? (the fruit of the Spirit)
5. Am I using my abilities? (and the gifts of the Spirit)
How do I know a thought is from the Holy Spirit or not?
Check the article on "Finding God's will". If all is OK, then why not give your thought a try! Through your experience, you can get to know what is God's voice and what isn't.
Is the Holy Spirit speaking to me or leading me in some way?
* Grace: the free, undeserved, wealth and riches of God.