The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” The Deist says that there is a God, alright, but he is so far removed from this world that he only visits us once in a while. The Pantheist says that everything is God—I am God.
To all of these the child of God answers, “I know there is one true God because I walk with Him.” God’s holy Word, speaking through our consciences, convinces us that we need not try to prove that God is. God is not far removed, even though He is in heaven. He is not an abstraction, He is not somewhere in the distance, but God is near, for we walk with Him.
Walking with God does not mean merely living in God’s presence, for there is no creature that He does not constantly touch and uphold. God’s eyes are always upon His creatures and therefore they live and move continually in his presence. We often tend to practice Deism at one time or another, even though we may not realize it. Our life and conversations may suppose God to be far away. But the fact is that in Him we live and move and have our very being.
Nor does walking with God refer to just an awareness of living in God’s presence. It doesn’t mean that we know we have dealings with God. This everyone knows. “Because when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God.” Even the worst heathens were aware of God. All men are aware of God’s presence, even though “they do not like to retain God in their knowledge.”
Walking with God is an intimate relationship with Him. To realize that God is present is one thing: to have fellowship of love with that God is quite another. Walking with God is the privilege of His children only, whom He leads step by step along the paths of life. The child of God confesses that God surrounds him and has laid His hands upon him. He confesses that God is above him, below him, all around him, that we live and move in Him and are conscious of Him.
But walking with God is something more than this. We read that Enoch walked with God. This seems to imply some kind of unity or agreement between God and us. We and God, after all, are walking in the same direction. This harmony is based on the fact that God’s will is become our will; God’s purpose, our purpose; God’s Word, our Word. God walks in his perfection, in His law, and we must walk with Him there.
We not only know there is a God, but we actually speak to Him. Walking with God we bring Him our joys and sorrows, not as if He were afar off, but nearby. In this intimate relationship we confide our secrets to Him, tell Him things we would not tell others and bring Him matters probably none other would understand. And God answers us. Seeking advice and guidance from Him, He gives it and we receive it in submission.
Although the disciples literally walked with Jesus many times while He was on this earth, they continued to do so in a much more glorious sense when He was taken from them. For the Holy Spirit now brought them God’s presence. Walking with God, therefore, is walking in the Spirit, not in the flesh. The Spirit dwells in our hearts, makes us aware of God’s presence, and God becomes the center of our lives.
God alone makes walking with Him possible. He has chosen His people, and chooses them to walk with Him. It is evident, then, that God cannot have fellowship with darkness and cannot walk with those that are unclean. God’s delight is only with the perfect, with those that walk in harmony with His law.
To walk with God, we must also find God. We cannot accidentally come across Him here or there, for He is not at the disposal of anyone. God must make Himself able to be found by us. He does this through His holy revelation. There and there alone God wills that His people shall find Him. Yet even then we need God to illumine and enlighten our eyes and minds, so that we can consciously come in contact with Him. In this way we learn to know who and what our God is, and about His friendship and love toward us.
This walking with God is now carried on in the midst of this world. Our lives will clearly show that we walk with God. This is part of the putting on of our new man. We understand that walking with God forbids the friendship of the world. “If any man love the world, the love of God is not in him.” How popular it is today to try to be friends of both God and the world! God is jealous of His friendship, however, and does not allow us to walk with both Himself and the world. And we would not, either, for what more could we desire than the friendship of God? We cannot walk with God and also walk where God could not walk. We cannot walk with God and also sit in the scorner’s seat.
Today we can only walk with God in a very small way. While we are still on earth, we are imperfect, and we are often inclined to stumble along the way. Our gift from God of walking with Him now becomes more precious to us as judgment day comes nearer and nearer. We eagerly look forward to the time when we will one day walk with our Lord in complete and beautiful perfection.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 29 No. 10 February 1970