Genesis 17:1 I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless.
The best and surest way to please God and gain a cheerful, quiet heart in the way to heaven is to walk with God in uprightness, through faith in Jesus Christ, and thereby you may live in a heaven upon earth, and may be joyous and comfortable in all states and conditions of life.
Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
That you should walk with God in uprightness is commended to you in the cloud of examples of Enoch (Genesis 5:22-24), Noah (Genesis 6:9), Job (Job 1:1), David (1 Kings 9:4), Zacharias and Elizabeth (Luke 1:5-6), along with many others renowned in Scripture, and was commanded to Abraham, and, in him, to all the faithful (Genesis 17:1).
Walking With God Described
To walk with God and to live by faith are synonymous, and it is to frame your heart and life according to the will of God revealed in His Word. Enoch was said to have walked with God (Genesis 5:24); what was this but to rest and believe on God, whereby he pleased Him (Hebrews 11:5-6)? For we are said to walk in accordance with that in which we live (Colossians 3:7). The moral actions of one's life are fitly resembled by the metaphor of walking, which is a moving from one place to another.
No man, while he lives here, is at home in the place where he shall ultimately be (Hebrews 13:14). There are two contrary homes to which everyone is always going—to either heaven or hell—and every action of man is one pace or step whereby he goes to the one or to the other. The holiness or wickedness of the action is the corresponding way to the place of either happiness or torment. So it is that God's own children, while they live in this world as pilgrims and strangers, are but in the way, not in the country which they seek, which is heavenly (Hebrews 11:3-16).
What is this life of faith and holiness but a going out of one's self and a continual returning to God by Christ Jesus from the way of sin and death, and a constant perseverance in all those acts of obedience which God has ordained to be the way for all His children to walk in, to eternal life (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; Ephesians 2:10)?
A godly life is said to be a walking with God in respect to 4 things that accompany it:
Whereas by sin we are naturally departed from God and gone away from His ways which He has appointed for us (Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:12), yet by the new and living way of Christ's death and resurrection (Hebrews 10:20), and by the new and living work of Christ's Spirit, we are brought near to God and set in the ways of God by repentance from dead works and faith toward God in Christ Jesus—which are the first principles of true religion (Hebrews 6:1) and the first steps to this great duty of walking with God. Now, to believe and to continue in the faith is to walk in Christ and therefore to walk with God (Colossians 2:6-7).
The revealed will of God is called God's way, because in it God, as it were, displays the secrets of His holy Majesty, to show His people their way to Him, and so bring them near to Himself; as the inspired Psalmist speaks: "Righteousness shall go before Him, and shall set us in the way of His steps" (Psalm 85:13, KJV). Now this way of righteousness revealed in the sacred Scriptures is the rule of a godly life—he who walks according to God's law is said to walk before God (cf. 1 Kings 8:25; 2 Chronicles 6:16). He who walks according to God's will in the various changes and conditions of life, keeping himself to this rule, walks with God.
He who lives a godly life walks after the Spirit, not after the flesh. He is led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:1-14), having Him for his guide; wherefore in this respect also he is said to walk with God (Galatians 5:16).
He who walks with God sees God present with him, by the eye of faith, in all his actions, and seriously thinks of Him upon all occasions, remembering Him in his ways (Isaiah 64:5). He sets the Lord always before him, as David did (Psalm 16:8); seeing Him who is invisible, as Moses did (Hebrews 11:27); doing all things, as Paul did, as of God, in the sight of God (2 Corinthians 2:17). He who so walks that he always observes God's presence and keeps Him in his view through the course of his life—and not merely in a general or perfunctory manner, but with actual intention to please and glorify God as much as he can—such a one may be said to walk with God.
Thus you may know when you walk with God:
- When you daily go on to repent of past sins, believe in Jesus Christ for pardon, and believe His word for direction.
- When you walk not according to the will of man, but of God.
- When you walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
- When you set God before you, and walk as in His sight, then you walk with, before, after, and according to God: for all these are understood in one sense.
Walking with God to be Constant and Universal
The commandment to walk with God is indefinite, without limitation, and therefore must be understood to be a walking with Him in all things, and that at all times, in all companies, and in all changes, conditions, and states of your life, whatsoever. To walk with God in general and at large is not sufficient.
You are not dispensed with for any moment of your life. You must pass the whole time of your dwelling here—each day of your life, and each hour of that day, and each minute of that hour—in fear (1 Peter 1:17); even "all the day long," as Solomon says (Proverbs 23:17). You must endeavor to always have a conscience void of offense (Acts 24:16). You must live the rest of your life not to the lusts of men but to the will of God (1 Peter 4:2); taking heed lest at any time "there be in you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God" (Hebrews 3:12).
For this purpose Christ redeemed you from the hands of your enemies, that you might serve Him in holiness and righteousness (which is the same with walking with God) all the days of your life without fear (Luke 1:74-75).
The purpose of the instructions of God's Word (which is the light of your feet in this walking) is that it be bound upon your heart continually to lead, keep, and converse with you at all times (Proverbs 6:21-22).
The lusts of your own heart and your adversary the devil always lie upon any advantage to hinder you in or divert you from this godly course, so that, upon every intermission of your holy care to please God, they take their opportunity to surprise you (1 Peter 5:8).
You are accountable to God for losing and misspending all that precious time wherein you do not walk in His ways (Ephesians 5:16).
Besides, he who has much work to do, or who is on a long journey, or who is running a race for a wager, cannot afford to lose any time. If you be long obstructed in your Christian work and race by sin and sloth, you will hardly recover your loss but with much sorrow, with renewed faith, and with more than ordinary repentance.
For this reason, when you awake in the night or in the morning, while you are employed in the day, and when you go to sleep at night, you must have thoughts on God and set Him always before you, as David did (Psalm 16:8; Acts 2:25). David says, "When I awake, I am still with You" (Psalm 139:18), and in the night he remembered God (Psalm 63:6); his hope and meditation was on God's Word (Psalm 119:147-148). And Isaiah (in the person of all the faithful) says, "With my soul I have desired You in the night, yes, by my spirit within me will I seek You early" (Isaiah 26:9).
Reasons Why Christians Should Walk with God
Consider these arguments to further convince and encourage you to walk with God:
You are commanded to walk as Christ walked (1 John 2:6), and it concerns you so to do, if you would approve yourself to be a member of His body; for it would be monstrous—no, impossible—for the head to go one way and the body another. Our Savior Himself observed all these methods of walking with God—justifying faith and repentance only excepted, because He was without sin.
It is only what the Lord requires of you, for all His love and goodness shown to you in creating, preserving, redeeming, and saving you. For what does the Lord require of you, but "to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8)?
If you walk with God and keep close to Him, you will be sure to go in the right way, in that good old way, which is called the way of holiness, and in a most straight, most sure, and—to a spiritual man—a most pleasant way, the paths of which are peace, and the very happiness and rest of the soul (Jeremiah 6:16; Isaiah 35:8; Proverbs 3:17). God teaches His children to choose this way (Isaiah 48:17; Psalm 85:13; 37:23). And if they happen to err, or to doubt of their way, they shall hear the voice of God's Spirit behind them saying, "This is the way, walk in it" (Isaiah 30:21).
If you walk with God, you shall walk safely (Proverbs 3:24; Psalm 37:24); you will not need to fear, though 10,000 set themselves against you (Psalm 3:5-6); for His presence is with you and for you. His holy angels encamp around you (Psalm 34:7); and while you walk in His ways, they are charged to support you (Psalm 91:11-12), lest you should receive any harm.
When you walk with God (though you be alone, separate from all other society) you still walk with the best company, even such whereof there is most need and best use. While God and you walk together, you have an advantage above all who do not walk with Him, for you have a blessed opportunity of that holy acquaintance with God which is expressed in Job 22:21-30. You have opportunity to speak to Him, praying with assurance of a gracious hearing. Abraham and his faithful servant made use of their walking with God for these purposes (Genesis 24). Is it not a special favor that the Most High God, whose throne is in heaven, should condescend to walk on earth with sinful man—nay, rather to call up man from earth to heaven, to walk with Him (Philippians 3:20; Colossians 3:2)? It would be shameful ingratitude to refuse to accept this offer and to disobey this charge!
To set the Lord always in your sight is an excellent preservative and restraint from sin. With this shield Joseph did repel and quench the fiery darts of the temptations of his designing mistress (Genesis 39:9). For who is so foolish and shameless as willfully to transgress the just laws of a father, king, and judge, knowing that he is present, and observes him with detestation if he so acts?
To set the Lord always before you is an excellent remedy against spiritual sloth and negligence in duties (Psalm 119:168), and it is a sharp spur to quicken and make you diligent and abundant in the work of the Lord. What servant can be slothful and careless in his master's sight? And what master will keep a servant who will not serve and obey him, even in his own sight?
Walking with God in this manner exceedingly pleases God (Hebrews 6:5). It also pleases God's holy angels (1 Corinthians 11:10). It pleases God's faithful ministers (3 John 1:3), and pleases and strengthens all the good people of God (Psalm 119:74), with whom you do converse. It is to walk worthy of God, fully pleasing Him (Colossians 1:9-10).
Thus walking with God, you shall be assured of His mercy and gracious favor. He keeps His covenant and mercy with all His servants who walk before Him with all their hearts (1 Kings 8:23). When you so walk in the light, you have a gracious fellowship with God, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses you from all sin (1 John 1:7). There is no condemnation to you who thus walk (Romans 8:1). When you die, your flesh shall rest in hope. For to them who set God before them, He shows the path of life, which will bring them into His glorious presence, in which there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).
Any one of these motives, seriously thought upon by a humble Christian, is enough to persuade him to this holy walking with God. Nevertheless, it is sad to consider how few there be who walk thus! For most men seek not after God; God is not in all their thoughts (Psalm 10:4). They walk in the vanity of their minds, after their own lusts, and after the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (Ephesians 4:17; 2 Peter 3:3; 1 John 2:16). They walk according to the course of this world, according to the will of Satan, the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2). They refuse to return or to call themselves into question concerning their ways—though God waits and hearkens for it—no, not so much as to say, "What have we done?" (Jeremiah 8:6); but everyone turns to his own course, as the horse rushes into the battle (Jeremiah 8:6).
Now, concerning all that walk thus contrary to God, God has warned that He will set His face against them and punish them seven times, even with many and severe plagues (Leviticus 26:21-28). And if yet they will walk contrary to Him, He will walk contrary to them in fury, and punish them seven times more for their sins. And if yet they will walk in impenitence despite God's offer of mercy to them in Christ, Paul could not speak of such with dry eyes, but peremptorily pronounces that their end is destruction (Philippians 3:18-19).
Weigh well, therefore, these premises. Compare the way in which you walk with God with all other ways; compare this company with all other company; compare the issues and end of this way with the issues and end of all other ways, and the proper choice of your walk will easily and quickly be made.
Adapted and slightly edited from Henry Scudder's The Christian's Daily Walk (Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1984), pp. 21-29.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.