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CHRISTIAN LIFE - WALKING WITH GOD Deuteronomy 31:1-8; 1 Peter 7:3-9; 1 John 1:5-10

WALKING WITH GOD

Deuteronomy 31:1-8; 1 Peter 7:3-9; 1 John 1:5-10

How do we walk? The eternal Almighty God declares to you, “Do not be afraid,” for He will go with you. He promised to walk with us, and it is possible to walk with Him, the everlasting God. This means not only to stride forward, but to walk in step with Him. One must move along with measured pace, neither too hasty nor too slow, but conscientiously ever onward, allowing neither people or circumstances to turn us from the way. Such a measured walk with Him can be achieved only when there is an inner stillness, a quiet rest in Him. When disharmony occurs between our souls and the living God, when sin comes between us and Him,, we will no longer be in step with Him. We will either run ahead or fall behind (Amos 3:3).

In other words, the first premise for walking in step with the living God is to have become one with the Holy One through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Only then are we ready to let Him set the pace for our walk through His work and by His will. Many children of God are often up or down in their spiritual lives. For awhile they dash forward with great joy, then they drop back and sulk underneath the "juniper tree" like Elijah did.

Is the Lord unsteady? Is He anxious? Is He powerless? No, never! Scripture says He is a Rock. But many children of God permit the powers of darkness to defeat them. Ephesians 6:12 is truer than ever. We are surrounded and threatened by the powers of darkness. But we never despair, for we are walking with the living God. You don’t have to be dismayed or derailed by the ever-present powers of darkness, spirits of depression, spirits of blasphemy, or spirits of weariness. David, in Psalm 23:4, states that he had no fear because God was with him. We must walk with the Living God as if we are alone with Him in this world. Learn to walk with God as Moses did, as it is written in Hebrews 11:27. We do not see Him, we cannot feel His presence, but we know by our faith that He is there.

Another reason many children of God are unable to actively walk with God is physical. We are all exhausted and overexerted, despite technological inventions that claim to make our lives speedier and more comfortable. Although technical timesaving devices should be freeing up more of our time, we have never felt like we've had less time than in our day. But this physical exhaustion comes from an inner disability, and it is deadly. When we resign ourselves to this inner weariness, we are no longer in step with God, but are lagging behind, having lost fellowship with Him, having seemingly exhausted the stream of grace. Yet He gives daily grace (John 1:16).

Someone who becomes spiritually weary and lazy will neglect that grace, as it is written in Hebrews 12:15. This is Satan’s trap. Many children of God have wearied in their walk, lagged behind, and neglected God's grace through spiritual listlessness. We must then produce devotion and piety, which can no longer be genuine because we have neglected the only fount of strength for this walk with God: the boundless grace of God. We do this for show. The result is a Christian legality without inner truth. This is the result of a bitter and inner need.

What must we do to combat this deadly weariness in our walk with God, when everything in our faith life seem to be in doubt? Isaiah 40:31 tells us
        they will walk and not be faint.
What comes before this? Who is he talking about?
        but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;  they will run and not grow weary.
We will not become weary once we have learned to wait upon the Lord. Waiting upon the Lord means having an intense prayer life. A lack of prayer and spiritual laziness go hand in hand.

The deepest cause of weariness is neglected prayer, unfaithfulness in our prayer lives. As surely as God lives, He stands by His Word and desires to renew our exhausted strength. He longs to see us mount up with wings like eagles; He would rather see us run and not be weary; He desires for us to walk with Him and not faint. But we must want it, too. Again, I say, the culprit is lack of dialogue with God through Bible study and prayer.

We have seen several reasons why so many of God's children do not keep in step with God:
      1) through the intimidation of the powers of darkness,  and
      2) through spiritual weariness.
There is yet a more fundamental cause for falling back.
      3) We trust in our own righteousness, and we want to determine our own way.
But the Jeremiah 10:23 says:
        I know, O LORD, that a man's life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.

Our walk with God must be directed and determined by Him. We must submit to His direction and His way and never direct our own way. We walk as Jesus walked with the Father. But the walk that He walked with the Father is contrary to our will, our nature, and our plans.

Many who desire to follow the Lord have given up an occupation to  better follow and serve Him. But they follow Him as they please, and not as He walked. Peter was such a case. For three years he followed the Lord Jesus, being one of the first to give up his occupation as fisherman to do so. When his self-righteousness collapsed, he resigned and returned to his former occupation. But the Lord called him again, and in John 21:17 finally he confessed:
        Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.

Then, in verse 18, the Lord Jesus spoke to him about his walk. Please note that when the Lord was about to make a profound statement, He prefaced it with the words, “Verily I say unto you” or  "I tell you the truth.”
        I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.

God begins our walk with Him at Calvary.
•    It is there we surrender ourselves.
•    It is there where we die with Christ and begin to abide in Him.
•    It is there where we begin to walk as He walked.
Not until the old person has been crucified with Christ can the new person begin to walk with God. Newness of life begins where the old life ends. Our God cannot accept our old nature of sin. That is why He gave Jesus. That is why God, in Christ, reconciled the world to Himself. At this point, Calvary, where we do not wish to go, is where something entirely new may begin. At the cross our cold, proud, stubborn, unclean selves end. They have been and will be judged with Him (Galatians 2:20; 1 John 2:6).

In great earnestness, I ask you these questions:
•    Have you abided in Christ?
•    Have you been crucified with Him in His death?

I heard of a brother who had suffered dreadful injustice from fellow brethren. His constant prayer was: "Lord, grant that the nails may hold." What he wanted to say was: "Lord, grant that I may not come down from the cross, take things into my own hands and assert myself." Isn't this the victory of the Lamb of God? Though He was Almighty and could have asserted Himself in majesty and power, He remained on the cross! He did so even when they challenged Him, saying,
        If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.
Could He have come down? Of course. The Lamb won the victory! He walked with God to the uttermost. And His walk with God expressed itself in His tireless obedience unto death, the death on the cross. If you desire to walk with God--and this is possible for you--then Calvary is the starting point. Calvary is where our prideful selves come to an end.

There is a great deal of running and laboring in work in the name of God. This bustling about and spirited activity often produces great results. But too many times, God is not in these endeavors because those who are running and laboring are not walking with God or abiding in Jesus. In Phillippians 2:21, the Apostle Paul complained of just such "kingdom of God" laborers.

When we are working for the Lord but not walking with Him, our service is often fruitless. if you hold a position in the church, or if you distribute tracts, ask yourself this question: why am I doing this? Am I serving myself? What is your deepest motive?
•    Peter started to walk with God when another girded him, and he was led where he did not wish to go.
•    Paul walked with God when he could say: "I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me."
Today can be a new beginning for you if you kneel down and say:
        "My God, I want to walk with You. I want to be led even where I would not go. Lead me to Calvary, to the Cross."
You, too, will learn to walk with God in. newness of life in resurrection power to the glory of His Name (1 Peter 4:1-11).

Once again, I reiterate the hindrances to a walk with God:
•    intimidation by the powers of darkness
•    spiritual weariness
•    trust in self-righteousness
•    unwillingness to be crucified with Christ.
This was also the way for the men of God in the Old Testament.

There are three aspects of God's will as stated in Romans 12:2.
     1) It is the good will of God that all should come to the knowledge of the truth and accept His Son, Jesus Christ.
     2) It is the acceptable will of God that all should strive to live lives of holiness.
     3) It is the perfect will of God when we walk with Him in faithfulness and determination.

As taught in Galatians 5:16, we should
        Walk in the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Walking in the Spirit is a great mystery. It means living in freedom from sinful flesh. Whenever we take this step into the light, we have come to Calvary, even as we have already explained that the "I" has been crucified with Christ. We have disavowed ourselves from this self-centered mind. We now serve the Lord in spirit. We walk in the Spirit. We have learned to portray the perfect will of God, in that we no longer walk by human emotional rule, in human enterprises and human will, but by the will of God. This walk in the Spirit results in victory over sin. And we no longer set our goal merely upon the good, or upon the acceptable, but upon the perfect will of God.

This is the need in our Christian churches, for many have received their Christianity from their parents but fail to break through to a personal walk with God. Deliver yourself from your environment. In the Name of Jesus, free yourself from all traditions, from ancestral stipulations, and seek to personally enter in. The Lord is not seeking the masses: He wants the individual. He wants you. The Lord, your God, desires to walk with you. At this very moment, He calls you, as an individual, to a complete surrender. Are you willing to enter at this moment, the perfect will of God, or as we read in Ephesians 5:8,
        For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

THE INVITATION
★    You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned  (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).
★    To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).
★    You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:
         Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed.
      Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on.
      I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf.
      Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.
                     In Your name I pray, Amen.

    Rev. Dr. Nicholas J. Gray, Pastor   Broadway Baptist Church   Sedalia, Missouri   2016