I have already put up two posts relating to walking with God. Can I suggest that if you cannot remember them that you go take another look? As we approach Jesus’ second coming, we need to be walking with God or we will not be an overcomer and part of His Millennial Kingdom.
1. Cultivating God’s Presence: It focuses on what Jesus has done to enable us to walk with God. It also looks at Enoch’s walk with God and what that teaches us. Finally, Matthew’s Gospel links our eternal destiny with the way we live now. It is why this website is called Living Eternal Now.
2. Getting in Step with God: It teaches that in just about all situations God takes the initiative. Hence, it is important for us to learn how to identify what that is in every situation, and to get in step with Him.
This post will look at the challenge that God’s will is not always easy to embrace. Fortunately, the O.T. prophets and Jesus’ disciples were good examples for us. They show us that walking with God requires us to have the single-mindedness of an athlete, one determined to train hard and to perform well on the day. The temptation to relax or give up is a constant.
For example, Abraham’s family set out from Ur, under the leadership of Terah, Abraham’s father. The biblical record shows us that they quickly got waylaid. Once they arrived in Haran they became settlers. It was only when Teruah died and Abraham got a fresh call from God that he resumed their journey (Genesis 11:31-12:3). It is not always easy to continue our journey and we tend to seek the familiar rather than embrace the vulnerability that walking with God entails. Jeremiah 12 recounts a story where the prophet is fed up with finding himself in yet another vulnerable situation. He had already been through the mill and he had had enough. His complaints to God are seen as evidence of his being a glass half-empty-person. But, who would not complain when he found himself imprisoned and not feel peeved in such circumstances? God’s initial call to Jeremiah seemed to imply that he would experience continual deliverance coupled with being given great authority in speaking to those in power (Jeremiah 1:8-10). Moreover, God’s response to Jeremiah’s prayer of complaint might seem lacking in sympathy to us. Jeremiah is told to toughen up because he would find himself in even more vulnerable situations in the future: ‘If you have raced men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses?’ (Jeremiah 12:5). Jeremiah was called to walk with God and embrace the journey, whatever the circumstances, and wherever his pilgrimage might lead, as indeed are we.
The prophets of Israel needed to exhibit greater than average stability or they would not have survived their calling for any longer than a month or so if that. They demonstrated exceptional perseverance in circumstances that must have created a huge sense of personal threat. Most of us would have looked for a way out of the call, as in the case of Jonah. However, God gave all of them the end of the story. They all saw their Messiah ruling and reigning the nations from a magnificent Jerusalem. I am sure this was in large part why they persevered.
For most of us on our faith journey, we really do feel vulnerable and our faith is usually a mixture of active trust and insecurity. Our memory of the past, the story of how God turned up the last time we trusted him, can sometimes help, but a previous positive experience doesn’t always make things easier the next time around. We need the stories of men and women of faith in the Bible to inspire us; we need to look to the example of Jesus, who looked to the joy set before him at the end of the journey.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder, and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
Attachment to material possessions can often be a stumbling block, acting as a distraction to the main thing, which is knowing and following God. We are given the example of the early church where believers shared their possessions.
“And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.” Acts 2:45
Their heightened awareness of the presence of God following Pentecost appears to have freed these early disciples from having to find security in their possessions. An unprecedented outpouring of generosity is a sign of – and the result of – the presence of the Holy Spirit. Generosity is also the natural response to the realization that God’s gifts to us are wholly unmerited. The fact that we are recipients of God’s generosity can also enable us to love ourselves more. After all, if God is so outrageously kind to us, if he welcomes us with open arms, perhaps it is true that we are loved extravagantly.
One way to express generosity is to practice regular financial giving. A rule can include the decision to give away a certain proportion of income to specific causes, individuals, or organizations. Having a rule actually simplifies our lives, saving us from constantly having to make decisions about where and how much to give. Of course, regular giving as part of a rule does not preclude additional giving to other causes.
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:7-8
Also utilizing the gifts of the Holy Spirit will draw us closer to God in our walk with Him:
“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” Romans 12:6-8
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2
It will be extremely important as we come closer to the prophesied last seven years prior to Jesus’ second coming when persecution of Christians will escalate that we draw closer to God and our every step is guided by the Holy Spirit.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:9-13
Keep in mind that what you will be doing, and the role Jesus assigns to you in His coming Millennial Kingdom will depend upon how you live your life now. You need to be living eternal now.