Exercise daily. Walk with God. So says a bumper sticker. It’s good advice that’s not always easy to follow. How do we walk with God? Is it a daily devotional or regular church attendance? Is it refraining from cursing or volunteering at the soup kitchen?
Any of these things may involve walking with God, but not necessarily. The habits of our faith help us to walk with God but they cannot guarantee that we are walking with Him.
When we are really walking with God, certain character traits start to show up in our lives. These traits can help us recognize that we are walking with God.
- A sense of inner peace. As Paul says in Philippians, “The peace of God that transcends understanding will guard your hearts in Christ Jesus.” This is the meaning of the words of the classic hymn, “whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, ‘it is well, it is well with my soul.’”
- Doing what is right. The Spirit convicts us of sin and leads us to live according to God’s will. A person who continues to treat others wrongly or ignore the right way to live is not walking with God.
- Looking for opportunities for serve others in need. “Practice hospitality,” Paul says in Romans 12:13. When we are walking with God, we will exhibit God’s heart for those who are in need.
- Joy in the scriptures and the things of God. We probably all know people who seem to have an immature and irrational obsession with church and religion. A mature Christian will not ignore life’s responsibilities and use church or Bible study as an excuse. But it is definitely a sign of a faithful walk with God when you love studying the Bible and seeking the deep things of God.
- A decreased sense of the fear of death. As we walk with God, we feel a greater certainty about the reality of eternal life. Death is not an end or even an uncertainty. Death is the beginning of our eternity in God’s presence.
You may be thinking as you read this that these traits sound like the life of a saint. Yes they do. They represent a life lived in a deep, mature walk with God. Almost every Christian will see peaks and valleys in his or her sense of these traits. Most of us will not live with a constant sense of inner peace or a desire to serve others, but that is because we still live between the worlds of the flesh and the spirit. As we see these signs in our lives, we can rejoice at the work God is doing to give us the faith to walk in His presence.
And the good news is that God always wants to walk with us and help us grow in our walk with Him. When we fail, when we ignore Him, when we let our troubles turn us away, He does not leave us. God is still waiting and constantly making His help available so that we can walk with Him when we are willing.
Love in Christ,
Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church Siler City, NC