In the natural, walking means physically moving from one place to another using our feet while figuratively, in the spiritual sense, it refers to our 'journeying' with the Lord. It should be one of fellowship and harmony as we endeavour to live a life pleasing to Him, "walking humbly with our God...keeping in step with the Spirit" (Amos 3:3; Mic 6:8; Gal 5:25). Jesus, through the indwelling Holy Spirit is always with us – we must become increasingly aware of His presence with us and sesnsitive to His voice (Jn 10:27; 1 Cor 6:19; Heb 13:5). This connection to the source of divine life will be evident to those around us for it will impact on our lifestyle and the choices we make (Act 4:13).
The term ‘walk’ signifies a slower ‘in-it-for-the-long-haul’ approach, rather than an impressive, short-lived sprint whose pace can’t be maintained; the distance traveled is more important than the speed. So while we should be ‘all-out’ for Jesus, we must pace ourselves and establish a robust foundation on the Word of God – which will protect from burnout, deception and instability – as many start following Christ yet when testing comes, some fall away (Mt 7:24-27, 13:5,6,18-23; Act 17:11; 1 Cor 3:10-15; 2 Tim 3:16,17). The continual progression into righteousness by submitting to the Lordship of Christ receives God’s approval, not just a one-time commitment at the start on the Christian pathway. What Christ accomplished for us on the cross and its application in our lives must always be prominent in our minds, for our whole life is only possible because of His amazing grace.
The mind is the biggest battlefield, where spiritual battles are won and lost. The Bible teaches we will be transformed as our minds are made new (Rom 12:2). It is our responsibility to be on guard fulltime. Hence, we should always have on the spiritual armour so we are protected from the enemies attacks as he is always on the prowl (Eph 6:11-18; 1 Pet 5:8).
Beginning the journey:
This starts by repenting (the recognizing and turning from sin), believing in Christ as the only way of salvation from the penalty of sin followed by receiving Him as Lord and Saviour – this is called the salvation experience whereby we enter the family of God (Mk 1:15; Jn 1:12; Rom 6:23, 10:9,10). This is not just a token acknowledgment, but a change of heart that increasingly relects the radical transformation of coming into the Kingdom of God (2 Cor 5:17; Col 1:13).
We determine the level of connectedness with Him
to press into more – is imperative (Ps 119:9,11; Jn 17:3; Phil 3:12-18; Col 2:6; Jas 1:22-25; 1 Pet 2:9). It is recorded that Enoch, Noah and Abraham “walked with God”, inferring a special intimacy. While all Christians have a relationship with Christ, not all have close fellowship with Him, for we choose how close we get to Him (Gen 5:22,24, 6:9, 24:40). The influence of our friends and other sources of input into our lives will also help or hinder our spiritual walk (Prov 2:13, 4:14, 6:28; 2 Cor 6:16). Do I have those who challenge, encourage and inspire me, as I also do this to others?
Becoming a Christian results in a totally new and different lifestyle, affecting every aspect of our lives – spirit, soul, body (Rom 6:4; Eph 5:8; 1 Thes 2:12). It involves putting off the old self-nature and putting on the new image of Christ – not just in actions and words but also thoughts, desires and attitudes (Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:5-12). Am I actively putting to death the old sinful life and putting on the new godly qualities? Make right choices and be self-disciplined, to “Say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and live self-controlled, upright and godly lives” (Tit 2:12). We have a new master to obey, a new purpose to live for and a new motivation – His glory – thus there should be a marked contrast between our former lifestyle of living and walking in the flesh, before salvation, to now walking in the Spirit, with the corresponding fruit evident (Lk 6:44; Rom 6:16, 8:4; 1 Cor 10:31; Gal 5:16-24). Either sin or God will die out in my life – they are incompatible. However when you fall, repent and get back on the path (1 Jn 1:9).
Aspects of the Christian walk to consider:
1/. A Christian is to ‘walk worthy of their calling’, pleasing God by obeying His commands as opposed to the ungodly whose conduct is not consistent with the nature of God (Jn 15:10; Eph 4:1; Col 1:10; 1 Thes 2:12, 4:1; 1 Pet 4:3; 2 Jn 1:6). It is God’s desire we know His ways and presence, which is the consequence of walking in His truth. We are urged to choose life, and so position ourselves for His blessing by walking steadfastly in obedience to Him (Deut 5:33, 10:12, 30:19; Josh 22:5; 2 Chr 27:6; Ps 1:1-6, 50:23, 81:13, 84:11, 86:11, 119:1-5; Jer 7:23, 16:10-13, 32:23, 44:23; Ezek 16:47; 3 Jn 1:3,4). There will be progressive guidance and unfolding of the knowledge, workings and character of Jesus in your life as you journey with Him to maturity. “I being on the way, the Lord led me,” indicates active participation in already doing what has been shown (Gen 24:27). It is living up to what we have already attained but continuing to deepen our relationship with God, live a Godly lifestyle according to His principles, discover our calling, develop our gifts and demonstrate our faith as we live in the light (Phil 1:27, 3:16; 1 Jn 1:6,7, 2:10).
2/. Our walk should be characterised by a reverential fear of God that keeps us from sin, as we live in fellowship and harmony with Him, reflecting His holy character and obeying Him (Gen 6:9; Ex 20:20; Deut 10:12,13; Micah 6:8). From that secure position we can reach out to a lost world, letting our good works shine like lights, loving the sinner but not their sin, nor being influenced by and embracing their destructive lifestyle (Ps 1:1; Prov 2:12-15,20; Jer 13:10, 16:12; Mt 5:13-16; Mk 12:30,31; Eph 2:10, 5:2,15,16; Col 4:3-6).
3/. God must always be top priority in our lives, for anything else would be an idol that would lead us astray (Ex 20:3-6; Mt 6:33). He is the one we are to love with our whole being – this will be outworked in lifestyle and obedience as we “Walk in step with the Spirit” (Mk 12:30; Gal 5:16,22-25; Eph 5:15; Col 2:6). With the Holy Spirit’s help, we must endeavour to live in obedience to God, as Jesus did, by serving others (Mk 16:15-18; Jn 5:19, 15:14; Act 10:38; Jas 2:15-17; 1 Pet 2:22; 1 Jn 2:6, 3:17). He will guide and teach us His ways if we diligently and humbly seek Him (Isa 2:3,5, 30:21; Jer 29:13; Heb 11:6).
4/. While on earth we each have a unique role to fulfill in the Kingdom of God with His individually designed training and refining process resulting in our ‘one-off’ testimony of His grace and leading. The godly character we allow Him to develop in us is more important than what He does through us, so our responsibility is inward (personal) before any major ministry to others (Lk 6:42). Am I committed to His unique training plan for me? What areas of my Christian walk need my full attention?
5/. Allow the Word of God (Scripture) to form the foundation for it will set the direction of your life. Protect your spiritual ‘heart’ above all else as this, in turn, influences your mind, from which flows words and actions (Prov 4:23; Mt 15:19; Rom 12:2; Eph 4:17,23). Do I actively challenge all thoughts – accepting the true, God-honouring ones while rejecting those that are impure and not glorifying to God (2 Cor 10:5; Phil 4:8)? Like the birth of a baby, so it is in the realm of our thoughts – what is conceived will be born unless there is self-discipline or intervention in some form that radically deals with the issue.
Ruthlessly address what we have done wrong
that privilege (Jn 10:29; 2 Pet 1:10). Being aware of Satan’s schemes and resisting him is a part of our spiritual warfare, for he knows our vulnerability to sin and selfishness, tempting us in the areas of sex, pride, money, or getting us so busy doing the urgent that we neglect the important (2 Cor 2:11; Jas 4:7). There will be times of victory and defeat, advance and setback, progress and relapse but when you sin, humbly repent, and move on. To go on with God it is essential to walk in humility, cleaness of lifestyle and obedience.
7/. Until the day we die there will be tests, trials and temptations to challenge our resolve to faithfully follow the Master, along with an ongoing struggle to put to death self-determination by obeying the Spirit, yet we are secure in His love and promise never to leave us (Ps 23:4; Rom 8:35-39; Heb 13:5). Regularly consider the path of your feet so you do not give the enemy an opportunity or legitimate reason to condemn you because of a sinful lifestyle; instead live according to the leading and conviction of the Holy Spirit (Prov 4:26; Rom 6:4-14, 8:1,4,29 13:12-14; Gal 5:7; Eph 4:27; Col 2:6). When under pressure do not reduce your commitment to Him, instead push closer into Him. We will be discouraged and disappointed, maybe even ready to give up, yet it is only those who continue to the end that will be saved (Mt 10:22, 24:13; Heb 10:39). Maturity is developed in the hard times, so we must continually walk with Him in integrity and forgiveness, allowing His light and truth to guide (Jn 8:12, 11:9; 1 Jn 1:6-8).
8/. Even when you don’t understand why your faith is tried and you get a ‘no’ to your prayers, keep a right attitude looking beyond the present pain to the long term gain (1 Sam 2:7; Job 1:21, 2:10; 2 Cor 12:7-10; 1 Tim 6:7; Heb 12:2; 1 Pet 1:6,7, 4:12). Will I continue to follow Him regardless of what happens? We need to be fully submitted to God’s sovereignty over us – His right to do what He wants, when, where and how without asking our permission! A consistent, godly pilgrimage will result in receiving the “Well done good and faithful servant” commendation from the Lord (Mt 25:21).
Illustrations and imagery of the Christian life:
Though walking is the primary biblical image for the Christian life, others are also used. It is also a journey as depicted in John Bunyan’s famous allegory of The Pilgrim’s Progress. Paul also described it as a race – a marathon not a sprint – for which people need perseverance as well as training (1 Cor 9:24-27; Heb 12:1).
Christ is our example or role model for life on earth. We should be motivated as Jesus was – He “came not to be served, but to…seek and save the lost”, and said to His Father, “Not my will, but yours be done” (Mk 10:45; Lk 19:10, 22:42).
If we claim to live in Him, we must walk as Jesus did – 1 John 2:6
The Lordship of Christ is a term often used to express the true nature of the Christian walk. As Lord He is the ultimate decision maker and we are His obedient servants who “no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them” (2 Cor 5:15).
Practising the new lifestyle
These aspects of living in Christ should be increasingly evident in our lives:
1/. Endeavour to live by the two commands Jesus gave, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength…Love your neighbour as yourself” (Mk 12:30,31).
2/. Forgiveness, right attitudes, pure thoughts, wholesome speech and good works should characterise our lives besides an ongoing obligation to live a life of love by encouraging others and doing to them as we would they do to us (Lk 6:31; Rom 13:8; Heb 3:13; Jas 1:26).
3/. Focus on who you are in Christ, “Letting the Word of God live in you richly” (Col 3:16). Spend time each day in prayer and Bible reading, being like David who said, “Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice” (Ps 5:3, 88:13). Be closely controlled by spiritual disciplines, especially guarding the heart and the renewing of your mind by thinking about whatever is wholesome (Prov 4:23; Rom 12:1,2; Phil 4:8).
4/. Daily release your hurts and frustrations to Him who daily bears our burdens (Ps 68:19). “Bless those who curse [and hassle or annoy] you, pray for those who ill-treat you” (Lk 6:28; 1 Pet 3:9).
5/. The Bible challenges us to “Consider the path of your feet” (Prov 4:26). Regularly do a spiritual self-checkup, asking questions such as: Whom am I walking through life with? Are they beneficial companions or those who will drag me away from the source of life (Ps 1:1)? What do I do in my spare time? What is the type of TV programs I watch? Where do my thoughts wander?
As a ‘new creation’ obey and walk with God
6/. Through accountability, allow people to speak into your life and look for opportunities to be a special blessing to someone every day.
7/. When problems arise don’t think God has deserted you, so although each day will present its own challenges, endeavour to make each one a victory day through Christ. Commit your way to Him, be ‘God conscious’ throughout it, humbly acknowledging, ‘You are the potter, I am the clay; You are the Master, I am your servant, help make my life count for your Kingdom’ (Ps 37:5; Prov 3:5,6; Isa 64:8).
8/. Endeavour to have this testimony, "I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken" (Ps 16:8). Cultivate an awareness of God's presence in spite of the circumstances of life.
The choices we make in life determine what life makes of us, so as a general rule do what is the most loving thing for others, doing what we believe Jesus would have done – what is for their best and most honouring to God. We have a responsibility to all people, especially our fellow believers, not to cause them to stumble but to live as we believe Jesus would have. He went about doing good, focused on others and was convinced that such labour is not in vain (Mt 18:6; Act 10:38; Rom 14:20, 15:2,3; 1 Cor 8:9-13, 15:58).
Be wise stewards of the resources and abilities given you because we will give account to God for how we have lived our lives (Deut 8:18; Mt 12:36; Rom 14:12; Heb 4:13; 1 Pet 2:23, 4:5). Declare over your life the purposes and power of God and claim your inheritance in Christ.
Pray for sensitive ears to hear His voice, a soft pliable heart that is responsive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and a willingness to obey rather than trying to live life our way with the consequence of missing out as Saul, Judas, Ananias and Sapphira amongst others did (1 Sam 15:22,23; Mt 26:14-16, 27:3-5; Act 5:1-11).
Rejoice and be confident all things work together for our good when we have joined ourselves to Christ. Nothing can touch us outside His
will (Act 14:22; Rom 5:3-5, 8:28; Col 3:3). Live in victory, coming into wholeness and the inheritance that Christ purchased for us on the
cross (1 Jn 3:8).
Keep away from the enemies fire, so you are not burned
Working together in unity is good and essential, yet not at the expense of compromising on the basics of the faith (Ps 133:1-3).
By relating to others and sharing our experiences, we can learn the good points to adopt and the faults to avoid. Associate with those who are like-minded and will spur us on to good works while being prepared to receive challenges when necessary.
Rather than comparing ourselves to others, we should examine how we measure up against God’s standards and rather than focusing on our lack concentrate on His promises and provision (Lam 3:40; Lk 6:42; 2 Cor 10:12, 13:5; Phil 4:13).
Parents and leaders have the responsibility to show those in their care, “This is the way, walk it” (Ex 18:20; Deut 4:9, 6:6-9, 11:2,19; Prov 22:6; Mt 7:13,14; 1 Cor 15:3; 2 Tim 3:14,15). The Bible is clear, “Walk in all the ways that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper…This is the way, walk in it…Don’t walk the way of evil men…in the futility of their thinking” (Deut 5:33; Prov 4:14; Isa 30:21; Eph 4:17).
Ensure whatever you do is done to the best of your ability (Eph 6:7; Col 3:17,23). He gave His all – can we give any less? We must be prepared to give up everything to obtain what is of infinite eternal worth. Christ’s invitation is to come and die to ourselves, so we may truly live (Mt 13:44-46; Lk 9:23; Jn 10:10; Gal 2:20). Am I prepared to pay the price of finding real life?
‘All day, every day’ Christianity:
We live and walk by faith, not necessarily by the indicators of our natural senses (2 Cor 5:7). People want to see the difference our Christianity makes to everyday life – they are not interested in our Sunday mask of piousness. We need a holistic approach with no separation between the sacred and secular, seeing society as the mission field that needs a valid demonstration of the power of God, and being involved in bringing about a transformation. We are to seek first the Kingdom of God, rather than be a ‘separated out’ community of believers playing church. Thus, the institutionalised church should have a supportive servant role, not being the central focus of our time and effort, but rather where we regroup, are re-inspired and again sent out to fulfill the words of Jesus, “Go into the entire world and make disciples...” (Mt 28:19,20).
See also: attitude, armour (spiritual), choice, Christianity, connection, cross, dealings of God, devotions, discipline, good works, lifestyle, Lordship, past, path, put off/put on, relationship, responsibility, salvation, self-control, spiritual disciplines, temptation, test/testing, thinking/thoughts, time with God, trials, victory, way, wilderness wanderings.