Belief in God—Is It Enough?
“DO YOU believe in God or a universal spirit?” asked famous pollster George Gallup, Jr. Perhaps to the surprise of some, 95 percent of both the adults (over 30 years of age) and the teenagers polled said yes! But to what extent does belief translate into action? Apparently very little. For Mr. Gallup reported that when some young adults were asked, “To what degree do your religious beliefs affect your daily thinking or acting,” a mere 26 percent said, “a great deal.”*—The Search for America’s Faith, by George Gallup, Jr., and David Poling.
Obviously, then, mere belief in God is not enough. Wrote the disciple James: “You believe there is one God, do you? You are doing quite well. And yet the demons believe and shudder. . . . Faith apart from works is inactive.” (James 2:19, 20) On the other hand, the Bible tells of individuals who went beyond mere belief. Enoch, for example, “kept walking with the true God.” (Genesis 5:24) The relationship between Enoch and his God thus became so close that it was as if they walked together! But why was Enoch favored with this unique relationship? For one thing, though he lived in the midst of a degenerate religious atmosphere where shocking “ungodly deeds” were commonplace, Enoch followed a righteous way of life. With courage and frankness he exposed the evil ways of his contemporaries, prophesying: “Look! Jehovah came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment against all, and to convict all the ungodly concerning all their ungodly deeds that they did in an ungodly way, and concerning all the shocking things that ungodly sinners spoke against him.”—Jude 14, 15.
Walking with God put Enoch in grave danger. His enemies apparently schemed to assassinate him and end his irritating prophesying. The God with whom he walked, however, intervened. Says the Bible: “By faith Enoch was transferred so as not to see death, and he was nowhere to be found because God had transferred him.” Yes, “God took him” in death, apparently sparing him a violent death at the hands of his enemies.—Hebrews 11:5, 13; Genesis 5:24; compare John 3:13.
Noah was another man who “walked with the true God.” Like Enoch, “Noah was a righteous man. He proved himself faultless among his contemporaries.” (Genesis 6:9) And this in spite of the fact that in his day loose conduct was prevalent and violence ran rampant. Noah, though, displayed godly fear and stood out as “a preacher of righteousness.” God therefore preserved him and his family when he brought a deluge upon that ancient world!—2 Peter 2:5; Hebrews 11:7; Genesis 6:5, 11.
Does God still extend the invitation to walk with him? Yes indeed! The apostle Paul said that God “is not far off from each one of us,” if we but “grope for him and really find him.” (Acts 17:27) But how can we do this? And what does walking with God really entail?
Thirty-nine percent said “some,” 14 percent said “hardly any,” and 12 percent said “not at all.”