You Can Walk With God
“WILL two walk together unless they have met by appointment?” asked the prophet Amos. (Amos 3:3) But can you make an “appointment” to walk with God?
Yes! For, in fact, God takes the initiative by extending to us the invitation to be his friends. He does not coerce us into such friendship. Rather he draws us to him by his magnificent qualities. Why, creation alone provides abundant testimony to God’s goodness! “His invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship.” (Romans 1:20) Or as the apostle Paul said at Acts 14:17: “He [God] did not leave himself without witness in that he did good, giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts to the full with food and good cheer.”
Men such as Enoch and Noah were therefore eager to accept God’s offer of friendship. They perceived that God was “worthy . . . to receive the glory and the honor.” (Revelation 4:11) So they responded to God’s invitation and approached him in faith. “Without faith it is impossible to please him well,” said Paul, “for he that approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.” (Hebrews 11:6) So by seeking out a relationship with God, you, too, can make an “appointment” with Him. And, said the psalmist, “Happy is the one you [God] choose and cause to approach.”—Psalm 65:4.
Since a friendship with God is made on his terms, one must study his Word, the Bible, in order to find out what is “the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2) “Really, how could I ever [understand Isaiah’s prophecy] unless someone guided me?” asked a sincere seeker of God back in Bible times. And perhaps you feel the same way. However, God saw to it that a disciple named Philip approached this man and explained the prophecy. (Acts 8:30-35) Does God show any less interest in sincere seekers of him today? Why, the mere fact that you are reading this Bible-based journal demonstrates God’s interest in you! Would it not be wise to allow those from whom you obtained this journal to help you to learn even more about God?
Seeing the Invisible One
As you grow in your knowledge of God, he will become more and more real to you. You will soon appreciate that he is not some nameless bundle of energy but rather a Person with a name! Says the Bible at Psalm 83:18: “That people may know that you, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.” As a Person, Jehovah has qualities, likes and dislikes—even feelings!—Compare Exodus 34:6, 7; Psalm 78:40.
God also has righteous standards. For example, Proverbs 3:32 says: “The devious person is a detestable thing to Jehovah, but His intimacy is with the upright ones.” Joseph was one of the “upright ones.” The Bible tells of how the wife of his Egyptian master, Potiphar, repeatedly pleaded with Joseph to have immoral relations with her. Yet he refused, saying, “How could I commit this great badness and actually sin against God?”—Genesis 39:9.
Jehovah was real to Joseph. He had a healthy fear of Him and acted as though he was in His literal presence. Joseph was like the psalmist who said: “I have placed Jehovah in front of me constantly. Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be made to totter.” (Psalm 16:8; compare Proverbs 3:5, 6) Moses had similar faith. He “continued steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible.”—Hebrews 11:27.
Walking with God, therefore, means more than taking in knowledge. It means adopting a way of life that harmonizes with God’s revealed will and purpose! As the apostle Paul put it: “Therefore, whether you are eating or drinking or doing anything else, do all things for God’s glory.”—1 Corinthians 10:31.
Walking With God—Its Benefits
“For all its economy of muscle and energy,” wrote Sussman and Goode in their book The Magic of Walking, “walking is endorsed by medical and health authorities for an astonishing variety of benefits.” Among the claimed benefits are weight control, better sleep, release of tension, and prevention of heart disorders. If such is true of physical walking, we can expect that walking with God is even more advantageous.
Do not expect, however, some profound emotional experience. But as you “draw close to God” by praying and acting in faith, you will enjoy “the peace of God that excels all thought.” (James 4:8; Philippians 4:6, 7) One woman, for example, used to engage in heavy drinking and drug use because of constant depression. She also experimented with a number of sects of Christendom. But then she began studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Said she: “While nothing else I tried could relieve my depression, understanding Jehovah’s purposes gave me a real purpose in living.” Yes, as a person begins walking with God, he is led in a path that is sure to bring him spiritual and emotional benefits.—Compare Isaiah 30:21.
Another benefit was pointed out by a discerning woman named Abigail. She told King David: “When man rises up to pursue you and look for your soul, the soul of my lord will certainly prove to be wrapped up in the bag of life with Jehovah your God.” Imagine that! When threatened by his enemies, David’s life would be under Jehovah’s protective custody as if it were a precious object carefully wrapped up for safekeeping. Although this does not necessarily imply that physical protection will always be given God’s servants, He is sure to protect the eternal interests of those who walk with him today!—1 Samuel 25:29; compare Psalm 116:15.
This, though, does not mean that you will be exempt from problems common to mankind, as if Christians lead some sort of charmed life. Solomon observed that “time and unforeseen occurrence befall” all mankind. (Ecclesiastes 9:11) The apostle Paul, for example, suffered from “a thorn in the flesh,” possibly some sort of physical infirmity. (2 Corinthians 12:7; Galatians 4:13-15) His companion Timothy likewise suffered from “frequent cases of sickness.” (1 Timothy 5:23) Similarly, Christians today have their share of illnesses and even occasional feelings of discouragement or depression.
Further, Jehovah God at times permits momentary trials so as to refine us, as he did when allowing Joseph to be imprisoned. (Psalm 105:17-19) Some may suffer a premature death at the hands of violent persecutors as did Stephen. (Acts 7:57-60) But never should God’s friends feel abandoned. (Compare 2 Corinthians 4:8, 9.) “For God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name.” (Hebrews 6:10) Said one Christian woman who was sustained through years of unjust imprisonment: “I am deeply convinced that none of those who zealously endure in Jehovah’s service will experience disappointment. With my whole heart I have trusted Jehovah and his assuring words, ‘I will by no means leave you nor by any means forsake you.’”—Hebrews 13:5.
Help in Keeping Up Our Fight
Keeping such a faithful course is not easy. Satan and his wicked spirit forces are intent on entrapping us. (Ephesians 6:12) Then there is the present wicked system of things with its attractive lures. A Christian in the first century named Demas was sidetracked because “he loved the present system of things.” (2 Timothy 4:10) Finally, there is our own sinful flesh with its inclination toward evil. (Romans 7:21-23) A constant fight against these influences is needed if we are to continue walking with God.
God, though, has made three powerful instruments available to help us: (1) His Word, the Bible, which provides needed guidance. (Psalm 119:105) (2) His visible organization, the Christian congregation, which is carrying out God’s spiritual feeding program. (Matthew 24:45-47; Ephesians 4:11-16) The Watch Tower Society, the publisher of this magazine, is closely associated with that organization. (3) His holy spirit, which we receive through prayer, study of the Scriptures, and association with his people. It would be a serious mistake to neglect any one of these provisions. The prophet Micah exhorts us, “Be modest in walking with your God.” (Micah 6:8) That means recognizing our limitations and being totally dependent upon God.
Indeed, our walking with God can be compared to a little girl who is walking with her father during a powerful storm. If she were to let go of his hand or decide to go her own way, she would soon get lost. But if she holds on tightly, she can walk safely and confidently with her father. We, too, must take care to submit to God’s direction as given through his Word and organization. Independence can only get us hopelessly lost. By modestly walking with God, however, we can be led safely through the oncoming storm of Armageddon and survive into a promised new order. There, death and pain will be things of the past. (Revelation 16:16; 21:3, 4; 2 Peter 3:13) Will you, therefore, accept God’s gracious invitation to walk with him?
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God’s Word, spirit, and organization can help us to continue faithfully ‘walking with God’