While striding the sand of a local beach with my Westy terrier I got to thinking about the benefits of walking. I had read recently that brisk walking in one’s early and middle years laid a basis for better health in later life. I had always preferred to power walk throughout my long, and thankfully still healthy, life. Then I recalled another piece of scientific research I had heard on the radio a night or so before, that faster walking prolonged one’s life expectancy, and: ‘In theory, if we could walk fast enough, the Grim Reaper would never catch us up. Except,’ concluded the broadcaster, ‘no one has ever yet done so.’ But as my pet trotted devotedly at my heels, I suddenly remembered one godly man who
had done just that: ‘Enoch walked with God’ (Genesis 5:24).
‘By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God’ (Hebrews 11:5).
Excitedly I began to talk with the Lord about it – just as I have often done along that shore, like the first disciples by the Sea of Galilee, I was literally walking with the Lord. And on returning home I began looking through my concordance for references to this exercise and came up with several clear features of walking with God – which for the Christian means, because of Jesus’ resurrection, walking in newness of life (Romans 6:4) and, because of Pentecost, walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16).
Scriptural diagnosis of a healthy walk with God
- Integrity: ‘walk properly’ (Romans 13:13-14), ‘make no provision for the flesh.’
- Clarity: ‘walk in the light’ (1 John 1:7) – not your light or mine but ‘as he [God] is in the light’ – ‘then we have fellowship with one another’ (New Living Translation).
- Reality: ‘walking in the truth’ (2 John 4) – aletheia is Greek for reality.
- Humility: ‘walk humbly with your God’ (Micah 6:8).
- Fidelity: ‘walk by faith’ (2 Corinthians 5:7) – pistis in some contexts can mean faithfulness.
- Charity: ‘good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them’ (Ephesians 2:10).
- Jealousy: ‘walk in love’ (Romans 14:15; Ephesians 5:2) – God’s very name is Jealous (see Exodus 34:14; compare 2 Corinthians 11:2).
- Sensibility: that is, discernment; ‘walk in wisdom towards outsiders, making the best use of the time’ (Colossians 4:5).
Incidentally, in many of those verses the New International Version and Today’s Living Translation paraphrase ‘walk’ very acceptably as ‘live’.
After walking with God like that, one day God must have said: ‘Come home with me, Enoch; it’s nearer my place than yours.’