Monday, July 8, 2013

What Does a Faith-Walk Look Like?

That I will die is not something to make me lose sleep at night.  How I will die is another story.

I've seen some loved ones die in more pain than anyone should ever need suffer.  I've watched others shrivel into mere shadows of their former selves before they vanish altogether, an echo in a windstorm. 

Often, those persons simply "exist" for too long in bodies that fail them.  When I look at the expressionless faces or watch the other faces fail to recognize me after all these years we have spent together, I wonder.  Could I tap loudly enough on the glass and beckon them to come to the windows once more? Are they still the same bright spirit as they always were, only trapped inside that crumbling shell of humanity?  And what's more, are they aware of it all?

I can't answer those questions.  Some nights, they haunt me and I pray for God to just take me when it's time.   Yet, I'm not assured He will answer with a 'yes.'

Not knowing the when and the how of our passing from this world into the next makes it all the more important that our daily walk with God be a walk of faithfulness and preparation for whatever God has in store for us.

It's the walk that's important.  In Christianity, the journey is the destination.

Consider the one man whose spiritual walk was so in-step with God that He simply took him.

Before the time of Noah and the flood, Scripture records a horribly boring genealogy from Adam to Noah, at least that is how I viewed it as a teenager.  Yet, in the midst of the begats is a bright note:

"When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away" (Gen. 5:21-24).

Twice in this passage, it says Enoch "walked faithfully."  For 365 years, that is no small feat.

Hebrews' Hall of Faith also mentions Enoch: "By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found,  because God had taken him away.”For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" (Heb. 11:5-6).

Again, the Scripture indicates Enoch's "faith" was what saved him from the experience of death. This passage also indicates that Enoch's faith-walk was rooted in a belief in God...and that his belief pleased God.

Belief.  It's a loaded word in today's culture where most people express a belief in God even if their actions don't match up with that mental belief.

With Enoch, however, his walk and his actions proved his belief.  His walk demonstrated his faith.  In other words, for 365 years, he was a living witness for God.

You've heard the old adage, 'Actions speak louder than words,' and in Enoch's case, that is true.  His actions are what are recorded in Scripture as evidence of his faith, not his words.  He was living salt and light to those in his age.  And that living witness pleased God.

Consider how this applies to us, today.  A modern-day faith-walk with God such as Enoch had requires us to demonstrate our belief in the God of The Bible with our daily actions...all the days of our lives.

It sounds fairly simple, but achieving this is the most difficult task of our lives.  If the Word of God says it and we don't do it, then we are not really believing God. To believe is to act accordingly.  Our believing mind must be followed by believing actions for the faith to be true belief. 

In Psalm 15, David asks who is a citizen of Zion, God's heavenly city.  He concludes the person's walk with God must demonstrate certain attributes:

O Lord, who may abide in Your tent?
Who may dwell on Your holy hill?
  He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness,
And speaks truth in his heart.
  He does not slander with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
  In whose eyes a reprobate is despised,
But who honors those who fear the Lord;...
(v. 1-4) 

To walk with God is to walk with (1) integrity, (2) righteousness in action, and (3) truth spoken with the heart and tongue.  

In short, a walk of faith requires us to be steeped in the truth of God's Word.  It requires us to be a witness to others by hourly, daily, and annually demonstrating our belief in God through our actions. 

Such a walk does not mean that we will drag God to hurry or slow down to match our stride but, instead, that we will seek to make our steps match His as we study His footprints throughout the Word. 

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