Walking with God, Part III

Walking With God, III

In John’s first epistle we are exhorted to walk in the light of God’s presence and truth, not in the darkness of this fallen world. He states, “If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (I John 1:6-7). Notice that this verse teaches that one is either walking in the darkness or in the light. When we walk in the light it means we are “practicing the truth.” When we walk in the darkness, according to the ways of the world, the flesh, and the Devil, we do not practice the truth and we lie about having fellowship with God. In these verses we learn that walking with God according to His truth provides sweet Christian fellowship and the assurance of God’s forgiveness in Christ. Walking in darkness provides neither. Are you, by God’s grace in Christ, walking in the light?

Over the past couple of weeks, we have been learning some important principles on the subject of walking with God from Jeremiah Burroughs (1599-1646). Let’s complete our brief look at Burroughs’ “Twelve Rules of Direction for Walking with God” from his A Treatise of Earthly Mindedness published posthumously in 1649.

10. Let God’s presence be more to you than all the world. In this point Burroughs encourages the Christian to “do nothing in God’s presence but what you would do in front of all the world.” In other words, God’s presence in our lives should be of more consequence than if every person in the world were watching us. Which is more important, the smile of the world or the smile of God? In order to maintain a strong walk with God we must care more about what God thinks than what the world thinks. “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? … If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10).

11. Go on with a resolution in holy duties though you see nothing come of them for the present. Even though at times we may not think or feel that walking with God according to His Word is yielding blessing and spiritual fruit, we must be resolved to persevere, trusting that God’s way is always right. Burroughs states, “Though I do not have the encouragements I wish, yet I am in God’s way. Let me keep in that way of God.” We must not forsake our holy duties (i.e. Lord’s Day Worship, personal and family devotions, prayer, giving, hospitality, etc.) when we do not feel they are bearing fruit. Rather, let us firmly believe that walking with God will always ultimately yield the blessed fruit of righteousness (Phil. 1:9-11).

12. Make good interpretation of all God’s dealings with you. The last of Burroughs’ “Rules of direction for walking with God” instructs us to “make good interpretation” of our afflictions. Burroughs writes, “Do not conclude that God appears like an enemy to you; that will discourage you in the ways of God. But look on God as intending good to you in everything, and that will help you to keep close to Him in every condition.” He adds, “Do not think, therefore, that God is leaving and forsaking you, but exercise faith. Believe that God intends as much good to you in that way as in any way whatsoever … In times of affliction, when God seems to withdraw Himself by His afflictions, our souls should still follow hard after God. Does God seem to go from us as if He would not walk with us? Run after Him!” May we remember, in the midst of our suffering, God’s promise to us in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

Take some time this Lord’s Day afternoon to think and pray about Burroughs’ last three directions for walking with God. To review all twelve of Burroughs’ “Rules of Direction for Walking with God” go to our church web site under Resources/Doctrine for Life. Christ Church, may our greatest passion, as individuals, families, and as a congregation, be to walk with God faithfully in the light of His life-transforming grace and truth.

- Pastor Jon