When I think about walking with God and what that entails, it occurred to me that it is possible to get so caught up trying to do everything right that we miss out on the joys that come with the walk. If we are not careful, we end up trying to work our way into the kingdom. The apostle Paul cautioned the early Ephesian church about the same thing as he reminded them: “For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]” (Ephesians 2:8-9, AMP). We are saved by grace through faith alone and not as a result of our works.
Of course, that does not mean that what we do is not important. Jesus’ instructions were clear: “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). The Message Bible puts verses 14-16 this way, “You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
While we are shining and attracting others to Jesus, we should enjoy walking with Him. Yes, it is not wrong for Christians to enjoy their time with the Lord! In Psalm 16:11 the psalmist writes, “In Your presence is fullness of joy” (AMP). Hymnist Paul Brandt probably had the same thought in mind as he penned the words, “He speaks and the sound of His voice / Is so sweet the birds hush their singing / And the melody that He gave to me / Within my heart is ringing.” It is like walking with someone special and taking the time to not only appreciate the experience but also the person. No matter where our paths take us, the company makes all the difference in the world as we walk, laugh, and talk with each other. Our walk with God doesn’t have to be onerous and dreary. There is something about the nearness of God. As Moses walked with God, the narrative tells us that the Lord spoke to him “face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (Exodus 33:11). In other words, He did so in a manner that was most familiar.
The psalmist mentions one other personal benefit of his walk with God: “But as for me, the nearness of God is good for me” (Psalm 73:28, NASB). In his notes on this verse, Albert Barnes writes, “It is pleasant; it is profitable; it is the chief good. For myself, happiness is to be found in that alone.” It is no wonder the psalmist would later write, “Serve the Lord with gladness and delight; come before His presence with joyful singing” (Psalm 100:2, AMP). The nearness of God is hard to miss when we are walking intimately with Him. Robert Loveless sums it up this way: “Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before / Every day with Jesus, I love Him more and more / Jesus saves and keeps me and He’s the one I’m waiting for / Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before.” That is how it should be. What has been your experience?