"How's your walk with the Lord?" I'm not sure where we get this vocabulary. A quick search of the ESV led me to conclude that the whole phrase is non-Biblical (NB, not unbiblical necesarily!) but that the Israelites spoke of walking before the Lord wholeheartedly, or uprightly. Now, that I can get. But while "walk with the Lord" expresses some truths (he is in us and we depend on him for our every breath and atom, we must walk in his ways, according to his revelation, we walk with Christ as our Lord), the phrase sounds like we should be strolling through the sunlit park with a cool breeze, arm in arm with our Saviour.
"When we walk with the Lord, in the light of his word, what a glory he sheds on our way!
When we do his good will, he delights in us still, and with all who will trust and obey!"
This expression and this song always get me rather depressed. Is it really true that when we walk in the light of God's word, the way seems glorious? That not a shadow will rise, not a tear in our eyes, but his smile quickly drives it away? Could it not be that we're afflicted in every way, perplexed, persecuted, struck down, always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, with death at work in us? Could it be that the glory isn't lighting up the path exactly, but hidden in our easily-broken clay-pot bodies as the life of Christ so that we're not quite crushed, or despairing, or forsaken, or destroyed? Could it be that we're fighting a battle against unbelief and despair, against distrust and disobedience, against inordinate desires and misplaced hopes, and that the glory is not so much in the present walk of complete obedience as in the fact that the life of Christ is at work in us so that we haven't surrendered yet to the world, the flesh & the devil? Could it be that he delights in us anyway, because of the perfect, glorious righteousness of Christ!
This glory, this walk with the Lord, is not measured by a sunlit feeling of cosiness in his presence. This is a battle. A battle to knock down idols and replace them with the desire for knowing and enjoying God. A battle to be controlled by the Spirit, not by the flesh. A battle for joy in Christ.
It's rather paradoxical, admittedly. But I find it encouraging to remember. It spurs me on. It's not odd that I'm not strolling along a sunlit seashore with nothing but an occasional swot at a fly or outcrop of rock to negotiate. If I'm on a beach it's because I'm fighting on the beaches, in the war against unbelief, and inordinate desires, and by God's grace I haven't surrendered to the enemy. Praise him!
Forgiveness of sins
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