Stay Close to his Friends
We get alongside those who walk with God. Put simply, that is what church is supposed to be about. Would that it were. I hope you will find a few folks who walk with God to also walk with you through the seasons of your life. But honesty — and Scripture — forces me to admit they are a rare breed. Few there are who find it. All the more reason for you to make the number less scarce by becoming someone who walks with God and teaches others how. Look to those who have walked with God down through the ages. Certainly, that is why the Bible is given to us. If God had intended it to be a textbook of doctrine, well then, He would have written it like one. Oh, yes, we learn many crucial things about doctrine and Christian character in the Scripture, along with a great deal of wisdom.
But if you’ll flip from cover to cover, you’ll notice that it’s overwhelmingly a book of stories — tales of men and women who walked with God.
Approach the Scriptures not so much as a manual of Christian principles but as the testimony of God’s friends on what it means to walk with Him through a thousand different episodes. When you are at war, when you are in love, when you have sinned, when you have been given a great gift — this is how you walk with God. Do you see what a different mind-set this is? It’s really quite exciting.
And there are those who have walked with God since the canon of Scripture closed. Here is an Athanasius, a Bonaventure, a Julian of Norwich, a Brother Lawrence, an A. W. Tozer — here is how they walked with God. When it comes to time and place, temperament and situation, they could not be more different. Julian lived in a cloister; Tozer lived in Chicago. Athanasius fled to the desert; Lawrence worked in the kitchen. But there is a flavor, a tang, an authenticity to their writings that underlies whatever it is they are trying at the moment to say. Here is someone who knew God, really knew Him. This is what it’s like to walk with God, and that is what it’s like as well.
“Most of us are afraid of our guidance, our intuition, our ‘hunches,’” warns Agnes Sanford. “We try to close our minds to them, thereby increasing our restlessness and losing the benefit of the heavenly warning that would tell us when and how to pray.” My friend Bart is a private pilot. Two weeks ago he flew out to Colorado to take us into a crucial mission of rescuing some of the great warriors of the kingdom. This is the e-mail I received from him afterward:
Had a great flight back to California — a glorious time flying over some of the world’s most beautiful country, from the peaks of the San Juans to the depths of the Grand Canyon. But is also very dangerous country to fly over. A loss of flight control would leave few options.
The next day I called maintenance and asked them to take care of a few squawks we identified before I went to Colorado. (The maintenance personnel cleared the safety of the aircraft for this last trip and assured me everything they checked was OK.) As I gave them the airplane to have those items checked again, I asked them something I cannot explain, something I have very seldom thought of and never in the eight years I’ve owned 17PG have had done. I asked to have the prop balanced. Richard, the manager, said they’d have to send for a specialist to do this, but I said, “Let’s have it done.”
Yesterday Richard called back. His first words were, “Good call on having the prop balanced. Bart, we found the spinner cracked.” (The spinner is the bullet-shaped point in front of the prop.) It is extremely rare for this to occur, and the prop had been replaced just 350 hours ago, which would have yielded this problem at that time. Richard went on to say the points of attachment were cracked almost all the way through the metal, creating a very dangerous situation. If the spinner had detached, it would have been disaster, come right through the windshield. The point of all this is that something or Someone “nudged” me to ask for something to be done on that airplane I have almost never thought of. John, my prayers will be deliberate and often as I realize how real this battle is going on all around. Thank you for “waking” me to this reality.
Pause — take a breath. I know I am describing here the intimacy we all want to experience with God, and yet so few actually do. This doesn’t mean you are blowing it. Maybe it has to do with the War; maybe your Enemy has kept this from you.
“If you’re not pursuing a dangerous quest with your life, well then, you don’t need a Guide. If you haven’t found yourself in the midst of a ferocious war, then you don’t need a seasoned Captain. If you’ve settled in your mind to live as though this is a fairly neutral world and you are simply trying to live your life as best you can, then you can probably get by with the Christianity of tips and techniques.” Well — how is that going for you?
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. — Ephesians 1:17
Wisdom and revelation — which do you tend to rely on?
“We begin by assuming that God is still speaking.” Everything turns on this. I realize that many dear Christians have been taught that God only speaks to His people through the Bible, but the irony of that position is that it is not what the Scriptures themselves teach! Moreover, that view means that you have to dismiss as delusion or demonic deception the billions of stories from Christians all over the world, all down through history, who have learned to hear the voice of God.
Let us pray:
Jesus — You said Your sheep hear Your voice, and they follow You. I am Your sheep; You are my Shepherd. I ask You to open my ears that I may hear Your voice speaking within me. Holy Spirit, teach me to recognize when and how You are speaking. Remove every veil and every block to me hearing You clearly. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Excerpted with permission from Waking the Dead by John Eldredge, copyright John Eldredge.
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When you pray, are you listening as well as speaking? Our brothers and sisters before us showed us how to walk with God. Pray. Listen. Follow. Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you!