MITRA: Walking hand-in-hand with the Lord
The hymn Nearer My God to Thee has been a favourite for many generations of people of faith who have aspired for a close walk with God.
It is a bad sign when this ceases to be our quest. There is a condition of soul which is not only attainable, but which is set before us in the Scriptures as the only proper condition of a believing soul.
It is that of rest in Christ, when we have found him for whom our soul longed and know that in him we have been brought nigh (Eph.2:13).
We, then, have been perfectly reconciled to our offended God by His precious blood and covered by His spotless righteousness.
This is one aspect — and how great an aspect those only know who have been brought out of their weary wanderings and tossings to and from, in vain search of justification by their own righteousness.
But, it is another thing altogether, after having found this peace, to walk with God closely in daily life.
Many of us start our on this course, our minds enlightened by that measure of spiritual light that enabled us to come to Christ as our justification.
We thought the gratitude we felt at that moment for the great mercies of God we had experienced would be enough to carry us onward always in an even course.
But, soon we found our “first love” was apt to get chilled and the world we thought we had renounced forever, was constantly asserting its claim to come back into our hearts.
Our communion got broken, and we lost that blessed peace and joy which we felt when we first saw the Lord.
To return now to our question: How to walk more closely with God. In the first place, it will be necessary to define what is meant by “walking with God.”
The expression is found in the Scriptures, used of Enoch and of Noah (Gen. 5:24 and 6:9). It is also used of the tribe of Levi in the days of its first consecration to God (Mal. 2:6).
We also find the expression in that memorable passage in Micah 6:8.
It is evident that what is meant by the expression in all these passages is to lead a life of constant communion with God in which God is made our intimate associate and friend.
None will deny that this is what we are called to in Christ. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested; for this purpose the Holy Spirit has been sent; for this purpose the Scriptures have been given.
But, the practical difficulties we all feel in the way of such a walk are many and great. Let us consider some of these points separately.
It may be that our method has been defective.
There is but one “way of holiness.” It is that which God has set up from of old.
Its boundaries are clearly marked in His Word so that “the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”
But, it is just here that we fail, that we are not willing to be as fools, but like to try our own hands upon this work, and construct a way for ourselves, of our own wisdom, instead of taking God’s way.
Everything, in short, has been provided in Christ, through the foreknowledge and the love of our heavenly Father, for our walking closely with Him (2 Pet. 1:3).
The whole secret of a holy walk is here disclosed. .
This is God’s method of walking with Him. May each of us learn it more and more perfectly.
But, God may show us that we have been cherishing some idol in our hearts.
William Cowper recognized this as a most common hindrance to the soul’s communion with God when he wrote: The dearest idol I have known, Whate’er that idol be, Help me to tear it from heart, And worship only Thee.
It is evident that this must be done if we are to have God as our friend and counsellor (Amos 3:3). The question answers itself: If sin is willingly entertained, God’s company must be given up.
He will not dwell in a heart defiled with idolatrous associations, where mammon or human praise, or sensuality, or some earthly love is usurping the place which He is entitled to occupy within us.
Again, it may be God may show us that we have failed through unwatchfulness.
Our method may have been right, and our consecration complete and we may have experienced many happy times of conscious fellowship with God in service and in daily life.
Yet, we have to acknowledge with shame that there have been sad seasons of dullness and spiritual gloom when God, we felt, was grieved with us and our joy in Him was impaired.
And, when we have gone to Him and asked Him the reasons of this, He has shown us that it has sprung from carelessness and want of circumspection (Eph. 5:15).
However long-standing our faith, and however many our past successes, we are never safe except so far as we keep humble, asking counsel every day, remembering our weakness, never daring to do anything apart from Jesus and His grace.
Before I end, let me put another question, “What is to be the issue of the solemn investigation here made?”
Will anyone be satisfied with asking it, and finding mentally a solution to it? Or, will they go on to put to the test practically that method which has approved itself to their judgment and conscience to be God’s way of maintaining a holy walk?
Let it be our aim at any cost, to attain this testimony at the end of our lives that we “pleased God,” and this is a testimony above all price.
May God Himself teach and enable each one of the readers to walk more closely with Him.
Narayan Mitra is a chaplain at Thompson Rivers University. KTW welcomes submissions to the Faith page. Columns should be between 600 and 800 words in length and should be accompanied by a photograph and a brief biography of the writer. Send submissions to