Walking With God
July 1, 2001
by Billy Graham
Whether or not we realize it, we have a mess on our hands. Pressures come from everywhere. Dissension comes from within. We no longer call sin sin. We have become hardened to the things that used to make us blush, and it seems that we don't know how to blush any more. We call evil good and good evil, and we don't even know it.
In the book of Jeremiah we read, "Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls."(1) What about you? Is your soul at rest? Or is it filled with turmoil?
We will never know peace until we have peace with God—peace that comes from knowing and walking with God. Several things affect our walk with God.
First, our personal relationship with God. The other disciples never dreamed that in his heart Judas had never come into a real relationship with Jesus Christ. Our Lord Jesus said, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."(2) They prophesied in His name. They preached. They cast out devils. They did many social works. They even did evangelism! But they never were saved. The Scripture says, "Make your calling and election sure."(3)
Do you doubt your relationship with God? You can settle it, just as a little child, in a simple receiving of Jesus Christ; you can make sure.
Second, our call from God. Jeremiah wrote, "His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones."(4) Do you sense this burning within your bones? Have you been called of God to be where you are?
"Power doesn't come from your own ability; it comes from God"
Too many seminary students are going into the ministry as a profession but have never been called of God. The early apostles said, "We cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard."(5) The Apostle Paul wrote, "Necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!"(6) He had to do it because God had called him and he could do no other.
Third, our devotional life. Some time ago, in a survey at a theological college in the United States, 93 percent of those students studying for the ministry reported, "I have no devotional life." They may have the language in their heads, but they won't have it in their bones or in their hearts. They won't "communicate," because in preaching communication is the work of the Holy Spirit.
You will never communicate and you will never win souls unless you keep a systematic, daily devotional life. Power doesn't come from your own ability; it comes from God. The Holy Spirit gives a fresh, daily anointing that comes from the time that you spend with God.
Fourth, our message. The Apostle Paul wrote, "I know very well how foolish it sounds to those who are lost, when they hear that Jesus died to save them. But we who are saved recognize this message as the very power of God. For God says, 'I will destroy all human plans of salvation no matter how wise they seem to be, and ignore the best ideas of men, even the most brilliant of them.' ... For God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never find God through human brilliance, and then he stepped in and saved all those who believed his message, which the world calls foolish and silly."(7)
When Paul preached Jesus Christ and Him crucified, the people laughed. And that message doesn't agree with our philosophy today. But in the cross was a built-in power that transformed people, and it will transform people today too.
Fifth, our social concern. There is no way that we can fulfill the command of our Lord Jesus without having a concern for the material needs of people. Even a casual study of the life of Jesus reveals that He was interested in the social problems that people face. The Bible says, "There came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him. ... And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him."(8) The loneliest and the most forsaken person in that world was a leper! Can you imagine what it must have been for Jesus to touch him? What it meant to the leper to be touched?
Sixth, our evangelism. In your church, in your area, have you been evangelizing? In Israel two tribes—Reuben and Gad—thought of their own convenience rather than Israel's inheritance. These two tribes preferred to escape the peril of warfare, and Moses said, "Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here? ... [If so,] be sure your sin will find you out."(9) Those verses weren't given to be used as evangelistic verses. Rather, they were given to people of God for sitting down in apathy and lethargy when others were dying and lost. We ought to live each day as if it were our last.
Seventh, our relationships with our Christian friends. Is it possible, in spite of our differences in culture and race and language and denominational affiliations, to be a band of brothers?
At Pentecost the disciples were in one accord. Peter's ministry was different from John's. And Paul, who came later, was totally different in many ways. Paul lamented the division among true believers.(10) I believe that between believers and our Lord Jesus Christ the whole weight of the New Testament is on love and working together as brothers and sisters in Christ.
What We Owe Each Other
As brothers and sisters in Christ, we owe each other several things:
1. We are to love one another. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.
2. We are to serve each other: "Whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all."(11) Think of our Lord Jesus washing the feet of Peter and John and James. Dirty feet. Servant. O God, teach us to be servants.
3. We are to be patient with each other: "The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men."(12) Gentle. Have we forgotten that?
4. We are to be courteous to one another: "Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous."(13) If a brother is wrong and needs rebuking, it's to be done with gentleness and love and patience.
5. We are to set an example to each other: "Set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity."(14) We are to be examples.
6. We are to forgive one another: "Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."(15) Why should we be willing to forgive? Because God forgave us. How often should we forgive? As often as God forgives us. How much are we to forgive? Limitlessly, as God forgives. For whose sake ought we to forgive? For Christ's sake. How fully ought we to forgive? Completely, as God forgives us. "But," Jesus said, "if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your sins."(16) In Christian work today we need love and kindness and gentleness and compassion and forgiveness that will mark us as being different from the world. We are to be a holy people.
7. We are not to judge each other: "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged."(17) There is a time for rebuking and reproof in the scriptural way, but we must do it in love and tenderness and gentleness, and firmly, without compromise.
8. We are to be subject one to another: "In honor preferring one another."(18) ... "Yea, all of you be subject one to another."(19) We hardly know how to do that.
9. We are to edify one another: "Let us follow after things ... whereby we may edify one another."(20) "Edify" means to enlighten, instruct, improve. When we are talking with someone, do we seek ways to encourage him and to build him up in the faith? Or is all of our talk foolish and empty? We'll be held accountable for every word.
10. We are to pray for one another: "God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you."(21) We say, "We'll remember you in our prayers," and that's the last of it. Let's pledge to pray for each other. We need each other's prayers more now than at any other time in our lives.
Is God speaking to you about your relationship with Him? Then you need to make it right with God. You need to make things right in your life. You need to pray and make this a moment of rededication to Jesus Christ.
(1) Jeremiah 6:16, KJV. (2) Matthew 7:22-23, KJV. (3) 2 Peter 1:10, KJV. (4) Jeremiah 20:9, KJV. (5) Acts 4:20, KJV. (6) 1 Corinthians 9:16, KJV. (7) 1 Corinthians 1:18-19,21, TLB. (8) Mark 1:40-41, KJV. (9) Numbers 32:6,23, KJV. (10) 1 Corinthians 1:10-11. (11) Mark 10:44, KJV. (12) 2 Timothy 2:24, KJV. (13) 1 Peter 3:8, KJV. (14) Cf. 1 Timothy 4:12. (15) Ephesians 4:32, KJV. (16) Cf. Matthew 6:15. (17) Matthew 7:1-2, KJV. (18) Romans 12:10, ASV. (19) 1 Peter 5:5, KJV. (20) Romans 14:19, ASV. (21) 1 Samuel 12:23, KJV. Bible verses marked TLB are taken by permission from The Living Bible, copyright ©1971 Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois. Bible verses marked ASV are taken from the American Standard Edition of the Revised Bible, ©1901 Thomas Nelson & Sons, ©1929 International Council of Religious Education, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee