The Closed Door
Gateway to Spiritual Fullness
Two Kinds of Walk
It was during “the cool of day” when God came to the garden looking for
Adam. The term, “the cool of day”, suggests pleasantness as well as
pleasure. I think it would not be far fetched to suggest that God often
came to walk with Adam during a pleasant time of day, and that it gave
God much pleasure to fellowship with Adam while walking down Eden’s
winding paths. It would not be difficult either to imagine that God used
this sweet time of fellowship to reveal something about Himself to
On Adam’s first day, he knew God as the Creator. As time progressed,
he learned that God was his Provider, Shelter, Friend, Wisdom, Peace….
And on the day Eve was brought forth, he learned something about
resurrection. With each day’s passing, Adam learned a little more about
God as they walked together taking in all the beauty of the flora and
fauna around them.
It would be worthwhile to note at this point that the emphasis is on God
coming to walk with man. The initiative is God’s: He came to walk with
Adam. Man took no initiative to walk with God. We all have to thank
God that He took the initiative in coming to walk with man. It showed
His mercy and love for man. In the New Testament we find that it is
love that compels Him to leave the 99 and go after the lone lost sheep.
We worship the Lord that He took the initiative in coming to find us.
Regardless of how fallen or lost man becomes, the Lord is always
seeking him out to walk along side of – we can always count on the
Lord’s mercy and love to triumph over man’s pathetic conditions. But
there is a whole spiritual realm in which the Lord longs for man to take
the initiative in desiring to walk with Him.
Enoch was the first man who began to take the initiative to walk with
God (Gen. 5:22). We are told that Enoch began to walk with God at age
65 after a son was born to him. We are also told that Enoch walked
with God for 300 years; and he “was not, for God took him (v. 24).
Unlike God walking with man in which He took the initiative which
emphasizes God’s mercy, grace and love for man, man walking with God
on the other hand underscores man’s realization of his helplessness and
neediness for a Savior.
Why did Enoch suddenly get the urge to walk with God at age 65? The
only clue we have is that a son was born to him. However, there is a
hidden, yet no less significant, clue that lies in the tracing of the
generations. In fact, quite often the significant spiritual treasures are
hidden in the unspoken as it is here.
After Cain slew Abel, two clear lines of humanity began to emerge: one,
a perpetuation of godliness; the other, a continuation of evil.
From the line of evil, each succeeding generation becomes more wicked
than the preceding one. At the 7th generation, Lemech, man’s
wickedness has descended to a bottom (Gen 4). On the other side, the
7th generation on the godly line reached a towering height in none other
than Enoch who walked with God (Gen 5). Against the backdrop of an
exceedingly evil generation we surmise Enoch arriving at an acute sense
of his own frailty and inability to raise a son to further the line of
godliness. Godliness, after all, is not hereditary; it is wrought by God
and honed by the Refiner’s fire through many years of the Lord’s
dealings in grace.
If the soul of the righteous Lot knew how to grief at the wickedness
around him as the Bible tells us that he did, how much more the soul of
the godly Enoch must have been vexed at the wicked world
consummated by Lemech at his time. And having a son born to him on
top of all that!
Against such a setting, it becomes clear how a godly soul would quickly
realize his total incapacity to turn the tide of the world, live a saintly
life, and raise a godly son. I believe a godly soul is a desperate soul –
desperate for God and yearning for a closer walk with Him. A true
gospel should never stop at God coming to walk with man – it is only
the starting point. The true gospel will take man to a deeper realization
of his infirmity and produce in him a surrender and a yearning for Christ,
and initiate in him a desire to walk with God.
Allow me to reiterate that God coming to walk with man is an amazing
demonstration of His love and mercy toward man. When all else fails,
we can always count on this – God coming to walk with man. After all,
God the Holy Spirit is also called Paracletos – One who walks along side
(Jn: 14:16). He will always walk with us, no matter what. And we
should thank God for that.
In God coming to walk with man, the attention is on man. In his
immature state, man scarcely knows God and often carries out the
desires of his heart without regard to the divine will for his life. At this
stage, a believer is usually characterized by his fleshly zeal without
divine wisdom and maturity. Yet in His infinite mercy, the Lord never
once abandons such wayward sheep; He patiently walks with His child.
In man walking with God, the focus is on the Lord. He has a divine plan
and purpose for everything, and He wants man to play a part in
implementing His plan and purpose. Man has been privileged in being
given such a part from the very beginning, and He works to bring man
into consciousness and understanding of His great purpose, as some
have called it God's eternal purpose.
God’s eternal purpose is far beyond man’s intellect and wisdom, it takes
divine revelation to grasp the depth and breadth of such other-worldly
comprehension. For this, the Lord patiently walks with man until the
day when he is finally arrested by a heavenly vision and begins to yield
everything to God. Now a new chapter starts to unfold in which man, in
response to all the work of the Lord, begins to journey with God.
We find just such a man exemplified in the New Testament – Saul of
Tarsus. Before his conversion, he was a man possessed, driven by his
zeal and filled with self-righteousness. He was a man where self was
the center. The whole time the Lord patiently waited and walked with
him until his Damascus-road journey when he was apprehended by a
“heavenly vision” (Acts 9). Then a whole new kind of walk commenced
in which he learned to walk with God. God now became the center of
Paul later testified that the Lord has been dealing with him in that he
should not “kick against the goads” (Acts 26:14). The “goads” are the
Lord’s merciful dealings that turn us to the right way – Himself.
Now let’s come back to the garden where God took the initiative to walk
with man. Even before the fall of man, Adam did not exhibit an
inclination to walking with God. Could this lack of walking with God
have contributed to man’s fall?
In another case of man walking with God, we see the Lord telling
Abraham to walk before Him (Gen 17:1). When Abraham was 99 years
old, God said to him, “walk before Me, and be blameless.” Isn’t it
interesting that God waited until Abraham was 99 years old before
issuing a call to walk before Him? What does the Bible say about
Abraham being 99 years old? “As good as dead.” That’s right, it said it
twice as a matter of fact, once in Romans 4:19, and once in Hebrews 11:
12. So, what’s walking got to do with being as good as dead? This is
the key and the secret to walking with God – “no longer I, but Christ”
Like Enoch, Abraham also came to the conclusion that he couldn’t do it.
He needed the Lord. He needed a Higher Power. The only difference
between the two men is Enoch realized it after he had a child, Abraham
realized it before he had a child. Both had to learn “not I, but Christ.”
And both commenced to walking with the One who is able.
In Gen 18 the Lord came to promise the birth of Isaac, “then the men
rose up from there, and looked down toward Sodom; and Abraham was
walking with them to send them off” (Gen 18:16). Due to the fact that
Abraham had developed a close walk and intimate relationship with the
Lord, the Lord “could not hide from Abraham” what He was about to do
(v. 17). Then began a long discourse of Abraham pleading with the Lord
for Lot’s life - as they walked together.
Lot on the other hand had come for the ride all along, but never
developing a walk with the Lord, suffered spiritual degradation of a
From these stories, it is apparent that the Lord wants man to walk with
Him, and those who did maintained a spiritual testimony which afforded
the Lord a way to carry out His eternal purpose. Those who did not,
suffered horrendous consequences.
The Apostle John, in his old age wrote 2 epistles mentioning and
commending those “walking in truth” (II Jn: 4; III Jn:4). In II John. he
said he was “very glad to find some of your children walking in truth.”
And in III John. he said, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my
children walking in the truth.” Without a doubt, witnessing young
believers walking in truth gave John the greatest joy.
Why is walking in the truth giving John so much joy? Is it merely for
getting the basic doctrines down pat? Memorizing the Scriptures?
Sharing God’s word, the truth, with others? May be, but much more.
Walking denotes a manner of life. Paul said, “for to me to live is
Christ.” Paul allowed the Lord to lay hold of him and effect change in
his life in such a way that Christ became all; and Christ lived in,
through, and out of him. Truth is no longer just an objective thing
called into attention when situations demand it, nor is it read from a
two-page doctrinal statement. It is wrought and constituted deep into
our inner being through dealing with the Lord and allowing Him to lay
hold of us.
For young ones to be walking in the truth that gave John “no greater
joy,” there had to transpire a deep inward surrendering to Christ and a
living and manifesting of Christ’s life and character. Such was Enoch’s
walk. Such was Abraham’s walk. Such was Paul’s walk. This is a walk
that testifies of Christ, not merely a talk that testifies of Christ. And
the difference is enormous.
In the end, it is not our knowledge, eloquence, gift or ministry that will
put the Enemy to flight, what will make the difference is our submitting
to the Refiner’s fire and letting Him create a testimony of Jesus that is
lived out by our walk.
Wouldn’t anyone who loves the testimony of Jesus be overjoyed just
like John upon seeing this kind of walk?
Lord, do it in us. Amen.
April 04, 2008