Jesus called his followers to abide in him, or remain in him. There was a man living thousands of years earlier who did just that—by walking.
“Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away” (Genesis 5:23-24).
That’s part of an extended genealogy where all the individuals listed have one thing in common: “…and then he died.” All except Enoch. If we use “walking” to describe the bigger picture of making your way through life, we understand that the reason Enoch did not stop walking had everything to do with the way he walked.
So, how are you walking? This is one really important question, because how you walk determines how you stop.
Watch people walking, and you can tell, in every case, why they are walking by the way they walk. You see someone power walking, you know it’s about health. You see someone walking alone, at a leisurely pace, you understand that they are enjoying the solitude of some alone-time to contemplate personal thoughts. You see someone walking slowly, aimlessly. They get to a corner, pause briefly, then randomly turn left or right. They may be feeling sorrow, disillusionment, they just feel they have to go somewhere—anywhere. You see two people walking casually, you hear their voices, occasional laughter. They are walking in close companionship.
I recently saw a couple of women walking by my house, and was impressed by their multi-tasking walking ability: They were power walking, having a lively discussion, and every so often they’d pause suddenly as one of them used a litter stick to pick up trash on the curb or the street and place it in a bag she carried. If we could all do that, what a wonderful world this would be!
What is walking with God like? The benefits of walking with God are similar to the benefits of walking with your friend—only far better!
What is this degree of fellowship with God like? Think of Enoch. Think of King David (“a man after God’s own heart”). Think of the disciple John, who called himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” These people enjoyed very close and precious relationships with God.
So it’s not a physical walk, but it’s real. More than real, if there can be such a thing. The invisible Triune God surrounds you, speaks to you through his Word; he hears you, lives in you, loves you, comforts you, strengthens you, and works good through you.
The basis of Enoch’s walk, we learn in Hebrews 11:5-6, is faith. This is an incredible offer of friendship from the Almighty God himself, on the basis of faith in Jesus. God desires your companionship! How precious is this invitation to walk with him!
Rev. Brent Juliot is Pastor of Oak Ridge Lutheran Brethren Church in Menomonie, Wisconsin.