Today as we look again at Canon Battersby’s chapter on How To Walk More Closely With God (from the book Keswick’s Authentic Voice) he mentions losing fellowship with God through entertaining sin. I will leave it that. You may agree with this or disagree but please gleam from these Godly Saints of the past what you can even if and when you come across something you don’t agree doctrinely with.
Let us consider each of these points separately.
It may be that your method has been defective
There is but one “way of holiness.” It is that which God hath 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. That way is a way of faith from beginning to end. We entered upon it when we came, guilty and vile, to Christ, and found pardon and cleansing through His blood. But we did not see then the extent of our need, or the sufficiency of the supply God has provided for our need; we did not know then the inveterate evil of indwelling sin, or the power of natural corruption; but as we went on we learned this by sad experience. We saw God’s law, holy, just, and good, and we saw that it was to be our rule of life. We struggled to keep it, but in vain; we were forced to say with the apostle, “To will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Romans 7:18). What then? Did we, in despair of self, yield ourselves to Him who is “able to make all grace abound toward us”? Did we give ourselves up to Christ, as “dead to sin” by His death, and “alive unto God” by His resurrection? If so, we took God’s way of securing that which we needed; and I venture to assert, on the warrant of God’s Word, that we were not disappointed in so doing. The Tenth Article of the Church teaches plainly, “We have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us when we have that good will.” This witness is true. “We have no power”; but in Christ we have all power. If, then, we are not looking to Christ and abiding in Him, we cannot but fail. We come again “under law,” and sin gets the dominion; but let our motto be that of St. Paul, “Not I, but Christ” (Galatians 2:20), then how easy it is to please God! To walk with Him, how delightful!
Everything, in short, has been provided in Christ, through the foreknowledge and love of our heavenly Father, for our walking closely with Him (II Peter 1:3). “His divine power,” says the apostle, “hath given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who hath called us to glory and virtue.” The whole secret of a holy walk is here disclosed. First, there is an inexhaustible fountain from which our help comes—“His divine power.” Second, a supply which is equal to all our needs—“all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” Third, the method by which the supply is reached—“through the knowledge of Him who hath called us.” This, then, is the great thing needed in order to attain a closer walk with God: it is to know more of Jesus Christ and the infinite resources which are treasured up in Him for our need. This, no doubt, is a knowledge which admits of continual increase. We knew but very little of the Lord when we went to Him at first for the pardon of our sins. We knew Him in one aspect of His character, in one of His many offices: but of all that He is to the saved soul, which rests and abides in Him day by day, we knew nothing, nor can we know, unless we make trial of His grace—ever fresh trial as our needs arise; going to Him with the same simple faith with which we first went to Him, and saying, “Lord, I need Thee: Thou art my strength and my salvation: I am nothing; Thou art all: Lord, I trust Thee now.” Thus acting, our souls cannot but make ever fresh discoveries of the love and power of Jesus to save. We are kept in perfect peace in the most distracting circumstances, and He enables us to do His will and keep His commandments in such a way as to draw forth our wonder, while at the same time it brings us to His feet in adoring praise, as feeling that it is indeed His presence within to which all the blessing, and so all the glory, is due.
This is God’s method of walking with Him. May we each of us learn it more and more perfectly!
But God may show you that you have been cherishing some idol in your heart
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 my heart,
And worship only Thee.
It is evident that this must be done if we are to have God as our Friend and Counsellor. “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (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. “If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god; shall not God search this out? For He knoweth the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:20-21). Entire surrender to Him: the presentation of our whole being to Him, to be searched by His all-seeing eye, to be purified by the cleansing blood of Christ, to be sanctified to His service alone, and be kept by Him from all sin, is the essential condition of a holy walk. Obedience must ever be coupled with faith, if it is not more correct to say that it is an essential part of faith, as the apostle speaks of “the obedience of faith.” To walk with God we must please Him. Enoch’s walk with God is thus described in Hebrews 11:5, “that he pleased God”; and then it is added, “without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6). His careful attention to God’s requirements, which is implied in the expression “pleasing God,” sprang, as it always must, out of perfect trust in Him. It was a saying Yes, promptly and cheerfully, to all that God said to him. If we are to be followers of holy Enoch we must do the same. Is there an Achan in our hearts, coveting and appropriating the “accursed thing,” and so bringing “trouble” into our camp, and staying us from victory and from progress? The enemy of our peace must be slain without mercy. With our own hands, with all our heart and soul, we must put him to death, in the strength and under the inspiration of that Holy Spirit which “worketh mightily” in those who believe. And then once more will God, our God, be content to use us, and we shall go forward successfully under His will and favor.” Canon T. D. Harford-Battersby
Psalm 25:14 The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.
O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!
Where is the blessedness I knew,
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view
Of Jesus and His Word?
What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.
Return, O holy Dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest!
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn
And drove Thee from my breast.
The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.
So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.
William Cowper, 1731-1800
“To worship God in truth is to recognize Him for being who He is, and to recognize ourselves for what we are.” Brother Lawrence