5: THE WALK WITH GOD.

V. THE WALK WITH GOD.

“He that saith he abideth in Him, ought himself so to walk even as He walked.” I. John ii. 6

The life naturally leads to the walk. The term describes the course of life, the conduct, the
practical side of our Christian life. The reference to the walk of our Lord Jesus Christ
recalls His character and life. The character of Jesus stands out as the divinest monument
of the Bible and the Gospels.

Even men who do not believe in Him as we do have been compelled to acknowledge the
grandeur and loftiness of His incomparable life. Here are some of the testimonies that the
world’s illustrious thinkers have borne to Jesus of Nazareth. Renan says “The Christ of
the Gospels is the most beautiful Incarnation of God. His beauty is eternal; His reign shall
never end.” Goethe says “There shines from the Gospels a sublimity through the person
of Christ which only the divine could manifest.” Rosseau writes “Was He no more than
man? What sweetness! What purity in His ways! What tender grace in His teaching!
What loftiness in His maxims! What wisdom in His words! What delicacy in His touch!
What an empire in the hearts of His followers! Where is the man, where is the sage that
could suffer and die without weakness or display? So grand, so inimitable is His
character that the inventors of such a story would be more wonderful than the character
which they portrayed.” Carlyle says “Jesus Christ is the divinest Symbol. Higher than this
human thought can never go.” Napoleon said “I am a man, I understand men. These were
all men. Jesus Christ was more than man. Our empire is built on force, His on love, and it
will last when ours has passed away.”

But if Jesus Christ thus appears at a distance to the minds that can only admire Him, how
much more must He be to those who know Him as a personal Friend and who see Him in
the light of love, for

The love of Jesus, what it is,

None but His loved ones know.

The character and life of Christ have a completeness of detail which no other Bible
biography possesses. The story has been written out by many witnesses, and the portrait
is reproduced in all its lineaments and features. He has traversed every stage of life from
the cradle to the grave, and represented humanity in every condition and circumstance of
temptation, trial and need, so that His example is equally suited to childhood, youth or
manhood, to the humble and the poor, in life’s lowliest path, or to the sovereign that
sways the widest scepter, for He is at once the lowly Nazarene and the Lord of Lords. He
has felt the throb of every human affection. He has felt the pang of every human sorrow.
He is the Son of Man in the largest, broadest sense. Nay, His humanity is so complete
that He represents the softer traits of womanhood as well as the virility and strength of
manhood, and even the simplicity of a little child, so that there is no place in the
experiences of life where we may not look back at this Pattern Life for light and help as
we bring it into touch with our need and ask, “What would Jesus do?”

God has sent forth the life of Christ as our Example and commanded us to imitate and
reproduce Him in our lives. This is not an ideal picture to study as we would some
paragon of art. It is a life to be lived and it is adapted to all the needs of our present
existence. It is a plain life for a common people to copy, a type of humanity that we can
take with us into the kitchen and the family room, into the workshop and the place of
business, into the field where the farmer toils, and the orchard where the gardener prunes,
and the place where the tempter assails, and even the lot where want and poverty press us
with their burdens and their cares. This Christ is the Christ of every man who will receive
Him as a Brother and follow Him as an Example and a Master. “I have given you an
example,” He says, “that ye should do as I have done.” He expects us to be like Him. Are
we copying Him and being made conformable unto His image? There is but one Pattern.
For ages God “sought for a man and found none.” At last humanity produced a perfect
type and since then God has been occupied in making other men according to this
Pattern. He is the one original. When Judson came to America the religious papers were
comparing him to Paul and the early apostles, and Judson wrote expressing his grief and
displeasure and saying, “I do not want to be like them. There is but One to copy, Jesus
Himself. I want to plant my feet in His footprints and measure their shortcomings by His
and His alone. He is the only Copy. I want to be like Him.” So let us seek to walk even as
He walked.

The secret of a Christ-like life lies partly in the deep longing for it. We grow like the
ideals that we admire. We reach unconsciously at last the things we aspire to. Ask God to
give you a high conception of the character of Christ and an intense desire to be like Him
and you will never rest until you reach your ideal. Let us look at this Ideal.

I. THE MOTIVE OF HIS LIFE.

The key to any character is to be found in its supreme motive, the great end which it is
pursuing, the object for which it is living. You cannot understand conduct by merely
looking at facts. You want to grasp the intent that lies back of these facts and incidents,
and the supreme reason that controls these actions. When a great crime has been
committed the object of the detective is to establish a reason for it, then everything else
can be made plain. The great object for which we are living will determine everything
else, and explain many things which otherwise might seem inexplicable. When the
ploughman starts out to make a straight furrow he needs two stakes. The nearer stake is
not enough. He must keep it in line with the farther one, the stake at the remotest end of
the ridge, and as he keeps the two in line his course is straight. It is the final goal which
determines our immediate actions and if that is high enough, and strong enough, it will
attract us like a heavenly magnet from all lesser and lower things, and hold us irresistibly
to our heavenly pathway. The supreme motive of Christ’s life was devotion to the will
and glory of God. “Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?” This was the
deep conviction even upon the heart of the child (Luke ii. 49). “My meat is to do the will
of Him that sent Me” (John iv. 34). “I seek not Mine own will but the will of the Father
that sent Me” (John v. 30). “I came down from heaven not to do Mine own will but the
will of Him that sent Me” (John vi. 38). This was the purpose of His maturer life. “I have
glorified Thee on the earth. I have finished the work thou gavest Me to do.” This was His
joyful cry as He finished His course and handed back His commission to the Father who
sent Him. Is this the supreme object of our life, and are we pressing on to it through good
report and evil report, caring only for one thing to please our Master, and have His
approval at the last.

II. THE PRINCIPAL OF HIS LIFE.

Every life can be summed up in some controlling principle. With some it is selfishness in
the various forms of avarice, ambition or pleasure. With others it is devotion to some
favorite pursuit of art or literature or invention and discovery. With Jesus Christ the one
principle of His life was love, and the law that He has left for us is the same simple and
comprehensive law of love, including every form of duty in the one new commandment
“A new commandment I give unto you that ye love one another as I have loved you”
(John xiii. 34; xv. 12). This is not the Old Testament law of love with self in the center,
“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” But this is a new commandment with Christ in
the center “that ye love one another as I have loved you.” Love for His Father, love for
His own, love for the sinful, love for His enemies, this covered the whole life of Jesus
Christ and this will comprehend the length and breadth of the life of His followers. This
will simplify every question, solve every problem and sweeten every duty into a delight
and make our life as His was an embodiment of that beautiful ideal which the Holy Spirit
has left us in the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians. “Love suffereth long and is kind.
Love envieth not. Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself
unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not provoked, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity
but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things,
endureth all things.”

III. THE RULE AND STANDARD OF HIS LIFE.

Every life must have a standard by which it is regulated, and so Christ’s life was molded
by the Holy Scriptures. “These are the words that I spake unto you while I was yet with
you that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the
prophets, and in the Psalms concerning Me” (Luke xxiv. 44). It was necessary that
Christ’s life should fulfill the Scriptures and He could not die upon the cross until He had
first lived out every word that had been written concerning Him. It is just as necessary
that our lives should fulfill the Scriptures and we have no right to let a single promise or
command in this holy Book be a dead letter so far as we are concerned. God wants us
while we live to prove in our own experience all things that have been written in this
Book, and to bind the Bible in a new and living edition in the flesh and blood of our own
lives.

IV. THE SOURCE OF HIS LIFE.

Whence did He derive the strength for this supernatural and perfect example? Was it
through His own inherent and essential deity? Or did He suspend during the days of His
humiliation His own self-contained rights and powers, and live among us simply as a
man, dependent for His support upon the same sources of strength that we enjoy? It
would seem so. Listen to His own confession (John v. 19, 30; vi. 57). “The Son can do
nothing of Himself but what He seeth the Father do. I can of Mine own self do nothing.
As I hear I judge. As the living Father hath sent Me and I live by the Father, so he that
eateth Me even he shall live by Me.” This seems to make it very plain that our Lord
derived His daily strength from the same source as we may receive ours, by communion
with God, by a life of dependence, faith and prayer, and by receiving and being ever
filled with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Would we therefore walk even as
He walked let us receive the Holy Ghost as He did at His baptism. Let us constantly
depend upon Him, and be filled with His presence. Let us live a life of unceasing prayer.
Let us draw our strength each moment from Him as He did from the Father. Let our life
for both soul and body be sustained by the inbreathing of His so that it shall be true of us
“In Him we live and move and have our being.” This was the Master’s life and this may
be ours. What an inspiration it is for us to know that He humbled Himself to the same
place of dependence to which we stand, and that He will exalt us through His grace to the
same victories which He won.

V. THE ACTIVITIES OF HIS LIFE.

The life of Jesus Christ was a positive one. It was not all absorbed in self-contemplation
and self-culture, but it went out in thoughtful benevolence to the world around Him. His
brief biography as given by Peter is one of practical and holy activity. “He went about
doing good.” In His short life of three and a half years He travelled on foot over every
portion of Galilee, Samaria and Judea, incessantly preaching, teaching and working with
arduous toil. He was constantly thronged by the multitudes so that Luke tells us “there
was not time so much as to eat.” Once at the close of a busy day He was so weary that He
fell asleep on the little ship amid the raging storm. Leaving His busy toil for a season of
rest still the multitudes pressed upon Him, and He could not be silent. After a Sabbath of
incessant labor at Capernaum we find Him next morning rising a great while before day,
that He might steal from His slumbers the time to pray. His life was one of ceaseless
service, and even still on His ascension throne He is continually employed in ministries
of active love. So He has said to us that we must copy Him. No consecrated Christian can
be an idler or a drone. “As My Father hath sent Me even so send I you.” We are here as
missionaries, every one of us with a commission, and a trust just as definite as the men
we send to heathen lands. Let us find our work, and, like Him, “whatsoever our hand
findeth to do, do it with our might.”

VI. SEPARATION.

The true measure of a man’s worth is not always the number of his friends, but sometimes
the number of his foes. Every man who lives in advance of his age is sure to be
misunderstood and opposed, and often persecuted and sacrificed. The Lord Himself has
said “Woe unto you when all men speak well of you. Marvel not if the world hate you. If
ye were of the world the world would love his own.” Like Him, therefore, we must
expect often to be unpopular, often to stand alone, even to be maligned, perhaps to be
bitterly and falsely assailed and driven “without the camp” even of the religious world.
Two things, however, let us not forget. First let us not be afraid to be unpopular, and
secondly let us never be soured or embittered by it, but stand sweetly and triumphantly in
the confidence of right, and our Master’s approval.

VII. THE SUFFERING LIFE.

No character is mature, no life has reached its coronation, until it has passed through fire.
And so the supreme test of Christ’s example was suffering, and in all His sufferings He
has as the apostle Peter expressed it, “Left us an example that we should follow His
steps” (I.Pet. ii. 21). He suffered from the temptations of Satan for “He was in all points
tempted like as we are, yet without sin,” and in this He has called us to follow Him in
suffering and victory, for “in that He hath suffered being tempted He is able also to
succor them that are tempted.” He suffered from the wrongs of men, and in this He has
left us an example of patience, gentleness and forgiveness, for “When He was reviled,
reviled not again; when He suffered He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him
that judgeth righteously.” Never was He more glorious than in the hour of shame. Never
was He more unselfish than in the moment when His own sorrows were crushing His
heart. Never was He more victorious than when He bowed His head on the bitter cross
and died for sinful men. He is the crowned Sufferer of humanity, and He calls us to suffer
with Him in sweetness, submission and triumphant faith and love.

VIII. THE FINER TOUCHES OF HOLY CHARACTER.

The perfection of character is to be found in the finer touches of temper and quality
which easily escape the careless observer. It is in these that the character of Christ stands
inimitably supreme. One of the finest portraits of His spirit is given by Paul in the third
chapter of Philippians as he tells us of His humility which might have grasped at His
divine rights, but voluntarily surrendered them, emptied Himself and gladly stooped to
the lowest place (Phil. ii. 5-8). His unselfishness in dealing with the weak and the selfish
is finely expressed in (Rom. xv. 1, 3, 7). “For even Christ pleased not Himself, but as it is
written the reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on Me.” His gentleness and
lowliness is finely expressed in His own words, “Learn of Me who am meek and lowly in
heart.” The highest element of character is self-sacrifice, and here the Master stands
forever in the front of all sacrifice and heroism. “If any man will come after Me let him
deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. He that will be chief among you let
him be the servant of all, for even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto but to
minister and to give His life a ransom for many.” Here we are taught what it means to
walk even as He walked. It is the surrendered life. It is the life of self-sacrifice. So the
apostle has finely expressed it in (Ephesians v. 2) “Walk in love as Christ also has loved
us, and given Himself for an offering and a sacrifice unto God for a sweet smelling
savor.” This is love, self-sacrifice, and this is to God as sweet as the fragrance of the
gardens of Paradise. There was something in the spirit of Jesus, and there ought to be
something in every consecrated life, which can only be expressed by the term sweetness.
It is with reference to this that the apostle says in II. Cor. ii. 15, “We are unto God a
sweet savor of Christ in them that believe, and in them that perish.” God give to us this
heavenly sweetness that breathes from the heart of our indwelling Saviour.
The refinement of Jesus Christ is one of the most striking traits of His lovely character.
Untrained in the schools of human culture, He was notwithstanding as every Christian
ought to be, a perfect gentleman. His thoughtful consideration of others is often manifest
in the incidental circumstances of His life. For example, when Simon Peter was
distressed about the tribute money at Capernaum, and was hesitating to speak to the
Master about it, the Lord “prevented him,” i.e., anticipated his very thought, and sent him
down to the lake to catch the fish with the coin in his mouth, and then added with fine
tact “That take, and pay for Me and thee,” assuming the responsibility of the debt first for
Himself to save Peter’s sensitiveness. Still finer was His high courtesy toward the poor
sinning woman whom the Pharisees had dragged before Him. Stoopinig down He evaded
her glance lest she should be humiliated before them, and as though He heard them not
He finally thrust a dart of holy sarcasm into their consciences which sent them swiftly
like hounds from His presence and only when they were gone did He look up in that
trembling woman s face, and gently say. “Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no
more.” So let us reflect the gentleness and courtesy of Christ and not only by our lives,
but our “Manner of love” commend our Christianity and adorn the doctrine of God our
Saviour in all things.

There is one thing more in the spirit of the Master which He would have us copy, and that
is the spirit of gladness. While the Lord Jesus was never hilarious or unrestrained in the
expression of His joy, yet He was uniformly cheerful, bright and glad, and the heart in
which He dwells should likewise be expressed in the shining face, the springing step, and
the life of overflowing gladness. There is nothing more needed in a sad and sinful world
than joyous Christians. There was nothing more touching in the Master’s life than the fact
that when His own heart was ready to break with the anticipation of the garden and the
cross He was saying to them “Let not your heart be troubled. Let My joy remain in you
and your joy be full.” God help us to copy the gladness of Jesus, never to droop our
colors in the dust, never to hang our harps upon the willows, never to lose our heavenly
blessing or fail to ”rejoice evermore.”

IX. BUT WE MUST HASTEN TO NOTICE FINALLY SOME OF THE POSITIVE ELEMENTS OF
FORCEFULNESS AND POWER IN THE LIFE OF JESUS.

It is possible to be sweet and good and yet to be weak and unwise. This was not the
character of Jesus. Never was gentleness more childlike, never was manhood more
mighty and majestic. In every element of His character, in every action of His life we see
the strongest virility and we recognize continually that the Son of man was indeed a man
in every sense of the word.

Intellectually His mind was clear and masterful and there is nothing finer in the story of
His life than the calm, victorious way in which He answered and drove from His presence
the keen-witted lawyers and scribes who hounded Him with their questions and who were
successively humiliated and silenced before the jeering crowd until until they were glad
to escape from His presence, and after that no man durst ask Him any more questions. So
majestic and impressive was His eloquence that the officers that were sent to arrest Him
forgot all about their commission as they stood listening to His wonderful words, and
went back to their angry masters to exclaim: “Never man spake like this Man.” There was
about Him a dignity which sometimes rose to such a height that we read on one occasion
as He set His face steadfastly to go to Jerusalem, “As they beheld Him they were amazed,
and as they followed they were afraid.” In the darkest hour of His agony He reached such
a height of holy dignity that even Pilate gazed with admiration and pointing to Him even
amid all the symbols of shame and suffering, he cried: “Behold the Man.” Even in His
death He was a Conqueror, and in His resurrection and ascension He arose sublime above
all the powers of death and hell.

In conclusion, How shall we walk like Him?

1. We must receive Him to walk in us for He hath said, “I will dwell in them and
walk in them.”

2. We must study His life until the story is burned into our consciousness and
impressed upon our heart.

3. We must constantly look upon the picture and apply it to every detail of our own
conduct and so “beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we shall be changed
into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

4. Do not be discouraged when you meet with failure in yourself. Do not be afraid to
look in the glass and see your own defects in contrast with His blameless life. It
will incite you to higher things. Self-judgment is the very secret of progress and
higher attainment.

5. Finally, let us ask the Holy Spirit whose work it is to make Jesus real to us to
unveil the vision and imprint the copy upon our hearts and lives, and so shall we
be “changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the
Lord.”

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