One of the activities my wife and I enjoy, even here in the midsummer heat of Central Texas, is walking together. Here in Waco there are a number of places where we can walk and enjoy outdoors, God’s creation, views, and certainly exercise (though I have to admit, the views are not as picturesque as back in southern California … but the positives here outweigh the negatives haha – and I digress).
Yet, what I love about walking together is more than just the exercise and the views. There is an inherent closeness and intimacy that is borne out of walking together, more so than any number of other activities. Several guys in my life group also enjoy walking together and a few times we’ve had the opportunity to share times with one another during which we do what guys very infrequently do together. Talk. Share. Emote. All those things that allow us to grow close with each other.
Walking together is something God values as well, and what He seeks from us. A closeness and intimacy with Him is what He most desires. He invites us to talk, share, and emote, as well. But I fear that many of us may not realize this or few feel comfortable that it’s really true.
When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
Even among the first people ever created, God sought to walk together in close fellowship with them. In fact, as God walked throughout the garden, He noticed the absence of Adam and Eve. It mattered to Him that they weren’t able to walk together, both actually and figuratively. But it was only when Adam and Eve sinned that God moved them out of the garden to sever the closeness.
The Bible talks about numerous people (Enoch in Genesis 5:22-24, Noah in Genesis 6:9, Job in Job 1:8, Moses in Exodus 3:4, and many more), who were described as close to and intimate with God, who enjoyed authentic fellowship with Him. And here’s the deal … it’s clear from these passages that God similarly enjoyed the fellowship with them. And with us.
So it’s true that not only can we go walking together with God, but He desires it. But it’s also true that our ability to do that was obscured because of the fall that resulted from Adam and Eve’s sinful choice to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. The fellowship that God established was destroyed by virtue of that unvirtuous decision. And yet God so desired walking together with us that He restored the fellowship beginning on a day we now choose to celebrate on December 25 (and culminated on Easter Sunday). Walking together with us was so important that God sent His Son to serve as an indelible means to do so.
Walking together seems easy enough, but there are conditions that must be true for it to work. Amos 3:3 …
Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?
Another translation renders that verse, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” I actually like the broader approach to that translation as I think about walking together with my wife or my life group buddies. See, to go walking together we need to agree on a time and place to start, a direction to go, a pace to walk at, a distance to cover, etc. There’s a conjoining that must happen both in advance and during the walking in order for it to be together.
There has to be an intentionality to allow for walking together in the spiritual sense. Time, place, direction, pace, etc. … all are important to establish from the outset. Here’s the great thing about God in this particular respect, though. If we simply ask and invite Him to, he is always ready and willing to go walking together. For the most part, He will join us at a time and place of our choosing, provided we go in His direction. He’ll adjust to our pace until we can increase it, and He never gets tired so He’ll go walking together with us as long a distance as we desire, though He always desires to go a longer distance with us. After all, it’s the closeness and intimacy He is after, and He is gracious enough to meet us wherever, whenever, in order to have them with us.
As we think of Christmas, let’s remember that it is not just a day for the giving and receiving of gifts, but a day for remembering we’ve already received the greatest of gifts. The gift of our heavenly Father sending His only Son to you and me so that we can enjoy walking together with Him. Failing to do so is like getting a Christmas gift and tossing it straight in the trash. I would never let anyone I know or love do that.
Walking together is far too fun than to allow that.
Soli Deo gloria!