The Secret of a Successful Christian Life
When my wife, Cathe, tells me she’s going for a walk with some of her friends, I’ll say, “Why don’t you just call it what it is? It isn’t a walk; it’s a talk.” I think Cathe and her friends have it right in many ways. The Bible speaks of walking with God, and a “talk” is exactly what it should be. It is all about communication.
When you say you’re walking with someone through life, you are basically saying you are there with them through both the rough patches and the great times, the highs and the lows, the ups and the downs. You are there to love them, to understand them.
When we say we are walking with God, it is essentially the same, but even more. The Bible talks about a man named Enoch who walked with God all the way to heaven. They would take walks every day, and one day the Lord said, in effect, “We’re closer to my house today than we are to yours. Why don’t you just come home with me?”
Interestingly, there is not a lot in the Bible about Enoch. But in Hebrews 11 we read that “by faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: ‘He could not be found, because God had taken him away.’ For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God” (verse 5, NIV).
Another definitive series of verses about Enoch is found in Genesis 5: “When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived a total of 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away” (verses 21–24, NIV).
Talk about, as Nietzsche put it, a “long obedience in the same direction.” Enoch had the longest walk possible. He walked with God for 300 years.
Enoch made it into what we call the Bible’s Hall of Faith, Hebrews 11. We want to pay careful attention to those mentioned in the Hall of Faith, because they were world changers. They were very ordinary people, but they served a great God. They changed their world with faith — with great faith in a great God.
What is faith? The Bible defines it as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1, NKJV). Or, as another translation puts it, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see” (NLT).
J. Oswald Sanders wrote, “Faith enables the believing soul to treat the future as present and the invisible as seen.” Faith sees invisible things. Faith sees what could be.
Faith is not just running a race; faith is also walking the walk. Hebrews 10:38 says, “The just shall live by faith” (NKJV, emphasis added). Feelings come and go. We cannot attach our Christian experience to how we are feeling emotionally in the moment. We must learn how to walk by faith.
I have discovered one of the secrets of a successful Christian life: living and walking by faith each and every day. It is consistency. It is staying with it. That is the kind of person who will change the world.
Enoch walked with God at one of the darkest times in human history. In fact, it was so dark, evil, and wicked that God actually said he was sorry he had created man in the first place. God was about to bring judgment on planet Earth through the great flood. In a way, Enoch was a last days believer, as his last days were before the flood.
Jesus said, “As the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:37, NKJV). Jesus was saying these two periods of time would be similar. And if Enoch was able to live a godly life at a time like that, then we can live godly lives wherever we are right now.
Enoch had the same spiritual resources that are here for us today. We can live godly lives in an ungodly world.
Someone might say, “Greg, you don’t know my world. You don’t know my family. You don’t know what it’s like to live in my neighborhood. You don’t know what my workplace is like. You don’t know what my campus is like.” Maybe I don’t. But no matter how messed up or how evil your world is, you can live a godly life in an ungodly world. Enoch proved that.
I believe we’re living in the last days. I believe Jesus Christ could come back at any time. As far as I can see in my study of Bible prophecy, I believe the next event on the prophetic calendar is what we call the rapture of the church when all true followers of Jesus are caught up to meet him in the air, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye (see 1 Corinthians 15:52).
Just like it happened to Enoch, it could happen to us. Or, if the Lord doesn’t return in our lifetime, we will die. As I have said before, the statistics on death are quite impressive: one out of every one person will die. The Bible says, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27, NKJV). There is no escaping it.
The good news is that Enoch walked with God on earth and, therefore, he was received by God in heaven. When you walk with God and death comes, you don’t look forward to it necessarily, but you don’t fear it, either. You know that when you die, you will go to heaven. The Bible says that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (see 2 Corinthians 5:8).
The moment you take your last breath on earth, you’ll take your first breath in heaven. That is the hope of the Christian. Do you have that hope?