To what, exactly, are we called as Christians? There seem to be innumerable answers to this question, all of them partially right – we’re called to love God and to serve him; to worship him; to salvation; to spread the Gospel and to live a righteous life… If we search the Scriptures, we’ll no doubt find many others to add to this growing list.
The real answer, however, is so much simpler and infinitely more humbling and profound. Genesis 5:24 says this: ‘And Enoch walked with God: and he [was] not; for God took him.’
How powerful this verse is, and especially when we consider that this really is almost all the Bible has to say about his life. Yet what a remarkable man Enoch must have been, for he and the prophet Elijah are the only two men in the entire Bible who did not die but were ‘taken’ up to Heaven.
Hebrews 11:5 tell us that: ‘By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.’ Enoch was taken or translated because he had pleased God. How did he please Him? He walked with Him!
In Genesis 6: 9, we find the same significance in the life of Noah: ‘These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.’ Why did God spare Noah and his family? Because he was just and perfect and walked with God.
Abraham’s life tells us the same story in Genesis 17: 1-2. ‘And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.’ Abraham was commanded, first, to walk with God, then to be perfect. It is the walking that brings the perfection.
Each of these ‘great’ men of the Bible, examples of faith, had one simple thing in common: They walked with God. While we all have a specific calling on our lives, a particular plan and purpose for each of us, and ‘good works’ to walk in for His glory, these are simply the outworking of ‘the real call.’ There is something that our creator God desires more.
Think for a moment of Adam and Eve in the garden. Man is the only creation shaped by the creator’s hands and in-breathed by His Spirit. It’s personal, it’s one-on-one, and there is a particular purpose to that. We discover, after they have sinned, that ‘they heard the voice of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden during the breeze of the day.’ God walked in the garden with His creation! It was normal, it was familiar, it was extraordinarily ‘ordinary,’ a daily occurrence that surprised them not at all. Their fear on this occasion was not that God walked in the garden, but that they knew they had sinned. The presence of sin is what removed man from his original purpose of walking with God.
That is the purpose for which we were created, and that is the purpose to which we all called. God could quite easily have summoned those first sinners into His presence for judgement. Instead, He did what he always did. He went to walk with them. and nothing has changed. The awesome, holy, almighty God of the universe still wants to walk with us – so much so that Christ walked to the cross to make a way for our return to fellowship. He went ahead of us so we could follow and, just as in the beginning, we are created ‘new’ through the in-breathing of the Holy Spirit. Restoration is, first and foremost, a bringing back to the first purpose of the creator.
All these other things are part of it but not the heart of it. They will come, naturally and easily and comfortably, as we draw closer in fellowship and walk with Him. As we learn more of Him and from Him, all these other ‘other callings’ will flow out of this ‘higher calling.’ Our part, first, is to share the road, the path, the moment, to see things through His eyes and to learn to feel with His heart. To walk the valleys and climb the mountains close by His side. That is the real calling of our Christian walk. The gifts and fruits of the Spirit will flow from this, naturally and simply, a deep response to the presence of God in our lives.
This, then, should be our focus, our heart’s desire. Through His grace, by way of the cross, we now can draw near in faith and walk, day by day, in the place to which we are called – a place beside Him.
This, Lord, is my desire: Like Enoch, to walk with you – moment by moment, day by day, to share the great and the small, and to know your infinite grace through even the simplest of things, and to learn from your heart.