This is blog #1 in the “Pathways to a Joyful Walk” series. We will explore what a faith walk is and the different pathways you can take to having a joyful walk with the Lord every day of your life.
We’ll be going on several walks together. Are you ready to go walking with me?
Picture in your mind one of the most enjoyable walks you have ever taken. What made it so enjoyable? Would you say it was the place where you were walking? Was it the weather or the time of day that made it so enjoyable? Was it the one who was walking beside you?
Throughout the Bible, our lives are referred to as a “walk” although some days you may feel like yours is a sprint. Am I right? Though you may feel like you are sprinting, your whole life experience is considered a walk.
How the word “walk” is used in the Bible
That word “walk” is used more than 300 times in the English Bible. It generally translates two words.
- In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word most often translated walk is halak. It means to come and go, to proceed, to live life as well as just plain old walking with your legs.
- In the New Testament, the Greek word most often used is peripateo. Besides walking with your legs, it also means to make one’s way, to progress, to conduct one’s self, to pass one’s life.
So, both refer to more than just walking on your two legs. It is living life, coming and going, conducting every day activities.
God started calling it a walk.
And, those who place their faith in God are said to be on a “faith walk.” Who started calling it a walk of faith? Well, God did. God spoke to Abraham, saying this,
“I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.” (Genesis 17:1)
“Before me” refers to being in God’s presence, acknowledging Him. Blameless means doing so by faith. The kind of relationship every human has with God is determined by their faith. A walk of faith. A faith walk. Walking with God is a faith walk.
From the very beginning, we find references to such faith walks.
- Genesis 5:22 says that Enoch walked with God. It was a faith walk.
- Genesis 6:9 says that Noah walked with God. It was a faith walk.
- In Genesis 24:40, Abraham said that he had walked faithfully with God. His was a faith walk.
- Romans 4:12 says that all believers in Jesus Christ have a “faith walk” with God as Abraham did. Wow! If you know anything about Abraham, that’s a pretty amazing thing to say, isn’t it?
Every believer is on a faith walk.
The truth is everyone who puts their trust in God for salvation and life is on a faith walk. It is a walk based on faith.
What is faith? Simply put, faith is a full commitment to Christ. God acted. We are to respond to His action by saying yes to faith in Jesus Christ and jumping into the new life God has for us. Instead of believing in your own ability to earn God’s favor, you now trust in what Christ has done for you. That’s biblical faith.
You can read my blog, “The Gospel: God’s Cure for Our Fatal Sin Disease,” to gain more understanding about faith.
So, putting your trust in God puts you on a faith walk. What makes it a walk?
What makes the Christian life a walk?
When we think about what it takes to physically walk, we can draw some parallels to a faith walk.
Walking is a process.
It requires putting one foot in front of the other. Spiritual life is also a process of trusting God with one thing after another. Although the moment of our salvation by faith in Jesus Christ is an instantaneous event, how we learn to live out that wonderful salvation in the light of God’s grace takes the rest of our lives.
Walking requires gaining confidence and trust.
Babies learning to walk struggle with the balance they need to stay upright. As they get stronger and have more confidence, they are able to walk upright and even run with ease depending on their bodies to hold them upright. New Christians need to learn how to trust God and to learn from His Word how to proceed with their new life. Older Christians still need to learn how to trust God and to rely on Him more than on themselves.
Walking requires movement.
While we can walk in place, most walking involves moving forward, making steady progress, as we go from one destination to another. Spiritual maturity only happens as we keep growing. To stand still is to become lethargic and sluggish in the Christian life. (MinTools Blog, “It’s a Walk,” posted February 7, 2018)
Walking requires communication between the head and the body.
Our brains control how our bodies function, relaying messages to our legs that are received by our legs and acted upon. Healthy legs don’t refuse the message from the brain. If they do, something is wrong. We as believers must yield to our Head, Jesus Christ, and let Him lead us, teach us, and enable us to live life that pleases Him and brings joy to us.
Walking is repeated.
I can’t sit down today and watch myself on video walking yesterday and claim that I have already walked in the same way today. Every day is a new day. My legs must walk from the bedroom to the kitchen every morning in order to make breakfast. My legs must walk every afternoon to the mailbox to get the mail.
The same is true about our spiritual life. Trying to live as a Christian based on a few verses you learned as a kid is like standing still. Muscles need to be fed and exercised daily.
Likewise, your faith needs to be fed with God’s Word and exercised through trusting God with something every day. We must approach Bible study with fresh eyes every day, looking for the new things the Lord will be teaching us and how we can share that with someone who needs to know it. We must recognize God’s work in our life every day, not just what He did years ago.
Walking requires choices.
I must decide whether to turn to the left or to the right out of my driveway when I go on an evening walk. One pathway goes to the park. The other pathway goes down a street with no sidewalks. Depending on the weather and the amount of traffic, my choice of pathway could be good or bad. That is true about our faith walk as well.
A lifetime faith walk must be walked daily. Choices are made daily, weekly, and yearly to follow pathways that lead you on a joyful walk (the kind I had you picture in your mind). Or, you end up on one that is frustrating and disappointing.
I prefer the joyful walk. Don’t you? The word joyful means to be full of joy. So, it helps to know what joy is.
What is joy?
When you hear the word “joy,” what comes to your mind?
Happiness or joy?
Most people define joy as a feeling of happiness when you’re smiling and laughing a lot. And, they think that happiness comes from “good happenings.” Everything is going your way, turning out right. You have lots of money. You’re healthy. You’re very successful in work or school. Right?
But, what happens if things are not so good? Your family is stressed financially. You may be struggling in work or school. Your relationships are fraying. You or someone close to you is very sick. Happiness kinda disappears then.
It’s very hard to have a joyful walk if that’s your definition of joy. But, for believers in Jesus Christ, we have access to a different kind of joy that is internal. We call it biblical joy.
In the New Testament, the Greek word translated “joy” is the word chara (C-H-A-R-A). Chara means a deep inner gladness, regardless of the circumstances going on around you. That means whether you are rich or poor, sick or healthy, successful or struggling, you can still have a feeling of gladness or pleasure deep down inside. That’s biblical joy.
- Biblical joy is supernatural. It is inseparable from the character of God and comes only from a relationship with Him.
- Biblical joy is a fruit of the Spirit of Jesus living in us. That means joy is available to every Christian. Someone described it as “Juice of the Spirit” because it flows out of us even when we are squeezed.
- Biblical joy is a deep abiding peace and sense of contentment and strength. Now, you may not feel like smiling on the outside, but you can still smile on the inside. Have you ever felt that way? Although, you can do both at the same time.
Our Knowing Jesus…Knowing Joy! Bible Study will teach you more about biblical joy.
What would be a joyful walk?
Now that you know the definition of joy and understand how all of life is a walk, what would be a joyful walk? When you are on a joyful walk, you are accessing this deep, inner gladness and peace so that you can rest and rejoice in God no matter what’s going on around you. Sounds great, doesn’t it? It’s ours as we choose the right pathways to take for our faith walk.
What are the right pathways? We’ll answer that question in the rest of this blog series. Since joy comes through knowing Jesus Christ, that’s Pathway #1. We’ll cover that in the next blog.
Let Jesus satisfy your heart with joy so that your daily walk with Him will be a joyful one. Choose to step through life satisfied by Him.