Just A Closer Walk With Thee

by Alexei Laushkin

There’s something very simple in these powerful lines from “Just A Closer Walk with Thee.” Consider:

I am weak but thou art strong

Singing from such a simple place. I am weak without you Lord, help me walk closer, help me draw near, help me be more confident in my walk with you. Help me know you walking with me, help me make you my desire and confidence today.

The author of this hymn, is giving us a timeless Christian prayer.

Lord I need you more, help me draw closer. Grant me the desire and unceasing focus to draw ever-closer and lean ever-nearer into my daily walk with you.

Desire is the Beginning of Christian Formation 

We have to desire and want to draw closer to God. How that desire comes about is different for everyone, but we can say desire is so key whatever the starting point.

We can also say that desire becomes a great treasure to us, a pearl of great price, helping to cement our deepening love and walk with the Lord. At that point we start seeing the fruits of living a fully Christian life. Not the fruits of changed circumstances, but the fruits of a God who brings in his wings, healing, worth, affirmation. We begin to know a God who says, I know you very well, and I am well pleased with you, I am glad I made you and took the time to create you. I delight in you because you are my son, you are my daughter, and that’s reason enough. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done, to me you are very worth while.

For many that kind of deep and intimate loving affirmation is really what helps them know and see a truly loving God.

Usually when we know him well and we feel the love of him knowing and accepting us fully, wanting to know him better comes fairly naturally to us. The way you might miss a friend or loved one, you begin to miss the Lord when your attention has been drawn away from him. And so you strive to make more complete the promises of faith so that they might re-anchor and re-orient your sense of time and meaning and purpose. 

When this occurs, no matter what happens to the Christian that simple confidence of faith is never shaken. Christianity displaces the life of the Christian, it re-orients his sense of time, it re-orients his loves, it re-orients his commitments, it displaces secular time, and fills him with great joy, because it is durable through the trials, waves, temptations, storms, pains, and tragedies of life.

It’s durable not as an escape from time, but as a reformation of time, a re-orientation of time, through the Holy Trinity we are drawn into God’s sense of time and goodness and provision, and that sense is so much more trustworthy and durable and full than the day to day we used to experience that it grants us great contentment, because our contentment is re-oriented towards the kingdom of God.

This is the victory of the saints. His blessed assurance. Not well being, but a very intimate and loving God who intervenes and makes things well in this life and the one to come through his presence. This is the ark of rescue, and in this way Jesus makes a mockery of the sin, evil, and decay in this world.

Begins with the Daily Walk 

This victory is for the Christian, and it is accompanied by the prayers of desiring that closer walk.

Just a closer walk with you, that’s my plea. Jesus grant it, let it be. Daily drawing closer to thee. Let it be Lord, let it be.

Alexei Laushkin is Vice-President of the Evangelical Environmental Network,  a Board Member of the Kingdom Mission Society,  and writer of the Foolishconfidence blog. His views are his own. 

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On Forgiveness

If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven. (John 20:23)

These are words of life. Not just words that express some ideal, these are words to put the nature of sin in oneself to death by. We are to be marked by mercy, by grace, by our forgiveness.

When we begin to delve deeply into this passage on forgiveness we begin to feel the weight of our obligation before God and each other. As we dig into this passage, we can no longer carry the words that we are more prone to carry. Words of indifference. The indifference that characterized the grave act of sin between Cain and Abel, when Cain murdered his brother, ‘am I my brother’s keeper?’

We realize that in the new reality, the new covenant, the life that starts and finishes with the author of life,  forgiveness is not a concept to just be past over. Left for the unskilled and the uninterested parts of our life to attend to.

When Jesus says to ‘seek first the kingdom of God,’ he means seek first, make it of primary importance. The first thing you think about when you rise, the last thing when you sleep, and in the countless moments throughout the day orient your lives towards God and God’s ways. If you try you’ll find how hard it is to live this life, and it will drive you to repentance and from repentance and mourning into the grace of his forgiveness. When we experience that kind of forgiveness we dare not hold the debts against those who have sinned against us. We forgive and repent so that no root of bitterness might take root. There is no time for merriment apart from God, taking a break from his ways and only returning to them for prayer. There is no full way of being human apart from the life of faith.

Seek first the kingdom, means to be deeply inwardly changed. To have the wellspring of life transform you. Not to change yourself, but to have God do work that only He can do. It’s not simply the absence of sin and evil but the presence of Life and even Life evermore.

Before the Children of God are sent off to the wilderness there is this interesting promise in the Book of Exodus:

“He said, ‘If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you’ (Exodus 15:26).

The healer, the great physician, the God who does not change his character, his love or his nature. For in him we live in light ineffable.

Forgiveness removes us and our hurts from the center of the brokenness that we experience in our lives. Our need for forgiveness from God, reorients our experience of others. We are no longer the center of our own pain and wrongs committed on us, but instead we see ourselves as a fellow beggar in need of daily manna from heaven. It’s a type of humility that says if I were in the situation of another, I know that my character apart from God is of such a quality where I may have very well done the same. It makes us live into the reality that the only good things in this life are truly gifts from above, that apart from God we can do nothing.

So instead of things to be consumed, relationships become the gift of a good God. The maintenance and commitment of such a relationship depends on the Lord working in the relationship itself. If we are others oriented the Lord can use that to bring some remarkable and family like dynamics with those we love and are in relationship with. Apart from that we can still practice peace, patience, kindness, and the heavenly and holy fruits in all our relating, even if it is simply for a season.

Forgiveness is a balm that brings us into the reality of the frailty of others and our own frailty. True forgiveness frees us from ourselves and orients us back to the well-spring of Life which is Jesus.