A Closer Walk with Christ Part 2 by Steve Douglass
Last week Judy shared with you what she presented at a seminar at our recent U.S. staff conference. This week I would like to pass on to you what I shared in the seminar. The topic was “A Closer Walk with Christ.”
Here are four lessons I have learned through the years:
1. Walking/Praying Continually
2. Casting Your Cares on Him
3. Being Open To His Opportunities
4. Trusting Him Beyond What Is Realistic
Even though Christ is continually with us day-by-day, we often totally ignore Him. How sad! The supernatural God of the universe created us to have fellowship with Him, but hours and even days can go by without our having conversations with Him.
That is not how David operated: “I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8)
That is also why Paul exhorts us: “Rejoice in the Lord always…Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (From Philippians 4: 4-6)
Your question might be “How can I do that in the midst of my busy life?” Well, as you listen to what others are saying, etc. statistics show that every 10 or 11 seconds your mind will drift some. Our mind can function much faster than a person can speak. So, when you drift, let your “first stop” be God.
In other words, involve God consciously in real time in everything that is happening in and around you. Pray for wisdom, peace or grace in your attitude or whatever else relates to what you are hearing, seeing and thinking.
Granted, you may not attain to the high standard of every 10 to 11 seconds. But, even if you only do that every 10–11 minutes, you won’t go long without communicating with and relating to God. This is foundational to the next three points.
Casting Your Cares on Him
As you are talking to God about things going on in your life, no doubt specific concerns will be topics of some of your conversations. Often, concerns can linger in your mind and, at times, cause increasing anxiety. One of the great benefits to involving God in your life continually is that He is available to take our concerns and replace them with peace—even before a final solution occurs.
In I Peter 5:7 we read, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” In the verse after the passage I quoted in the previous point, we are told the result of praying about everything etc. is: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
As I observed Bill Bright’s walk with God I saw him cast his cares on the Lord all the time. Sometimes the problems he faced were huge. But he would regularly say, “I have no problems.” His point was that once he cast his anxieties on the Lord, he could feel the burdens shift from his shoulders to God’s shoulders. So the problems were God’s to solve, and he was just available to God to help.
Being Open To His Opportunities
God has opportunities, especially prepared for each of us. Ephesians 2:10 tells us: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” The problem is that sometimes we don’t even recognize God’s opportunities for us—or, at times, we are even reluctant to pursue them.
For example, in the Spring of 1983, the chairperson of the Arthur S. De Moss foundation challenged me to give direction to an evangelistic media campaign they were hoping to do in response to The Year of the Bible. On one hand, I was humbled. On the other hand I was extremely busy with work and had two daughters born within the previous three years. I was reluctant to commute from the Los Angeles area to Philadelphia every other week for the next seven or eight months.
However, as Judy and I prayed about it, we realized this was an extraordinary opportunity from God. We sensed it was His will that I redeem this opportunity as we are exhorted to do in Ephesians 5:15-16: “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.…”
As you walk with God continuously, you can simply ask Him, “Is this opportunity from You?” If He says “yes,” don’t pass it by, even if there are some challenges. In fact, a rather simple view of how to conduct our lives is to walk with God and do whatever He shows us to do.
Trusting Him Beyond What Is Realistic
God wants us to trust Him for things beyond what we can accomplish in our own strength. For one reason, we can’t take the credit, so God receives the glory.
Two of my favorite verses are Ephesians 3:20-21: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus….”
The mention of “his power that is at work within us” seems to reference Paul’s prayer a few verses earlier that: …he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” (Ephesians 3:16)
The point is that God is able to and intending to do supernatural things through us as he gives us the power of the Holy Spirit. One memorable example of this occurred a few years ago.
My assistant and I were driving from the U.S. staff conference in Fort Collins, Colorado to my daughter’s home in the Denver, Colorado area. I sensed God wanted us to stop at a particular Subway restaurant along the way. We did have some correspondence and other work to do, but there seemed to be something more God had in mind.
As I was going through the line at Subway to tell the “sandwich builder” what I wanted, I felt a nudge from God to minister to her in some way. There wasn’t much time, but I asked if I could give her a copy of a book I wrote, Enjoying Your Walk With God. Nicole accepted the book and my assistant and I sat down at a table to get our work done.
Six or seven minutes later Nicole came up to our table, weeping. Here is what she said: “Last night I tried to take my life. Obviously I failed. Your giving me this book about God convinces me He doesn’t want me to take my life! Thank you for saving my life.”
Only God could have orchestrated that! But that and much more is what He wants to see happen through us, as we walk closely and continuously with Him and redeem the wonderful, supernatural opportunities He gives to us.
What about you? Which of these approaches might be most helpful to you?
You can listen to the seminar here.
C2019 Judy Douglass
Steve Douglass is certainly one of my favorite people. I find him smart, funny, humble, godly, creative, hardworking, kind. He is so good at living, loving, leading, fixing, solving and serving. He’s a wonderful husband, father and granddad. And he lives out what he just wrote about. Oh yes, he went to MIT, HBS and leads Cru/CCCI.