Every year at this time of the year I find myself going through the same kinds of emotions.
The emotion I feel the most is anticipation. This is the season for anticipation. I don’t care whether you are a follower of the Buckeyes or the Philadelphia Phillies or any other sports team, these days are pretty exciting.
But this time of the year is also election “season”. And, just like sports seasons, in the political realm, there are numerous races to be decided. But unlike sports, in the political arena, every one of us has a voice in how the race is won.
I have a question for each of us to consider this week: How do you decide for whom you will cast your vote? Is it whoever is the best looking? Or the best talking? Or whoever has the best ads on television?
May I suggest a different criterion for the candidates to garner our votes?
I desire one thing in our leaders and that is that they walk with God. While not directly applying to American politics, the principles set forth in 2 Chronicles 7:14 are very apropos to our country’s greatest needs right now: “…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
In other words, my heart and the Word of God tell me that we as a nation need to stand for righteousness above all else. That means we walk with God.
In Genesis 5:24, we read of one man, a man named Enoch, who, we are told, “walked with God.” Now when I ask people what that means, most will quote me a poem like “Footprints in the Sand” which refers to Christ carrying us through the hard times.
And while the point of that poem is true, that Christ does carry us through the hard times, even when we think He has deserted us to fend for ourselves, I think there is a better illustration of what it means to walk with God. Stuart Briscoe, in a message entitled “Why Christ Had to Die,” puts it this way:
“Many years ago when the children were small, we went for a little drive in the lovely English countryside, and there was some fresh snow. I saw a lovely field with not a single blemish on the virgin snow. I stopped the car, and I vaulted over the gate, and I ran around in a great big circle striding as wide as I could. Then I came back to the kids, and I said, “Now, children, I want you to follow in my footsteps. So I want you to run around that circle in the snow, and I want you to put your feet where your father put his feet.”
Well, David tried and couldn’t quite make it. Judy, our overachiever, was certain she would make it; she couldn’t make it. Pete, the little kid, took a great run at it, put his foot in my first footprint, and then strode out as far as he could and fell on his face. His mother picked him up as he cried.
She said to me, “What are you trying to do?”
I said, “I’m trying to get a sermon illustration.”
I said, “Pete, come here.” I picked up little Peter and put his left foot on my foot, and I put his right foot on my foot. I said, “Okay, Pete, let’s go.” I began to stride one big stride at a time with my hands under his armpits and his feet lightly on mine.
Well, who was doing it? In a sense, he was doing it because I was doing it. In a sense, there was a commitment of the little boy to the big dad, and some of the properties of the big dad were working through the little boy.”
In exactly the same way, in our powerlessness, we can’t stride as wide as we should. We don’t walk the way we should. We don’t hit the target the way we ought.
We are not, indeed we cannot be as righteous as we should be. It isn’t that at every point we are as bad as we could be. It’s just that at no point are we as good as we should be. Something’s got to be done.
And that something was that Christ HAD to die for you and for me! And as we submit to Him, He will pick us up so that we can walk with Him the way we should. No, our legs are not able to stretch that far – but his are. Our stride is not that great – but His is!
I cannot put it any better than Oswald Chambers:
“The true test of a person’s spiritual life and character is not what he does in the extraordinary moments of life, but what he does during the ordinary times when there is nothing tremendous or exciting happening. A person’s worth is revealed in his attitude toward the ordinary things of life when he is not under the spotlight. It is painful work to get in step with God and to keep pace with Him—it means getting your second wind spiritually. In learning to walk with God, there is always the difficulty of getting into His stride, but once we have done so, the only characteristic that exhibits itself is the very life of God Himself. The individual person is merged into a personal oneness with God, and God’s stride and His power alone are exhibited.”
God is calling us as a nation to get in step with Him. But even more importantly, He is calling each of us as individuals to get in step with Him!
So keep up the pace, get in step, and walk with God – now!
God bless …
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at [email protected] .