As a child I loved walking with my father when he would take me along with him to the hardware store or to visit other locations. And when my wife and I were engaged and later married, we enjoyed walking together hand in hand. Later, when we became parents, we treasured the times we walked with our little daughter and son while holding their hands.
Walking together with someone in a spirit of harmony is gratifying and fulfilling. What about when it comes to a relationship with God? Is it possible to have such oneness with your Heavenly Father? How do you develop such a relationship if you’ve never had one—or if you have but it’s become less than fulfilling? Whatever your current situation is, it can be changed for the better. You can experience your Creator’s great desire for you to walk with Him in unity and peace.
Indeed, God seeks a very close relationship with you and wants only what is in your best interest (Deuteronomy 5:33; Psalm 20:4). To enjoy such a meaningful rapport with God, it will be essential for you to take some important actions.
It begins with your willingness to read God’s Word, the Bible, with a special emphasis on gaining a better understanding of His greatness, glory and goodness (Isaiah 42:5). Doing so can motivate you to want to walk with Him, as you come to grasp more and more how deeply He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Walking with God can be described as loving and respecting Him so much that you choose to follow His virtuous ways while rejecting all contrary ways (Psalm 1:1-3).
God’s word is a lamp, giving light where you walk
God is extremely pleased when you commit yourself to seeking Him and His way of life through the study of His divinely revealed knowledge and wisdom. The Bible says that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
The Bible shows us the way to go. Psalm 119:105 addresses God, declaring, “Your word is a lamp that gives light wherever I walk” (Contemporary English Version, emphasis added throughout). Also, King Solomon of ancient Israel penned: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
To walk with God, then, you need to acknowledge that He knows what is most important and be willing to trust in Him in every situation, no matter how troublesome (Proverbs 16:3). King David expressed it this way: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).
Not only does the Bible give you amazing insight about God and His righteousness, but it provides outstanding examples of individuals who diligently lived “the way of God” (Acts 18:26). For instance, the patriarchs Enoch and Noah “walked with God” (Genesis 5:22; 6:9). The Creator directed His faithful friend Abraham, “Walk before Me and be blameless” (Genesis 17:1; James 2:23). God called King David “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22).
A devoted priest named Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth (cousin of Mary, mother of Jesus), were described as “righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Luke 1:6). Also, Moses, Sarah, Rahab, the New Testament apostles and many others walked faithfully with God (see Hebrews 11).
Jesus Christ made it possible for you to walk with God
As you study the Scriptures you discover that your walk with God was made possible because Jesus Christ walked in complete harmony and unity with His Heavenly Father. Christ said, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38).
Jesus gave up the glory He formerly had with His Father to become a human being. Then as a relatively young man He freely laid down His life as a sacrifice for you, me and all people. The Bible explains that “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23), meaning every human being has disobeyed God’s commandments, and that as a result we have all earned the penalty of sin, which is death (Romans 6:23).
However, since “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16), is “full of mercy” (James 3:17) and is “not willing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9), He made it possible for you to be released from your sentence of death.
A well-known biblical passage tells us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Jesus suffered the punishment you and I deserved so that we could have the astonishing opportunity to obtain everlasting life (Romans 3:23-25; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
Having been restored to divine glory following His resurrection from the dead, Christ is now at the right hand of God the Father in heaven (1 Peter 3:22). As the living Head of His Church, Jesus leads into salvation all people who choose to follow God’s way of life (Colossians 1:18; Acts 4:12).
Repentance, baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit
Because of God’s great love, righteousness and patience, He graciously directs you to an exciting, life-altering decision (Romans 2:4). This involves your willingness to personally accept Jesus Christ’s sacrifice by repenting of your sins and committing yourself to obey God’s commandments.
Repentance means that you come to see yourself as a sinner, are deeply remorseful of that flawed condition and want to entirely change the way you think and act going forward. Moreover, you earnestly want God to create within you a “clean heart” and “loyal spirit” (Psalm 51:10, New Living Translation) so that you can turn away from wrongdoing to obedience to God’s laws.
In this you must develop and exercise faith in God—trusting Him for forgiveness and for His help to walk in His ways, confident in the wonderful future He intends for you and all who will walk with Him. (To learn more, be sure to read our free study guide You Can Have Living Faith.)
Following close behind repentance and faith toward God is baptism—complete immersion in water—indicating you have fully accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for your sins. It represents the death and burial of your former way of life, symbolically washed away in the baptismal water. Then, your rising out of the water is emblematic of a resurrection to a new, robust life in Christ. As the apostle Paul writes in Romans 6:4, “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
The next step after baptism in the biblical conversion process is the laying on of hands by one or more of God’s ordained ministers (Acts 19:6; 8:14-17). That’s when God gives you the wonderful gift of His Holy Spirit (Acts 19:6; 2:38), which will guide your mind, attitude and actions toward godliness and away from sin and selfishness.
Rather than the Holy Spirit being a third person in a trinity, as many think, the Bible reveals it to be the very essence of God’s power, mind and nature (Micah 3:8; 2 Timothy 1:7). God’s Spirit helps you to be transformed into a person who has an intense desire and motivation to “walk according to His commandments” (2 John 1:6).
God’s Holy Spirit aids you in thinking and acting as Jesus did—having the very “mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). It helps you resist sin and overcome wrong habits. (To learn more, download or request our free study guides What You Need to Know About Baptism and Is God a Trinity?)
To be sure, nothing God asks of you will be too hard to achieve once you have His awesome spiritual strength working within you (Romans 8:26-28). Paul prayed “that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him . . . the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 1:19-20, NLT).
Walk as Jesus walked by keeping the commandments
Through God’s Spirit you not only can love and be devoted to God, but you also gain an eagerness to obey His laws—laws He designed as a blessing and benefit for you. This involves accepting the Ten Commandments as the foundation of your life and actions. God inspired His prophet Jeremiah to write: “But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you’” (Jeremiah 7:23).
When a person asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus answered, “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17). Jesus also said: “Who-ever has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him” (John 14:21, Berean Study Bible).
The apostle John wrote of following Christ: “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:3-6).
The apostle Peter similarly wrote, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21). Regarding God’s commandments, Paul stated, “The law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12). He also wrote, “I delight in the law of God” (verse 22).
Therefore, just like Jesus and His apostles, walking with God and following in Christ’s footsteps involve your readiness to embrace all God has commanded us. That includes observing the weekly biblical seventh-day Sabbath (Friday sunset to Saturday sunset), as well as God’s annual festivals, such as the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Walking with God also means you need to forsake holidays and customs derived from pagan religion, as God says not to worship Him that way (Deuteronomy 12:29-32; Jeremiah 10:2-5; Colossians 2:8). Rather, the Creator inspired the prophet Ezekiel to write: “I am the Lord your God: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgments, and do them; hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God” (Ezekiel 20:19-20).
Walking humbly with your God
Walking with God also involves another significant spiritual quality—that of humility. God is delighted when you “walk humbly” with Him in harmony and gratitude (Micah 6:8). Humility is truly the foundation of the ongoing and fulfilling relationship you can have with your Creator (2 Chronicles 7:14; 1 Peter 5:6). God says, “But on this one will I look: on him who is poor [here meaning humble] and of a contrite [or repentant] spirit, and who trembles at My word’” (Isaiah 66:2).
Imagine having such a friend and ally! Visualize being supported and sustained by the invincible Architect of the universe, who knows how to perfectly escort you through life’s peaks and valleys!
King David wrote, “The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way” (Psalm 25:9). Plus, God offers you a future beyond compare in His coming divine Kingdom (Revelation 12:10). “For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation” (Psalm 149:4).
What won’t God do for you if you wholeheartedly reject sin and are “clothed with humility”? (Proverbs 12:28; 1 Peter 5:5). He says, “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit” (Isaiah 57:15).
Building an enduring personal relationship with God
As you walk with God by obeying His commandments, it’s crucial that you also work at building a strong, enduring personal relationship with Him. Your future in His divine family requires His ongoing involvement and help.
After God calls you to understand His truth, He wants you to be proactive in advancing your relationship with Him by communicating regularly with Him—studying the Bible to learn what He has to teach you and praying regularly to Him (Ephesians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:17). Your life will then be blessed according to this exceptional promise: “Come close to God, and God will come close to you” (James 4:8, NLT).
Most assuredly, your Heavenly Father loves to hear what you have to say! “Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you” (Jeremiah 29:12). To emphasize this point the apostle John wrote: “And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for” (1 John 5:14-15, NLT).
Walk while you have the light
Sadly, humanity in general has rejected a relationship with God and shunned the life-giving light of truth He offers in the Bible. Many people have chosen to walk without His instruction and guidance, leaving them in misery, despair and distress.
In lamenting this terrible condition, the prophet Jeremiah prayed to God, “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). In the same vein, the prophet Hosea wrote of those “oppressed and broken in judgment” because they “walked by human precept” (Hosea 5:11). But it doesn’t have to be this way for you!
Hosea further declared: “May those who are wise understand what is written here, and may they take it to heart. The Lord’s ways are right, and righteous people live by following them, but sinners stumble and fall because they ignore them” (Hosea 14:9, Good News Translation).
Jesus Christ urges you to “walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going” (John 12:35). Don’t ignore this opportunity. As Isaiah wrote, “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6). Consider this invitation. What are you going to do? Will you choose to walk with God?