Posted by: rcottrill | June 12, 2013

Just a Closer Walk

Words: (source unknown)
Music: (source unknown)

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: This is an old African American spiritual whose exact origins seem to have been lost. It was possibly a slave song in the southern United States, in pre-Civil War days. It continued to be used in black churches into the twentieth century, and was sung by southern gospel quartets in the 1940’s. Around 1956 Elvis Presley made a recording of the number, achieving record sales with it. Soon dozens of secular artists were adding it to their repertoire, and it has become a standard.

Usually, when a religious song receives such wide acceptance, it’s because there is little to it–no doctrinal depth, or strong Bible teaching that would limit its appeal. This one is no exception. There is nothing here about salvation through faith in Christ, or other important truths. But that does not mean it’s without value. The lyric, though simple, reflects a sincere and heartfelt love for the Lord, and a humble recognition of human weakness.

In cosmic terms, earth is close to our sun. Though they are 93 million miles apart, out where most distances are measured in light years, that is not far at all. And the same relativity is true when the word is applied to human relationships. We may live close to our neighbours geographically, and still not be close emotionally. Perhaps we might even confess concerning a relative who has died, “We were never close,” meaning not on intimate terms.

Friendship. A close friendship will be marked by such things as: mutual respect and love, trust in the loyalty of the other person, freedom to share our thoughts and dreams, and a determination to stick together and help one another any way we can.

Sometimes friendships like that can form a stronger bond than blood ties. As the Bible puts it, “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24)–closer even than the members of one’s own family. Ruth experienced that kind of bond with her mother-in-law Naomi. “Ruth clung to her” and determined to go with her wherever she went (Ruth 1:14, 16-17).

The Israelites were commanded, “You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast [keep close] to Him” (Deut. 13:4). As those words suggest, there is a link between closeness to God and adhering to the precepts of His Word.

In spiritual terms, this has an application to our relationship with the Lord today. As Christians, we should “walk by faith, not by sight” (II Cor. 5:7). And we are to “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). Such exhortations describe a life of trust in God, and one that is conformed to His Word and will. This is accomplished as we “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16), responsive to, and enabled by Him. And as John says of his readers, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (III Jn. 1:4).

In a psalm we read, “I cling to Your testimonies [referring to God’s laws]” (Ps. 119:31). And King David wrote of God, “My soul follows close behind You” (Ps. 63:8; cf. I Jn. 1:7). It is a poetic picture of faith and obedience, and of intimate fellowship. A longing for that kind of relationship should infuse the heart of each child of God. If we truly love Him, and know our deep need, we should want to walk with Him in ever closer friendship and fellowship.

CH-1) I am weak, but Thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

CH-2) Through this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.

From earliest times, great saints have walked closely with God in that way. Enoch did, and Noah too (Gen. 5:22; 6:9). It is a walk that should continue on through time into God’s eternal day.

CH-3) When my feeble life is o’er,
Time for me will be no more;
Guide me gently, safely o’er
To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.

1) How would you summarize the important qualities of the Christian walk?

2) What are the main obstacles and hindrances to a consistent Christian walk?

Wordwise Hymns (none)
The Cyber Hymnal


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