The Walk of a Christian should be “Onward”.
1 John 2:12-14 “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.
I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
I have written unto you fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.”
Here, the Apostle John is writing to the Church; and to the different spiritual ages of believers in the Church.
Some are little children in the faith. They know the Father through Jesus Christ their Lord, and their sins are forgiven.
Some are young men in the faith. Overcoming by the Name of the Lord, and becoming stronger in the faith; leading others on in it.
Some are fathers in the faith. They have experienced the life of faith through trial and joys, and can show forth the knowledge of God; Who He is and what He will do for a believer.
These are the stages of the Christian walk:
The child stage, the servant stage, the warrior stage, and the elder’s stage of union and communion.
Genesis 17:1 “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.”
Though Abram was ninety-nine, he was still a babe in walking with God. He had much to learn, so God comforts him with His Name.
“I am the Almighty God”, what a comfort to Abram, who was living with his family among the unbelieving nations of Canaan.
“Walk before me”, is as a child before his Father, would walk and run ahead, playing in the presence of his Father; conscious of his safety and security, because his Father is just behind him. This is the child stage of our walk.
Then he tells him to “walk before me, and be thou perfect.” In the scriptures, when perfection is mentioned it means complete, or to be finished. Perfection, then for Abram, meant that he was to walk before God, and complete the purpose God had for him.
(Of course, perfection for God, is His completeness in Holiness, Power, Grace, and every attribute! He is Sinless, and Complete in Himself….Perfect.)
As children of God, we are to grow in grace, and the knowledge of God. This Abram was called to do, and so is everyone who believes.
2 Peter 3:18 “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”
We are to walk before as children, and grow.
But some never leave this stage. They want to remain children, taken care of, never having any responsibilities: just seen to.
This, God never intends. He want us to walk through life with Him.
Yes, it is step by step. And the steps may be small; but it should always be forward.
The Next stage is covered by “young men, who are strong and overcoming”.
This does not just happen. We grow in grace (the unmerited favor of power), and by the knowledge we gain, and apply to our own lives, we become strong in faith.
But it happens in two stages: first, there is the servant stage.
This begins as we realize our calling, or He calls us to follow Him. (Usually this is in some specific thing, where He calls us to obey Him, and come after Him, and not the world.)
Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
To learn to deny ourselves is the servant stage.
We “walk after”, as a servant following his Master, being told to do; and yes, at times, to our shame, being made to do.
We must learn this, or we do not grow up into Him and have more of His light of life.
John 8:12 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the Light of the world, he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
If we will not obey Him, we do not love Him.
John 14:21 “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”
Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”
No, we can not walk with Jesus, if we will not agree with Him.
So, as a servant, we learn these “agreements”, for our lives.
If He rules within our hearts, then we will agree with His paths, and ways for our lives.
If we like stubborn children, do not agree, we stop all progress forward, and can, in some cases, go backward.
Jeremiah 3:14 “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord;…”
Or as in the case of the Corinthians:
1 Corinthians 3:1-3 “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as babes in Christ.
I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?”
The Corinthians Church was “behind in no gift” (1 Corinthians 1:7); but refused to grow up. “Carnal” means fleshly, or childish behavior.
The servant stage is a time of learning we are completely dependent upon God, while using everything He gives us to His glory, and not our own.
These are hard lessons for proud men and women, but necessary, for God to trust us with His power.
He will not empower rebels, or children.
He will empower those who continue to grow up into Him, and continue to obey (despite many failures), and continue to follow Him(despite the trials, and temptations of their way).
Which leads us to the second half of the “young men who are strong and overcome” stage:
Becoming soldiers, and walking with as friends.
To do this we need to “Quench not the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19)
“Quench” means to put out the fire of the Holy Spirit within you. To choke Him when He impresses you to do something.
(Oh, that can’t be for me. No, I don’t think I should do that now.). These, and other thoughts or attitudes, “quench” or “stifle” the Holy Spirit.
(When the Lord showed me that I was quenching the Holy Spirit, I said, Yes, I was doing it; but what was I to do about it?
Then He showed me that the answer was in the verse up above. It is right up there, He said.)
1 Thessalonians 5:18 “In everything give thanks: for this the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
To give thanks for everything; to accept, as from the Father’s Hand all that comes to you. This is to quench not the Spirit.
To become friends, we need to know what God wants us to do, by His Holy Spirit within. (Whether He uses Scripture, Preachings, or an internal Voice; He speaks, and we need to obey.)
John 15:14-15 “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Henceforth I call ye not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends, for all things I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
To become soldiers, we need to stand. For this is how we overcome. We hold the ground won for us by Christ Jesus. We hold; not go out and take territory; But hold on to what Christ, by His Victory, on the Cross, has won for us (individually, and as a Church).
Ephesians 6:10-11 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”
We stand, as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, against the tricks and temptations of the devil, the world system, and the weakness of the flesh. (That is why we need His might, and His armor)
2 Timothy 2:3-4 “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
Then there is the father stage, or the elders of the faith: Those who have known Him that is from the beginning.
These have come through many battles, and are still standing. They know–and this is the word that is stressed for them–they know Him.
They have been born again, and as children of God, sought to grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ.
They have learned to know His Will for themselves, and obeyed.
They have learned to stand, leaning heavily on the Lord’s Arm of Strength, and fight the good fight of faith.
And they continue to know Him, Whom to know aright(in all the circumstances of life) is to have Eternal Life. Eternal Life is a condition of Life, now and for eternity. God’s Life within your life.
Here are the stages of our walk onward. And it is a Progressive Walk, with Christ.
Onward! “Hold fast till I come” (Revelation 2:25)