Walking in the Ways of the Lord
By Dr. Tom Walker
Ps 119:1-5 says, “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!”
The phrase “way of the Lord” is mentioned sixteen times in the Word of God. The plural form “ways of the Lord” is mentioned six times in the Bible. Since it is mentioned so many times it must be of great importance.
Men have their ways and means but God’s ways are always the best.
Here is what God says about his ways in Isaiah 55:7-9: “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” God generally thinks differently than we do. I believe that is fairly easy to explain why that is so. God is eternal and has all knowledge and all wisdom. There is no past, present, or future with God for in His sovereignty He sees it all at one time.
You and I only see clearly the present moment and are so limited in our knowledge when we compare ourselves and our thinking to God. In addition, we are influenced in our thinking by an old nature that we did not rid ourselves of when we were saved. The old nature with its tendencies seems to taint how we see things in life.
When you compare the fact that God has no sin tendency and that He possesses all knowledge and wisdom, we can understand why His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways.
From our text, we can see several factors involved in walking in the ways of the Lord. We must be convinced from the very beginning of our consideration that God’s way is always the best, even if our old nature wants to question the ways of the Lord.
Let’s see what is involved in walking in the ways of the Lord from our text.
It Involves Purity
“undefiled in the way” “do no iniquity”
The ways of the Lord always involve purity. We must remember that God is infinitely holy. Many theologians have called holiness the chief attribute or characteristic of God. That is proven in God giving his Son, the Lord Jesus to die for the sinner. God could not let the sinner go free unless a price was paid for his redemption. Somehow man has to become holy to go to Heaven. How does God bring that about? When a sinner repents and believes in the Lord Jesus Christ, the righteousness of God is imputed to his account. Here is a proof verse that substantiates that truth. 2 Corinthians 5:21 clearly says: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Since God is holy and man is unrighteous in a state of sin and iniquity, people had to be recognized as holy to go to Heaven. What happens when we exert saving faith. Positionally, we become perfect in the eyes of God through the sacrifice of His darling Son when our faith rests in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Hebrew word for “undefiled” means to be “sound, wholesome, innocent and having integrity”. In the King James translation of the Bible, this same word is translated 44 times as “without blemish”, 18 times as “perfect”, 8 times as “upright”, and 6 times as “without spot.” If you are walking in the ways of the Lord, you are living an upright life that is not plagued with worldliness and carnality. When people can rightly point a finger at your life and point out places where you have allowed sin to be a part of your daily walk, you are failing to walk in the ways of the Lord. We do not owe this world system around us anything, but we do owe the Lord everything.
The word “iniquity” is interesting. If we see how a word is translated in its various ways in the King James Version, it reveals a great deal about the meaning of a word. This particular word is translated as “iniquity” 36 times, “wickedness” 7 times, “unrighteousness” 3 times, and “unjust” 2 times. The broad usage of that word and the various ways it is translated gives us a good picture of what is involved in iniquity. One thing is sure, whatever iniquity is it can translate into the idea of wickedness.
There is no debate or question that walking in the ways of the Lord involves being undefiled in our living. That means avoiding and refusing wickedness. We are tempted by evil because we have a depraved nature. God’s people need to learn to say “No” to all that is ungodly which tempts us along life’s pathway. It is not a sin to be tempted, but it is a sin when we give in to the enticement to sin and fall prey to it.
It Involves Practice
“keep His testimonies” “keep thy precepts” “keep thy statutes”
It is not enough to be a hearer of the Word of God but a doer of it. James 1:22-24 exhorts us– “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.”
There are three very important words I need to bring to your attention. Those words are testimonies, precepts, and statutes. However you may try to make a distinction between those three terms, it is certain they all refer to the contents of the Bible. If you are going to walk in the ways of the Lord, then you cannot ignore the Word of God. Doing what the Bible tells you to do should be of the utmost importance in your life.
Obeying the word of God is a definite sign of conversion. Jesus said, “If ye love me keep my commandments” (John 14:15). It is through our obedience to the Lord’s commands that we prove our love for Him. It is one thing to say we love Him, and another to prove we love Him by doing what He says for us to do.
Here is an interesting quote from Dr. Vance Havner: “When and to whom did our Lord say that He would make Himself real? Not in ecstatic visions or in some great meeting—but to them that love Him and keep His commandments (John 14:21). It is on the ordinary, everyday road of obedience that we really get acquainted with the Lord.” God does reveal Himself to his obedient children
“Seek Him with the whole heart”
Jeremiah 29:13 promises us that if we seek God with “with the whole heart” we will find Him. I believe to seek the Lord with all our heart means to seek a close relationship with the Lord. It involves seeking the Lord’s will above your own. It is seeking God’s guidance and His wisdom.
God loves us more than anything else He created, so we are to love Him back and love Him more than anything or anyone else.
Paul put it this way in Philippians 3:10—“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.”
God would not ask us to walk in His ways if it were an impossibility. Through the inward strength, God provides through His Spirit, we can walk in the ways of God.