The Meaning of Success
Success is walking with GOD in a close relationship. The earliest narrative in the Bible about success is to be found in the example of Enoch (Gen 5:22 & 24). The acid test for admission into heaven (as stated by Christ) would be whether, by the end of our lives, we had built up a meaningful relationship with Christ (Matt 7:22 & 23).If we have no relationship with Christ, we would be cast off by Him forever into hell. We would then prove to be eternal failures.
The life of Enoch
Enoch was mentioned in Genesis (twice for emphasis), as “walking with GOD”. He was NOT subjected to death. This was unlike his ancestors, who were reported to have merely existed. Enoch’s was the 7th generation from Adam, through Adam’s son, Seth. The number seven in biblical literature had spiritual significance. Enoch stood in contrast to Lamech, also a descendant of Adam in the 7th generation but through the lineage of Adam’s son, Cain the murderer (Gen 4:18-24). Lamech himself was a murderer who killed an attacker, and also killed a boy, for striking him (Gen 4:23 & 24).He appeared quite self-assured about his brutish standing. His is the first record in the Bible of bigamy (Gen 4:19). Clearly, Enoch stands out from the violent and carnal side of the family bloodline and in particular, from his contemporary relative, Lamech.
Three critical things may be said about Enoch
Firstly, there were no detailed commandments recorded as having been given to him. All Enoch had to do was to be in very close relationship with GOD. Relationship is the most important thing: “love GOD and do as you please,” wrote St Augustine. This is the one all-embracing commandment as affirmed by Christ in Matt 22:37& 38, to love GOD with our whole self. Once we love GOD totally, everything else follows naturally. The phrase “Enoch walked with GOD” in the Hebrew text was translated in the Septuagint (the Old Testament in Greek) to read “Enoch pleased GOD”. That sums up Enoch’s standing and success with GOD—he pleased GOD.
Secondly, the Epistle to the Hebrews included Enoch in its roll call of faith. GOD’s taking Enoch to heaven without death was the result of Enoch’s faith. Without faith it is impossible to please GOD. Enoch was the example used in Scripture to define the substance of faith. Only when we believe that GOD exists as He is, and believe that He reveals Himself to those who seek Him, would we be able to find GOD (Heb 11:5 & 6; Jer 29:13).
Contrary to widespread misconception, faith is NOT believing blindly: we believe in the one true GOD whom we know personally and He is then pleased with us.
Thirdly, we read in Jude 14 & 15 about Enoch exercising a prophetic ministry. This was his warning that the LORD would come with His heavenly hosts on judgement day to punish all those associated with ungodliness. True prophets walk with GOD. It is by walking with GOD that they are familiar with the thoughts and plans of GOD and are therefore able to pass these on to GOD’s people. False prophets walk with the world. That is why they end up directing our self-fulfillment of the ego and our lusts.
Noah and Abraham also walked with GOD (Gen 6:9; 17:1-3) but they underwent death. Other than Enoch, only Elijah was to be taken up by GOD (2 Ki 2:11). The concept that eternal death can be overcome is introduced for the first time through Enoch’s ascension.
Enoch’s spiritual walk with GOD
Various bible teachers and preachers have highlighted the accompanying portrait of what Enoch’s walk with GOD meant and the lessons that Enoch’s life holds out for us. These are as follows:
- Pleasing to GOD
Enoch (and therefore all of us) are enabled to walk in a pleasing relationship with GOD. This is because we are made in GOD’s likeness (Gen 1:27).Thus we can access our relationship to GOD and have it restored by walking with Him. The agencies of Christ and the Holy Spirit are able to penetrate our spiritual lives for us to return to GOD, our Father (John 16:7-11).
This link between Enoch’s walk and being made in the image of GOD is highlighted by T J Cole in “Enoch a man who walked with GOD”, Bibliotheca Sacra No 148 (July – September 1991) p 293, Dallas Theological Seminary.
Donald Guthrie, in the Tyndale commentary on Hebrews, observed that, “what is striking about Enoch is that he stood above the corruption of his age” (p 229). Enoch was unique amongst his contemporaries in being singled out for his integrated relationship with GOD and his separation from the sin of his time.
This is a lesson for us to meditate on, and an example for us to follow. There was nothing special given to Enoch: he, like Lamech, had the same options open to him—but Enoch opted for the better alternative, and this was the commitment to serve GOD whole-heartedly.
- Trusting GOD
Thomas Whitelaw (Editor) in the Eerdmans Pulpit Commentary on Genesis (1961) makes the point that walking with GOD means, amongst other things, trusting GOD like a child does. This is the belief that his father would be true to the role (p 101).Our Father has instituted a plan for our eternal salvation before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4-8). Walking with GOD enables our eternal redemption through that very plan.
- Live in Christ
Andrew Murray in The Holiest of All calls on us to “learn with Enoch to walk with GOD, the walk of faith.” He continues, “Let the presence of GOD be thy one desire; the will of GOD thy one choice; the help of GOD thy one trust; the likeness to GOD be thy one hope. Let every day be a day with GOD as one of the days of heaven on earth, a day of faith from beginning to end” (p 432).
Murray, in effect, was echoing John 15:4-8, about living in Christ and His words, thereby making ourselves relevant and thus glorifying GOD.
- Active Faith & Communion
Charles Spurgeon made a four-point assessment from Enoch’s life. Spurgeon’s points were as follows:
i) Our religious life does not depend on feelings, but on faith;
ii) We require a realising faith: our faith is not a matter of just belief on the shelf but a faith in action;
iii) We are to be constantly in communion (communication) with GOD;
iv) Our communion/communication with GOD must be familiar: we are to know GOD to the extent that He knows us—a repeat of Matthew 7:23.
Spurgeon raised these points with a reading of Psalm 119:35-56 in Sermon 1307, Volume 22.
- Dead to the World
Matthew Henry included the comment that to walk with GOD is to set Him before us. Keeping the requirements in GOD’s word becomes our rule and fulfilling GOD’s glory becomes the aim of all our actions. We are to be dead to the world, he notes, and to walk with GOD, as though we were in heaven (Concise Commentary, p 16).
- Life dedicated to GOD
C J Kistemaker in the Baker Academic Commentary on Hebrews speaks of Enoch showing us a life of true dedication to GOD (p 316).This example is for us to follow, with a complete commitment to GOD and not for the needs of the self.
The singular obsession with our carnal needs whilst living in the world only reverses the roles: we then foolishly expect GOD to be completely at our every beck and call, as though man is sovereign.
Walking with GOD
Thus, walking with GOD, based on the study of Enoch’s life with GOD, includes as follows:
- Having a dedicated commitment, continually and constantly in relationship with GOD, trusting Him and pleasing Him;
- Living and abiding in Christ through faith, instead of through our feelings;
- Knowing Christ completely in person, as opposed to having mere head-knowledge of Him;
- Being dead to the world by living above the corruption of the age;
- Being ruled by the word of GOD;
- Conducting our lives on earth as though we were living in heaven;
- Having GOD’s glorification as our aim and enjoying Him forever.
Scriptural Directions on walking
The Bible warns us against walking in darkness and requires us instead, to walk in the light (Ps 82:5; Prov 2:13; Acts 26:17&18; Eph 5:8; 1 Jn 1:6 &7). Light and darkness in the Bible are not mere contrasting concepts. They are terribly harsh and fundamental spiritual realities that some of us need to know more about. However, we may have had very little experience of such realities. Some of us erroneously believe that we are able to act in what we consider to be neutral ground. The fact of the matter is that there is no such thing as neutral ground between heaven and hell. In the beginning, there was darkness and light was the first creation by GOD (Gen 1:2 & 3). Salvation is seen as moving from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to GOD. Light and darkness in the Bible are more than metaphors; they are spiritual realities with grave consequences for us all.
We should remember that GOD walks in us (Lev 26:12; 2 Cor 6:16). As such, our own walk with GOD is readily available to us.
Scripture has many guidelines on walking with GOD. The following are a representative selection of them:
- Walk in a manner worthy of the LORD and to please Him — Col 1: 10 and 1 Thess 4:1;
- Walk in GOD’s commands — Deut 5:33;
- Walk in GOD’s ways — Ps 128:1;
- Walk in the fear of the LORD — Neh 5:9;
- Walk in GOD’s name — Micah 4:5;
- Walk in Christ — Col 2:6;
- Walk by the Holy Spirit’s instructions — Gal 5:16;
- Walk according to the Holy Spirit and not according to the flesh — Rom 8:1-4 ;
- Walk by faith and not by sight — 2 Cor 5:7;(whatever that is not from faith is sin — Rom14:23);
- Walk in integrity — Ps 15:2, 26:11;Prov 2:7, 20:7;
- Walk in truth — Ps 26:3, 86:11;
- Do not walk in the counsel of the wicked — Ps 1:1;
- Do not walk in the results of futile intellect/thinking — Eph 4:17;
- Do not walk after the stubbornness of an evil heart — Jer 3:17.
- Do not walk after what deceit entices us with — Job 31:5.
In our walk through life, we all have access to the same options as Enoch and Lamech did: whether to walk with GOD or not to. The one leads to success, the other to failure. Enoch took the better option all the way, and so should we if we have not done so.
NOTE: Tony Dibble worships at Endeavour Christian Gathering (ECG), in Perth, Western Australia. Prior to this, he was attending the Church of Our Holy Saviour (COHS), in Labuan, East Malaysia. When in Kuala Lumpur, he worships and preaches at Faith Oasis Fellowship (FOF) Subang Jaya, Selangor.
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