Inspired by Spirit #6: keep in step with the Spirit
When each one of us became a follower of Jesus, we were born into a new life, a new way of living. This new life is the way human beings were intended to live, were created to live. Living life to the full inspired by the Spirit is what it means to be fully human.
However, as we’ve seen in this series to this point, it’s all too easy to revert to our old ways of living. We know what the right choice is, the choice that leads to life and yet so often, we find ourselves making the wrong choice. Since the moment that human beings decided to go their own way instead of God’s, as related in the Adam and Eve narrative, that battle has been raging within each human being. There’s something within us that tries to lead us off the path that leads to life and entices us down the path that leads to destruction, the way that undermines our physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing, that damages our connection with ourselves, others and God.
Paul calls this way of living as gratifying the desires of the flesh and in Galatians 5:19-21 (The Message), Paul describes what this way of living leads to:-
- repetitive, loveless, cheap sex
- a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage
- frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness
- trinket gods
- magic-show religion
- paranoid loneliness
- cutthroat competition
- all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants
- a brutal temper
- an impotence to love or be loved
- divided homes and divided lives
- small-minded and lopsided pursuits
- the vicious habit of depersonalising everyone into a rival
- uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions
- ugly parodies of community
We think we’re free. We’re think we’re living how we want to live. We think we’re calling all the shots. We think we know best.
But what kind of freedom is this?
God knows best how we should live because He created every single human who has ever walked the earth. It is His way that leads to freedom.
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16
And how do we do that exactly?
There is no formula, no set rules to follow to make this happen.
It starts with awareness, I believe. The awareness that in every situation, there is a choice.
Choose life. Choose love. Choose freedom.
It’s about practising the presence of God and practising the presence of the Spirit in our life.
Learning to know and recognise God at work in our life through His Spirit.
You’ll know when you’re on the right track, because your life will start looking more like this alternative list found in Galatians 5:22-23 (The Message):-
- affection for others – LOVE
- exuberance about life – JOY
- serenity – PEACE
- a willingness to stick with things – PATIENCE
- a sense of compassion in the heart – KINDNESS
- a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people – GOODNESS
- involvement in loyal commitments – FAITHFULNESS
- no need to force our way in life – GENTLENESS
- the ability to marshal and direct our energies wisely – SELF-CONTROL
Like a tree rooted in God with the Spirit as the source of life-giving energy, we will bear fruit, good fruit, the fruit in the list above. This is the life we were born to live.
And again I ask, how do we do that exactly?
In the New International Version of the Bible, Paul’s advice is ‘Keep in step with the Spirit’. That’s an easy to remember, succinct way of putting it. In The Message, the final paragraph of Galatians 5 unpacks what this means in practice.
Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original. Galatians 5:25-26
So let’s set to work! Let’s work out the implications of life in the Spirit in every detail of our lives.
Each of us is an original.