Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. — Galatians 5:25 (NIV)
What does it mean to live by the Spirit? In Galatians 5, Paul talks quite a bit about the sinful nature. He uses the phrase “sinful nature” six times in about 13 verses. He contrasts living according to the sinful nature with living by the Spirit. Christians have been freed from the Law by the grace of God through the death of His Son. Though we are free from the requirements of the Law, it does not mean that we can use that freedom to live lives that are not pleasing to God. We have to live by the Spirit. The Spirit of God is mentioned seven times in those verses that mention the sinful nature six times. Living by the Spirit is just as important, if not more so, as not gratifying the sinful nature.
The phrase “keep in step with the Spirit” comes from a military term. It was used to describe a line of soldiers. They would march in step with one another as they paraded into battle. I find it comforting and reassuring that Paul’s exhortation to “keep in step with the Spirit” implies that the Spirit goes with us into battle.
I remember being in marching band in high school. When we marched in a parade, we would have to keep our eyes on the people next to us so that we would keep the line straight and march in step with one another. We also had to keep our eyes on the people in front of us so we would not plow into them if the drum major called for a halt. In much the same way, we must keep our eyes moving all around us as we march into battle with the enemy. We must look side to side so that we are all in step and we must look ahead to the Spirit who leads us into battle. We all stick together with the Spirit to win the war. The Spirit of God is right there with us. It leads and guides us as we march toward our heavenly home.
Do not be afraid of the Holy Spirit. It is God’s good gift to us. The Spirit that dwells in us is there to challenge and change us and lead us into truth and righteousness. Let us live according to the Spirit’s leading and march in step with God’s Spirit and lay aside the desires of the sinful nature. As we do, we will see the fruit of the Spirit growing in our lives.
…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. — Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
Have a great, Spirit-filled day!