“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
I think back to my time in high school. I remember trying to find my niche. Belonging was, and still is, an important desire. I am sure many of you can identify. We want to belong. We want to fit in. We want to be a part of something bigger and greater than our individual selves. I played several sports and was involved in various activities and clubs throughout my school years, but Galatians 5:25 brings me back to my time in the high school marching band. I was a percussionist (the annoying drummer that couldn’t stop ticking or beating on things), in a 150+ strong member band. I remember band camp in the brutal summers of Georgia. I remember long days and nights from July until December drilling down every step, beat, form, sound and rhythm until blisters and calluses formed on my hands and feet, preparing for our weekly performance or yearly competition. The hard work always paid off though and it was rewarding. It was rewarding to see a collective group of individuals give up their personal ambitions in order for something greater than themselves to be accomplished. It was rewarding to see so many individuals learn to take every step in unity. It was rewarding to hear the gifts of individuals come together to create a harmonious and dynamic sound. It was rewarding to see hundreds become one. All of that took effort, though. All of that took practice. It took sacrifice. We had to learn as individuals and as a collective whole how to march forward in unity. In the process, we learned to keep in step as a band. Our band was the source of our belonging. When we realized what our source of belonging was, we were then empowered and compelled to give our individual best effort for the benefit of the whole band. So it is with the Christian walk of faith to a certain degree. As Christians, we belong to something greater than ourselves. We fit in with the Kingdom of God. We belong as children of God along with all Christians because of our unified faith in Christ. We are one body, on one mission just as a band and we all contribute our God-given talents and gifts to edify and build unity among the Church to accomplish the mission. We must learn to give up our personal ambitions and fleshly desires to live a life submitted to the greater good of the Gospel for the world. That’s what Paul is instructing the Galatians to do. He is instructing them to get rid of the fleshly desires and personal ambitions, so that they would embody the fruit of the Spirit and reach the world for Jesus. So, the question you may be asking is: How do I embody the fruit of the Spirit? Galatians 5:25 helps us answer this question. Realize the Source. Our belonging comes from God. What Paul is saying in 5:25 is that, as Christians, we live by the Spirit. The Greek word for ‘if’ or ‘since’ is in the indicative mood which basically means: WE DO LIVE BY THE SPIRIT. The Spirit indwells our lives and gives us assurance of our faith in Christ. We live by the Spirit of God. The Spirit is our source of life in Christ. Understand the Source compels us to walk by the Spirit. As we recognize our salvation comes from faith in Christ alone and not by our works, we are then empowered and compelled to walk by the spirit or to keep in step with the Spirit. Just as our salvation comes from the Spirit, our sanctification comes from the Spirit as God conforms us into the image of Christ through the power of the Spirit. Our works come from the Spirit. Our fruit comes from the Spirit. All things come from the Source which is the Spirit of God! Paul wants to make it clear the same way we come to Christ is the same way we walk with Christ. He doesn’t save us and then leave us on our own. He brings us to new life and helps us walk in new life. He saves our lives. He sustains our lives. He empowers our lives. As we remember the source of our salvation, let us also be reminded of the source of our Christian walk. The Spirit is the Source of our faith and our works (fruit). Yes, we show effort and give God our very best. Yes, we work hard. Yes, we learn to grow. Yes, we put in time and sacrifice for the greater good, but it is not our efforts that save us or cause God to accept us. It is by faith in Christ alone that is our source of belonging. Therefore, we must keep in step with the Spirit by understanding it is God who saves us and God who compels us to love and live like Jesus and embody the fruit of the Spirit. We learn to keep in step with the Spirit by understanding the Source in which our steps come from. Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you? Explain – what does the passage mean? Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today? Respond – how is God leading you to respond?
Photo by Katrina Berban on Unsplash