Walk in the Spirit
Galatians 5:16-21 (NKJV)
Romans 3:23 and Psalm 46:1
The Beginning, Part 2
When I was growing up and my dad taught Sunday School, he would study his lesson sitting in his chair in the living room. He read his Bible a lot but I noticed there were times while he was reading that he would stare off into space. At first I thought he was thinking but as time wore on I came to realize that as he read, the Spirit would direct him. I didn’t come to that conclusion on my own.
He would talk about ‘listening’ for the Spirit. So I started asking questions about how he knew when the Spirit was near. He said the best way he can describe it is to be sensitive to a feeling of love and power coming OVER you. I tried to be sensitive to that feeling and stop to listen when it happened.
Later, when I was in Spiritual Direction I asked my Spiritual Director questions about that. He told me to “give God space”. I started intentionally sitting in silence to give God ‘space’ or room to move and speak. Doing that made hearing God much easier.
Paul advocates in Galatians 5:16-18, saying, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
He is saying to the churches in Galatia need to walk in the Spirit.
His logic is simple, IF you are filled with the Spirit of God:
We won’t give way to daily desires that exist IN us
When we are a new believer, our desires work against the Spirit
We want to give in to our desires
If we intentionally seek the Spirit we will be led by the Spirit
Then we will not be drawn to legalism.
Walking in the Spirit means we are open to God’s leading and we watch and wait for the Spirit to give us a nudge.
You should know even when we watch and listen, there are times when it’s not easy. I intentionally ask for protection from outside influences so I can hear clearly. When we ask for angels to surround and protect us, God answers. Always.
In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul writes, “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
When I look at the exhaustive list of the works of the flesh it’s a little frightening. Who among us has not been plagued by this list? We ARE human after all!
I think the ‘catch’ is to recognize when we are getting caught up in them and turn to God. Let’s take envy for example. I have never been a person of ‘means’. I’ve had a simple life-style, have never had expensive new cars or big expensive homes. For the better part of my adult life I lived in church personages. Some of those were challenging. Our first church had an older mobile home that had a very leaky roof. When it rained the kids and I would get out all the pots and pans we owned and ‘chase’ the drips in the house. We frequently had to empty the pans. It became a game. We also had mice everywhere. Even though we had a tom cat who lived under the trailer who helped with the mice population, we still had traps everywhere and we had a hound inside who was always on the lookout for mice.
My kids and I laugh about it now, but I do remember wondering what it would be like to live in a big new home that didn’t have issues. For the last year and a half of our ministry we had a new home (but not really big). When everything changed and I was 51 and single again I lost that and I lived in a very modest older condo.
When I start wondering what it would be like to be a person ‘of means’, I stop and turn to God. I intentionally thank God for our experiences and especially for the laughter I shared with my kids. See, even though we didn’t have new stuff, we had lots of laughter and we shared a common bond. We lad love. When I feel envy creeping in, I remember God’s provision of love and laughter.
Today every one of my children remembers their roots. They are all educated and have great jobs. Two are military officers. The other two are in leadership positions working for large corporations. They remember what it was like to ‘chase the water drops’ falling off the roof. We still laugh a lot about our experiences. God graces us with love.
We all struggle. We have ALL sinned (Romans 3:23). Life is not easy. But when we need help, we can turn to God and the Spirit is an ‘ever-present’ help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). That’s the God we serve...always forgiving and ready to help us.
Envy? Well, not for long now because I remember what God gave us and I wouldn’t trade the love and laughter for anything.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Be Mindful
Ask God to teach you or remind you the movement of the Spirit. Be very mindful of the movement of the Spirit today,
In God, Deborah