by Fred Swartz
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25, ESV)
Once when I was on a bus the Holy Spirit gave me a message for a guy that I watched get on the bus, then He said not to pursue any conversation with him after I delivered the message. It was weird, but I did it. Another time He gave me a word of rebuke to give the vicar of a church I had never been to before and haven’t been to since. That was also a little awkward, but I did it.
Just about every day He asks me to be more patient with my children and to listen better to my wife. These tasks are usually weird and awkward for me and I don’t follow through very well. Why the difference in my response? Why am I willing to do the things in the first paragraph but far less willing to obey the things in this paragraph? Am I so hypocritical as to joyfully keep in step with the Spirit for “ministry,” but not when it comes to my own family life?
In many places, especially in what Paul writes, the scripture talks about living by the Spirit. This is a massively different statement than ministering by the Spirit. Living by the Spirit is about what I do in my whole life, not just when I am “ministering,” and I am, frankly, in dangerous territory when I operate by the Spirit in public but then switch off in private and operate by the flesh.
The Spirit’s leadership in my life is not just for working out in the harvest field, so to speak, but it’s so easy to think of it like that. It’s so easy to rely on him for “his work out there” but then try to rely on myself for life at home because, of course, I’ve got everyday life sorted. Everyday life doesn’t take great faith like proclaiming a word from the Lord to a vicar or a guy on a bus, so I don’t need to worry about keeping in step with the Spirit then.
And then corona lockdown happens, and “his work out there” ceases to exist, at least in the way I was used to it. Mostly stuck at home, I’ve got the choice of staying how I was and totally losing touch with the Holy Spirit or embracing his leadership even in everyday life and finding that keeping in step with him in what seems mundane is the very way he is going to make me like Jesus from one degree of glory to another. I’ll take the latter, even when it’s weird and awkward. Totally worth it.
Warmly in Christ,
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18, ESV
- Where do you want to see the image of Christ more displayed in your life?
- In what aspect of life do you struggle to live by the Spirit?