April 27, 2016 | by: 0 Comments|
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Back in January, I offered 16 resolutions for our church in 2016. I’ve mentioned them off and on in our church newsletter. I’ll confess that I’m a little behind the pace that I wanted to set in working through those resolutions; nevertheless; today we take another step forward. Specifically, I’d like to briefly reflect on “Resolution #2” or that we should “Resolve to keep in step with the Spirit.” That idea is a rather simple and biblical one (Galatians 6:15).
In resolving to keep in step with the Spirit, I think that we are only resolving to walk in ways that are Christ-like. You can find this idea of walking throughout the New Testament epistles and it typically communicates the idea of moving in a spiritually good direction, moving toward the goal of Christlikeness. Walking by the Spirit is to walk in his ways, and not just one step, but to take step after step after step.
These Spirit-led, guided, directed steps are toward Christlikeness because it is the Holy Spirit’s peculiar work and purpose to point and direct us to Jesus Christ. We know this for speaking of the Spirit, our Savior said in John 16:14, “He will glorify me.” The Holy Spirit does not arbitrarily act on his own accord for his own purpose. No, again we learn in John 16:13 “he will not speak on his own authority.” In John 16:15, Jesus told his disciples that the Spirit would lead them into all truth. Now, this ministry of the Spirit was especially unique to Jesus’ disciples. In a unique and unrepeatable way the Spirit brought Christ and his teachings to the disciples minds. All that Christ gave the Spirit, the Spirit gave to them, and they gave Christ’s words to us in their inspired letters and Gospels. Part of the Spirit’s work of testifying to Christ and bringing him glory was giving the Church of Jesus Christ the Word of Jesus Christ.
What does that mean for us? Does this mean that the Spirit guides us into all truth as well? Yes, but not in the same way he did with the Apostles. The Spirit guides us into all truth as he guides us into God’s Word. The Spirit guides us into all truth by reminding us of what we have learned from the Scriptures and by applying them to our hearts and lives. This is how the Spirit works in the lives of God’s people today. He deepens our knowledge of Jesus through the only means we have to come to know Jesus, the very Word of Christ.
In Galatians 5:16-26, the Apostle Paul (one of the Apostles that the Spirit guided into all truth) gives us a summary of what it means keep in step/walk by the Spirit. He said that this kind of life means that we “do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Galatians 6:16-17). In other words, we will not feed the cravings of our sinful natures. If we find ourselves feeding our sinful desires, we can be sure that we are not keeping in step with the Spirit. When temptation rears its ugly head, keep in step with the Spirit and walk away from temptation.
Just to give one example, when you are tempted to respond to an unkind word with an unkind word, keep in step with the Spirit, and remember that Christ kept his mouth closed as others hurled insults at him. Our flesh would tell us to verbally spar with our family and friends, but the Spirit reminds us of who Jesus is (righteous and silent), what he has done for us (died and rose), and how we ought to imitate him (by exemplifying the fruit of the Spirit).
If we’ve been made alive by the Spirit, then we will walk by the Spirit. We will not always do so completely, but we will do so continually. Let us resolve to keep in step with the Spirit.
Warmly in Christ,
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