Summary: We all find the idea of letting God set the pace, and the direction, and leading us, somewhat difficult because we want to be in control of our lives – we want to set the pace, we want to set the direction, we want to be in charge. A full life is when Go
Get In Step With The Spirit
Gal 5:13-26 Sept 17, 2006
How many of you have ever danced – and before you answer, I don’t mean like turning your stereo on in your house when you are all alone with your hairbrush in your hand like a microphone; and I don’t mean like the way people dance today where all that really matters is that you move your body around and don’t smack anybody else; and I don’t mean like the way people danced when I was in junior high and you would ask someone to dance and, assuming she said yes, you would then go and join “the line” – 6 feet away from your partner, with a wide aisle… pretty pathetic…
How many of you have ever danced, where the way you moved was interwoven with the way others moved – whether a partner in a classic ballroom dance, a 50s jive, or even a choreographed country line dance? Ok, now what kind of Baptists are you?? Whether you have experienced that or not, I think you get the image – it is about being in step, together, becoming one, and the result is something beautiful, joyful, and full of life.
This is week two of our five week fall series, entitled “A Life of Love – God’s Road to Fullness.” It jumps out of the very purpose which Jesus said He came for – “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10), and in it we are going to explore how to live a life of love, which leads to that fullness Jesus was talking about. We started last week by getting on the right road – not the broad road that leads to destruction, but rather the narrow road that leads to life. This week, I want to look at a life of love, lived “in step with the Spirit”, and see how that leads to fullness of life. “Get In Step With The Spirit”.
The concept comes from Gal 5:25: “25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”, and to me the “dance” analogy gets us a little closer to understanding the concept of living “in step with the Spirit.” – it hints at the beauty, the joy, the unity, and the life that is ours when we live our lives that way. We can imagine a life, embracing God, dancing together.
For those of you who find the “dance” analogy a little to feminine, there is another. In the original language, the word that we have translated as “keep in step” was first used as a military term, meaning “to proceed in a row as the march of a soldier, go in order” (Thayers’ Lexicon), and over time it came to mean “be in harmony with” (TDNT: 7, p. 669). We can imagine a life, marching in time and with determination, for the glory of God and His Kingdom.
Both the dance image and the marching image, the idea is the same – the Bible is telling us that the road to fullness of life comes when our steps are in step with the person of the Holy Spirit, guiding us moment by moment, setting the pace, and the direction, and leading us into a full life of love. And that is, truly, a glorious thing.
But it is also a really difficult thing. We all find the idea of letting God set the pace, and the direction, and leading us, somewhat difficult because we want to be in control of our lives – we want to set the pace, we want to set the direction, we want to be in charge. This comes from both our insecurity – “look out for #1, cause nobody else is looking out for you”, and our lack of trust that God really does have our best as His goal – “if I let God lead, well what if He makes me do all kinds of stuff I don’t want to do???” Both of those are overcome by God’s love.
It is a challenge, and the rest of the passage around Gal 5:25 tells us a little bit about why: (from NLT):
“13For you have been called to live in freedom--not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. 14For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 15But if instead of showing love among yourselves you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
16So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict. 18But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.