Walk in the Spirit

I started taking ballroom dance lessons in college. The music, and moves immediately hooked me specifically in the Latin dances. I became a mainstay at the local salsa club and danced frequently throughout my 20s.

I enjoyed dancing the most when I found a good partner. Because most partner dances require that the male dancer lead, dancing isn’t nearly as much fun if you don’t have a good partner.  A good partner leads confidently, but compassionately. He knows that wherever he leads you that’s where you’re going. He watches out for the other dancers on the floor making sure you don’t get knocked around. He doesn’t spin you to death until you’re dizzy. He shows you off and you in turn make him look good.

It’s a beautiful thing-when you have a good partner.

I recently studied Galatians 5. In this chapter, Paul admonishes the Galatians to stop trying to earn their salvation by following over 600 rules in the Law, but instead rely on the finished work of Jesus on the cross and the Holy Spirit living in them for their salvation. He tells them:

16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. New Living Translation

If I’m honest, I find it difficult to consistently obey the Holy Spirit. I find myself wanting to do my own thing more often than not. Because my desires are not typically the “big” sins, I tend to talk myself into thinking it’s no big deal. What’s the problem if scroll on social media for too long? What’s the big deal if I eat a few more bites? It’s a healthy meal. Nothing major if I wish that house on the corner belonged to me instead of the one God blessed me with.

The big deal is that God gave me the Holy Spirit to partner with me and help me do His will. When I try to do my own thing I frustrate myself and grieve the Holy Spirit. I make us both look bad just like I would if we were on a dance floor dancing. When I keep in step with Him, in big and small things, I have peace. I have joy. I look like someone with a desirable life that might provoke someone to ask Who my joy comes from. When I’m not in step with Him, I’m plagued with guilt, the consequences of wasted time, and a lack of peace among other things.

God keeps reminding me lately to recognize the progress I’ve made in my relationship with Him over the last few years. I am not where I used to be even though I’m obviously not ‘there’ yet. My progress comes from making a decision to consistently feed my spirit and deny my flesh.  I feed my spirit by not just reading, but studying the word. I feed my spirit by spending more time in prayer, not just in difficult times, but daily. I feed my spirit by listening to truth telling Bible teachers and listening to worship music. I deny my flesh by fasting, avoiding certain tv shows and movies, watching what I say and what I eat.

And yet I’m still not ‘there’ yet.

Galatians 5 reminds me that I’m not in this battle against my fleshly desires alone. The Holy Spirit is in me. I don’t have to follow a bunch of rules and hope for the best like the Galatians were trying to do. My own effort can’t get me to heaven and neither can yours. Our best (and only) bet is to get in step with the Holy Spirit and truly let Him lead. He’s already in us. Our next step is to be open and sensitive to His leading and then to pattern our lives after His influence. (See Galatians 5 Commentary for more)

I use the word pattern because we must habitually follow His lead. It’s not a one and done. It’s a consistent, constant, daily crucifying of our flesh and falling in step with the Holy Spirit. The more we follow Him, the easier it becomes to hear Him and fall in line. This doesn’t mean we can’t fall or make a mistake. It means when we do, we get up, seek God’s forgiveness and repent. Then don’t repeat those same sins/mistakes by God’s grace. Repent means to make a 180 degree turn away from sin and change our minds no longer agreeing with that sin. We do this by the power of the Holy Spirit in us and His grace, not in our own strength.

Jude 24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, KJV

[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight. Philippians 2:13 AMPC

If you find yourself having a hard time following the leading of the Holy Spirit, I encourage us both today to lean on His strength to empower us to do His will. God does not expect us to do it on our own. Lean on Him. Rely on Him. Trust Him. Let Him complete the perfect work He began in you (Philippians 1:6).

Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father, I’m encouraged today because I know that with the help of the Holy Spirit I can do everything You have called me to do. I am not alone. You are working in me to change me, restore me, and make me whole. You have already freed me from sin and the works of the enemy. Thank You so much Father for Your grace and faithfulnessYou are God alone. Help us to follow your lead every single moment relying on You as we dance together. 

In Jesus name,

Amen.

PS If you don’t know Jesus as your personal savior He longs to come into your heart and have a personal relationship with you.  Romans 10:9 says,

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. NLT

Pray this prayer:

Lord Jesus, I come to you humbly asking you to forgive my sins. I believe that you died and rose again three days later to pay for my sins. Thank you for dying for me.  Please Lord, come into my heart. I give control of my life over to you. Please God, from this moment forward help me to live for you and do your will. Thank you Lord, that now I am saved. I no longer have to fear death. Please help me be all you made me to be. 

In Jesus name,

Amen.

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