Keeping in Step with the Holy Spirit

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Gal. 5:25, 26
 People who have a deeper understanding of grace know that their very life only exists by the Spirit. They know their spirit is alive, they have eternal life, and they have empowered life, only because of the undeserved favor and blessing sealed by the Holy Spirit. Their spiritual life is by the Spirit.  However Paul reminded the Galatians that they must also keep in step with the spirit, or to walk with Him daily. Living by the spirit was not just a position of holiness and righteousness, but a daily empowered lifestyle.
In leadership we sometimes need to be reminded to keep up with the walk of the Spirit; that is to know He is right there every moment, in every temptation, in every leadership challenge.  Paul went on to say we should not become conceited which would lead to provocation and envy of other people.  The knowledge that we live only because of the incredible grace of God sealed by the Holy Spirit in us can never become a position of conceit or pride. Any knowledge we have of God’s incredible transforming power demands humility, knowing that we could never be who we are in Christ, without the Holy Spirit.  Departing from humility will always lead to conceit, a form of pride.  Conceit in the church means you know something or have done something that makes you superior. Conceit reveals that you have moved from grace to works; from keeping in step with the spirit to falling from grace.

Conceit and grace are mutually exclusive. Humility and pride are mutually exclusive. They cannot occupy the same space in our hearts and minds. The New Living Translation says ‘let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another.’ When conceit is present it will be accompanied by two manifestations:  (1) irritating others with a superior attitude and (2) jealousy of others who seem to be in positions of greater influence or prominence. Conceit is exposed through the jealousy of another’s position. Conceit believes it is better qualified for that position of influence.
While this scripture is certainly for the whole church, it is especially poignant for people in leadership.  If we really cherish living by the Spirit, we must keep in step with the Spirit by resisting any form of conceit, pride, and elitism. No matter how great we perceive our ministry to be in spiritual things, the real test is if we are keeping in step with Him through humility and grace

Humility and grace in leadership may appear weak at times. They may result in  being ‘walked upon’ at times. They may be viewed as too ‘loose’; not being the pastoral police to the extent some would like.  But humility and grace keep you in step with the Holy Spirit, trusting Him in every aspect of ministry.


Living in Him...a Tree of Righteousness a Planting of the Lord

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Col. 2:6-10
In one sentence, written by Paul the Apostle, we have a picture of the three levels of maturity in a believer. The three levels can be symbolized by a tree.

In my previous posts I elaborated upon the root system, that first level of maturity that is the foundation upon which the trunk, branches and fruit grow and come forth.  Grace is the nutritional root system below ground that emerges as a glorious healthy tree above ground.  The second level of maturity discussed was being built up in Christ. To be built up is to grow up. It is a necessary process of believing on Christ unto the fullness of who He is in us. Being built up does not determine your eternal life, but it does determine your abundant life.

Today I will address the third level of maturity; ‘living in Him’.  This level is reflected in a daily walk of being led by the Holy Spirit bringing forth the fruit of the spirit (Gal. 5:22-25) on a regular basis. It is a life of continually drawing from the root system, growing a trunk strong enough to sustain a glorious canopy of leaves and fruit, and durable against the harshness of everything that comes against it.

In these first levels of maturity you gained knowledge of the Word of God as your primary area of growth. You became firmly rooted in the knowledge and power of grace to establish your position and manifest your strength in Christ. As you grew you learned how to walk ‘according to the Spirit’, i.e. in alignment with the general will of God found in scripture and in obedience to His Word.  To ‘live in Him’ is the level of knowing and trusting His voice, testing every spirit for alignment with the Word of God, and quickly discerning truth. To ‘live in Him’ is to continuously be connected to the source of all strength and the producer of fruit; fruit that remains.

John 15 speaks to this idea of ‘remaining’ in Him.  We see in John 15 that to live in Him brings forth increasing abundance of fruit, i.e. fruit (vs. 5), more fruit (vs. 2) and much fruit (vs. 5, 8).  This is the life of living in His glory and revealing His glory. It’s the stable, abundant, fruitful life that brings forth the fruit of the fullness of Christ; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-25).   This is the abundant life Jesus purchased on the cross, the fullness of Christ in you; the glory of God in you, and the love of God through you. This is the mature believer, a tree of righteousness a planting of the Lord (Isaiah. 61:3).

Assess your spiritual maturity. Be honest. Be truthful to yourself and to Him. He is the author of your faith. As you grow He is also the finisher of your faith (Heb. 12:2). You are designed by God’s impartation of righteousness to be that great tree of righteousness full of lasting fruit.  It’s in you!!   Let it grow, mature and be revealed as you begin to ‘live in Him’.