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, 26People 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.
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