The Holy Spirit – Day 20
The Reassurance of the Spirit
With reassuring words we start our meditation today. As Christians, we have been given the passport to right living because we have “crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires” and are now led by the Holy Spirit in us. This does not mean that we lose enthusiasm for the joys of life, but rather that our energy is channelled into all the right things, allowing us undiluted pleasure. We are reassured of peace and contentment because our joy is not quenched by sin and strife. We may consider then why Paul reminds us that we are to “keep in step with the Spirit”.
If we keep in step with someone, we do our utmost to keep at the same pace as him — neither lagging behind nor racing ahead. Paul counsels this because it is very natural, when things are going well, to “rest on our laurels” and then get left behind in God’s plans for us; or alternatively, to congratulate ourselves on our good progress and attempt to launch out on our own, without the guidance of the Spirit. Once we get out of step with the Spirit, we also risk losing our joy and our strength.
Paul wrote to the Galatians on one occasion when he noticed the change, “What has happened to your joy?” (Galatians 4:15); and on another, “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you” (Galatians 5:7-8).
When we try to go ahead of the Spirit, the devil interferes because we are out of order. This opens us up to the sin that Paul speaks of: conceit, provocation and envy. We regard ourselves as being better than our brother or sister, and we try to advance ourselves in a situation, regardless of God’s will. The resulting failure causes disappointment, anger and discontent, and creates discord amongst believers, as nobody is paying attention to the LORD. This is why Paul says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
When believers are humbly submitted to the LORD, the Spirit promotes peace and unity among them, regardless of circumstance, and each affirms the other. Where the Spirit is ignored, there is wrangling and resentment which gives the devil the opportunity to attack with a whole range of subtle temptations, including rights, distractions, excuses and confusion, designed to get us back in tow with him.
The reality is that with the Spirit’s help we please God, and without it we please the devil, so “let us keep in step with the Spirit.”