Being led by the Spirit

My friend Mike is training to run a marathon. He’s in his fifties, so he watches what he eats and gets up early to run several days a week with friends. He’s always loved running. He once told me that he feels total freedom when he runs, but you’ll never see Mike run alone. He always runs with friends. He’s up to a half marathon now – running with a friend on his left and a friend on his right. It’s not that he lacks the courage to run alone; on the contrary, he has exceptional courage. Mike is legally blind. When he runs, he holds on to one end of a shoe string and his friend holds the other end. So while he cannot see where he’s running, he can still know the freedom he knew prior to losing his eyesight in his twenties.

Running for Mike is only possible because he is willing to be led. His willingness to follow another communicates a tremendous amount of trust in his running partners. He needs them. He depends on them even if they lead him down a path he may not have chosen for himself. He pays a great deal of attention to the slightest movement of the shoe string.

It is said of Jesus that he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. Jesus was willing to follow, even when it meant going to a place that he might not have chosen for himself. . .

It is significant that both times Paul uses the phrase “led by the Spirit” it is in the context of one’s battle with temptation. This is the context for Jesus as well. Clearly the lesson is this: our greatest need for dependence on the Holy Spirit takes place during our greatest times of temptation.

How might that change the nature of your battle with temptation? What if, when the desires of your heart began to heat up, you gave your undivided attention to the leading of the Holy Spirit? Like Mike, my marathon-running friend, your mind would be focused on the slightest movement of the shoestrings.

The Holy Spirit didn’t lead Jesus into temptation; he led Jesus through the temptation. Jesus needed to be willing to let him lead. So do you, and so do I.

Taken from Just Like Jesus – biblical strategies for growing well by Phil Moser, pages 50-51. Available for purchase at www.biblicalstrategies.com

How to to walk in the Spirit – Step 2

Here’s the second principle for walking in the spirit: Be Patient. Developing daily habits requires small steps. (Gal. 6:8-9).

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.  And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (Galatians 6:7-9).

Within 8 verses of God’s reminder to walk in the Spirit (5:25), we find another metaphor: sowing and reaping. This metaphor has a note of encouragement attached. Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (6:9).

The word picture of “sowing and reaping” reminds us that patience is a requirement where daily habits are being developed. The new habits may spring up over night, but they won’t bear fruit overnight.

It is Chuck Swindoll who is credited with the following: success = short-term goals + high accountability. If you desire to grow to be like Christ it won’t happen overnight. It takes time for new habits to bear fruit. The high accountability serves as an encouragement for you to do the task daily.  

Do the task daily, and it will become a habit. Do the habit daily, and it will bear fruit.

My dad was a farmer. While he went to college to become a school teacher, farming never really left his blood. He loved to see things grow. One of my earliest recollections with my dad was us kneeling down in the soil of our Indiana farm with our faces close to the ground. There we could see the corn just popping through the surface. I never once remember my dad bragging about how he made the corn grow. He saw himself responsible for the sowing, weeding, feeding, protecting, and harvesting the crop.

Here’s the lesson every farmer knows: you do the sowing, God does the growing.

The same is true of one’s growth in Christ. One of the reasons we grow discouraged with slow growth is because we believe in some way we are responsible for the growth. Hold that thought and remember; you do the sowing, God does the growing.

Do the daily task, let it become a daily habit, and watch as the daily habit bears fruit.

Be patient. Developing daily habits requires small steps. Rejoice in the growth you do see, and pray to the Lord of the harvest that more growth may appear.