When you are walking with someone, you usually try to keep in step with the person. I often will pass a group of walkers in the morning. The group of people is always walking in step. There might be two rows of people, but each one is keeping step so as to stay together, to walk together. Their speed. Their distance. Everything is in sync.
In the end of letter to the churches of Galatia, Paul writes to “keep in step with the Spirit.” In this letter, Paul again and again tells the people to get back in step. From the start of the letter, we can tell that the people have wandered. Paul simply addresses the people as “to the churches in Galatia” (1:2). There is no “holy people” or “saints” as with other letters. Verse 6 notes that the people were turning away from Christ. They were very much out of step.
Paul reminds us of the freedom we have in Christ. He also reminds us that this freedom we have should not be used “to indulge the flesh” (5:13). We need to keep in step with the Spirit. How can we do that? We need to be crucified with Christ. If we belong to Christ, we should have “crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (v. 24). Let us keep in step with the Spirit. We can only do that with the Spirit.
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” – Galatians 5:25 [NIV]
There are moments when an opportunity pops up and it is not necessarily best for us to jump on board. When Paul was in Ephesus there was a position that was open. They wanted Paul to stay there to spend more time ministering.
He declined – someone else then filled the position at Ephesus. Is it possible we say yes to things because no one else is saying yes, but if we would just say no, a person would stand up? Some people hesitate. Some people don’t think they can do it. Some people are battling things in their minds with God’s calling.
Paul ended up going to Galatia and spent time helping to strengthen the disciples. A man named Apollos went to Ephesus and he filled the open position. “He spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately” and he spoke “boldly in the synagogue.” (v. 25-26 NIV). Because Paul said “no,” it made room for Apollos to step up and say “yes,” and that acceptance helped Apollos to grow and to even minister elsewhere. We aren’t always meant to say “yes.” Pray about it. Each person has a role to play in the Kingdom. You can’t do it all.
“When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined.” – Acts 18:29 [NIV]