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]
Twice this week I have seen a young man walking his son down the middle of the street. I often see runners and walkers alike walking on the street at the side of the road. Many of them have florescent clothing and typical exercise attire. All of them are looking forward to be aware of any oncoming traffic while walking on the proper side of the street to be as safe as possible. This man with the small child; however, rarely looks up as he walks his child. He has his face looking downward at his “Smart Phone,” keeping his attention there for blocks at a time.
If you have a child, God has blessed you with that child. You have been entrusted to care for the child and to raise the child in the way of the Lord. Numerous passages speak of teaching our children the Lord’s Word. Numerous passages mention training up a child. Sadly, there are many parents who are lost themselves, walking hap hazardously through life. This can be not only dangerous for the parents but can also be hurtful to the children. Other parents, even those who know the Lord, have been engrossed with other things in life, that their children do not get much of their attention.
Today, if you have a child—thank God for such a great blessing and seek Him for guidance. Rely on His Word to help you train up the child as the way to go in life. Ask yourself—are you active in your child’s life? Do you know what is going on at your son’s school? Are you interested in what your daughter is interested in? Get interested. Pay attention. Hug. Show love. Show support. Share wisdom. Share Jesus. They need it.
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” – Psalm 127:3 [ESV]
“Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” – Lamentations 3:23 [NLT]
When I take my morning walk I usually catch the same neighbor in the middle of washing or drying his car, depending on when I pass his home. I’m sure anyone would agree that right after you get your car washed and shined up, something happens to get it dirty. In our area we have a local company that continues to spread dust as the big work trucks drive past. The pollen and the birds add to the many reasons that a washed car doesn’t stay clean.
So each morning this man gets out and washes his car, taking special care to ensure it is dry and looking like it just was pulled off the car dealership lot. It reminds me how each new morning is a blessing for us, another opportunity to start over. His mercies are new every morning. No matter how dirty, how defeated, how drained we may have felt the day prior, in the morning, we are given another day full of His mercy, His grace, His faithfulness.
These past few months have been a challenge for so many people. There are days when the struggles bring a feeling of defeat. But remember that God is not finished and He is faithful. Every morning His mercies are new. We may be down, but we won’t be down forever. We may feel defeated, but we won’t always be defeated. We may be tired, but with Christ, we have rest.
This morning I headed out to take the dog for a walk. Now I knew that the weather was not looking so good; there was a chance for rain. My luck is always something else. I drive halfway there and it starts to rain. I look around and say, “No! What do you mean? It can’t rain. I’m almost there.” Gas prices are pretty high so I decided to keep going in hopes that the rain would stop, that it was just a passing storm. Nothing big. No worries.
I got there and the rain continued. I decided that I needed fresh air and the dog needed a walk, so I was just going to get out and take a walk anyway, and walk through the storm. Now I had an umbrella. I was very lucky to have that umbrella so I didn’t get too wet.
What I was thinking about was how we often are going through these storms in life. We like to complain. We like to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves and we sometimes don’t say thank you to God, because we are in these storms of life and it’s like “uh, can it get any worse.” We don’t thank God because we are not liking how things are at the current moment, but yet it could get worse. Now there are people who have something bad happening in their lives and I’ll hear them say, “It can’t get any worse then this.” I say, “Watch your mouth, because it could get worse than that.” I think that we at times don’t realize how well we have things and when things dampen our situation we forget that we are blessed with an umbrella.
For me, I was okay with walking in the rain because I had my umbrella and I was not walking alone. We are not walking alone when we are in our storm in life. We have God there with us. I think whenever we go and do our little “oh pity poor me, when are things going to get better,” when we do that, when we complain, and when we moan and grumble about things that might not be that important and we fail to give God praise, what ends up happening is we are not thanking God for the blessings we do have. We pretty much sound like spoiled little brats.
Psalm 63:4 tells us something I think is very important. It says, “I will praise You as long as I live, lifting up my hands to You in prayer.” I will praise You as long as I live. It doesn’t say I will praise You when things are going good but when things are going bad You need to step back. It doesn’t say that. It says, “I will praise You as long as I live. I will praise You as long as I live.” Through the good, through the bad. When it’s raining, when it’s nice out. No matter what. When you have fifty dollars in your wallet, or a million dollars in your wallet, or you don’t even have a wallet. I will praise You.
When things aren’t going well at work. When you are having problems with your spouse. When you are having arguments with your family. When you wanted to go here for dinner and they wanted to go there and you got outvoted. No matter what– I will praise You. I think that is something that if we know that and if we do that and we follow that– if we give praise to God every day. If you wake up and say, “thank You God for this day.” For this time. For this opportunity. For my life. For this roof over my head. For whatever it is that you have to be grateful for. If you thank Him for that and you acknowledge that it is all His then you will actually have a much happier life because you will see the blessings He has given to you. Sometimes we have to be reminded of that.
What I think this walking through the storm is all about is making sure that we don’t limit God — that we give our things to Him when we have a storm. And that we still praise Him during the storm, because there is going to be many storms. We were promised there were going to be many storms. Life has ups and downs but in the end, no matter what, God is the same God and He will be with you right by your side. Always. Forever.