By Jon Walker
“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25 NIV)
I’d been involved in a debate all day. There was something I wanted to do that I knew other Christians were involved with, but I felt a check from the Holy Spirit telling me I shouldn’t.
And as it happened, late in the day, I was working on a project with Rick Warren. He pulled some papers from his printer and handed them to me to read.
When I came to the last page, God ended the day-long debate. It was a page Rick must have printed for another project but then forgot to get from the printer. When he scooped up the pages intended for me, it ended up in my stack.
But I don’t believe in coincidence and so I think the page was intended for me as a message from God. There were four words on the paper: “Others can; you cannot.”
Sometimes the Spirit leads us to greater restriction than the law requires: “Where others can, we cannot.”
At other times, the Spirit may direct us to do more than the law requires, as foreshadowed by Jesus: “If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles” (Matthew 5:41 NLT).
If we’re led by the Spirit, we’re no longer under the law (Galatians 5:18). Yet this doesn’t mean we have a license to sin (Romans 6); instead, we’re compelled to live by love instead of by law. Jesus calls us to live by faith instead of by fear. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22–23 NIV, italics added).
Can you see, then, that it takes more faith to walk by the Spirit than to walk by the law? The law is meant to drive us to dependence on the Father as he guides us by the Spirit he’s placed within us.
This is not a downgrading of the law, which Jesus said he came to fulfill; rather, he gives us the objective to grow up in Christ, accepting the responsibility to stay intimate with the Law-giver who is teaching us the rhythms of grace.
Stay in Step With the Spirit Dance is a post from: GraceCreates Jon Walker is the author of Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s ‘The Cost of Discipleship’ and Growing with Purpose. He has served on staff at Saddleback Church and Purpose Driven Ministries and is currently the managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Devotionals and the Ministry Toolbox. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article is copyrighted 2011 by Jon Walker. Used by permission.