There I go again, responding in way that I don’t want to be.
I know what is the best way to respond, but so often I fail. Frustration and guilt is an ongoing battle. How can I be more consistent in living the way God created me and desires for me to live?
In the fifth chapter of Galatians, Paul encourages Christians new in the faith to stop following laws and customs to be right with God, but bask in the freedom we have in Christ. Not that we want to follow our sinful nature, but follow the life of the Spirit that dwells in us. In verse 25 it says,“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
Note the phrase “keep in step”. In the original Greek, a better translation could be “walk in line with” or “walk in a straight line”. This word was used to describe military troops who were arranged behind one another in a formation. In the context of this verse, the word could very well suggest following in line with a pattern or possibly following a leader with whom we are in agreement with.
There will always be a conflict between what we do (sinful nature) versus what we would like to be doing (God’s will). A great example is in rearing children. Do we have to teach children how to behave badly? Do we say, “Sarah, stop sharing so much. Next time, just take the toy and keep it for yourself.” Or do we say, “Daniel, the next time your brother takes your toy without asking, just smack him in the mouth!” No, kids learn these instinctively because it is part of their nature. Parents and teachers have to teach children the right way to respond which is contrary to our human nature.
We can even apply this concept to challenging employees who tend to behave like little children. How do we “walk in line with the Spirit” with them? I think it is recognizing the differences between our sinful nature and our life in the Spirit. Our acts of the sinful nature are things we can generate easily on our own. Doing what is right in God’s eyes does not come to us naturally. We need to be taught. We need to have an example. But, more importantly, they are fruit of the Spirit. It is only the Holy Spirit that produces love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness in us and through us. There is really no law that tells us that we have to do these things, but we do them because this is what God wants us to do. They are attitudes and actions that are a reflection of Christians who have completely conformed to God’s will and purpose in their lives.