You cannot live the Christian life on your own! You were never meant to live the Christian life on your own. This is why Jesus gave us His Holy Spirit to empower us. The Holy Spirit is sometimes called the Helper because He came to help us live a Christ filled, Christ-centered life. Last week, we looked at the Apostle Paul’s call to “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16). We stated last week that this phrase implies a lifestyle and a relationship. It is about walking in relationship with Jesus through the person and power of the Holy Spirit.
Paul refers to walking in the Spirit as being led by the Spirit (Galatians 5:18). It does not say that we are to follow the Spirit, but we are to be led by the Spirit. You may wonder what the difference between following and being led by the Spirit. The real difference is in the emphasis upon our role versus the Spirit’s role. If we speak of following the Spirit, the verb would be in the active tense. This places emphasis upon the person who is doing the following. If we speak of “being led by the Spirit,” the verb is passive and it places the emphasis upon the Spirit’s role and power instead of the one doing the following.
Should we try to be good followers? Yes! Thank God however, it is the Spirit who leads us. There are two ways to be led though. First picture trying to follow a pace car at the Daytona 500. You can see the pace car ahead of you, and you must steer behind it and do your best to stay close under your own power. The better way to be led though is to think of a locomotive engine. The goal here is to hook your train car up to a powerful locomotive on the tracks so it can begin to pull you along. In this example, one is not following in their own power, but instead are being pulled along by the mighty power of the engine. We are not called to follow the Spirit in our own power, but we are called to be led by the Spirit in the power of the Spirit.
Being led by the Spirit also means being watchful and listening for the Holy Spirit’s promptings. If you are a Christ follower, the Holy Spirit is with you and He is in you. He wants you to look to Him for guidance, to learn to listen to His voice. Unfortunately we often ignore the Holy Spirit’s voice, resist the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and quench His power. I want to learn how to cooperate with the Spirit and honor him in my every day decisions. The Spirit wants to speak to us concerning what we do, what we view, how we spend our time, and how we spend our money. If you are going to be pulled and empowered by the engine of the Spirit, then you will need to tune in your heart to hear the Spirit’s voice.
Finally, to walk in the Spirit means you will bear the fruit of the Spirit which is described as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Gal. 5:23). Notice, these character qualities reflect the character of Christ and are called the fruit of the Spirit. It is not the fruit of any person, but the divine fruit of God’s Spirit. To walk in the Spirit means you are absolutely dependent upon Christ and the Spirit to change you and cultivate within you the fruit of godly character. The fruit of a human heart is selfishness, lust, greed, pride, etc. The fruit of a heart filled by and submitted to the Spirit can be love, joy, peace… Are you ready? Are you ready to hitch your life up to the mighty power of the Holy Spirit’s locomotive engine? He is waiting for you to surrender so He can pull you along!
The Rev. David Yarborough is pastor of St. Simons Community Church. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 912-634-2960.