How are your steps these days? Is your sidewalk clear?
Take a moment and ponder the words “each step.”
Not one step. Not some steps. But each…step.
As I write this, there is ice and snow outside, almost everywhere I look. The TV-44 Sports Director, Ben Rife, and Chief Engineer, Jeff Klingler, are spending portions of every day this week making sure the TV-44 driveways and walkways are snow and ice free. It’s a necessity right now, and sometimes seems like a never ending job. This is the time of year when it is vital to think through each physical step we take. One step taken too quickly can result in a fall and potential injury.
There’s a passage in Galatians that talks about each step.
Galatians 5:16 “I say this to you: Let the Holy Spirit lead you in each step. Then you will not please your sinful old selves.”
Do you think Paul, the writer of Galatians, was referring to icy sidewalks when he wrote this passage? Likely not. So let’s shift our minds from the temporary icy conditions to something that affects us year round. I believe Paul is referring to the steps in our daily lives.
I’m 44 years old. I’ve spent more than 44 years making decisions. Some have been really good. Some have been not so good. Some have downright stunk; and for some of those stinky decisions, I still deal with the regret and heartache they caused.
When Paul talks about each step of our lives, he does so with the future in mind, but not forgetting the past. What’s in our past? Well, we all have one: a sinful old self.
Sinful Old Self
I don’t really like to think about my sinful old self- I’d rather think about the good things coming in the future. The closer I draw to Christ, the more I want to live like Him, and the less I want to please that sinful old self. But my desire to change the pattern of my life, doesn’t mean the sinful self is gone. Too many times I have said, thought, or acted in a way that reminds me the battle against sin does not end.
Like the recent time I got upset with my husband for a decision he made, a decision that wasn’t really wrong, just different than how I would do it.
Or the other recent time I was dealing with an overbooked schedule, and as a result, was way too snippy with a few nice people who called and sent texts.
Or the time I….
Okay- enough of airing my own dirty laundry. And don’t worry, I don’t need you to air yours either. The focus of Galatians 5:16 is to not go back to the sinful old self- but to move forward in a new way.
“Let the Holy Spirit lead you in each step.”
“Let the Holy Spirit”…… there’s our guide. Weekly, daily, hourly, moment by moment, the Holy Spirit has a plan for everything we do.
“Lead you”…..there’s our direction. The Holy Spirit has a specific lane in which we are to go. Our job is to stay in that lane, focusing on the things we have been called to do.
“In each step.” That tells us how often. This isn’t indicating we only talk to God before meals, or on Sundays at church. God desires to have an ongoing conversation with us, like a loving parent who truly has the greatest advice possible (because it’s true!) In every single step, we have the Ultimate Guide available to us.
I tend to think of “in each step” equal to “in each breath.”
How Does That Look?
If we are to let the Holy Spirit guide us in each step….or each breath, how does that look?
Think through every aspect of your day. Are you including God in it, and how can you include Him more?
Upon waking each day, before getting out of bed, talk to God. Thank Him for the morning and ask His guidance as you prepare to venture out of that warm bed into a cold world (both literally and figuratively.)
As you encounter your daily task list, ask Him to focus your thoughts on the items He wants you to accomplish that day.
When preparing to meet with other people, how can you show the fragrance of Christ in every conversation?
At moments when things are not going as planned, or the stress of your surrounding expectations is becoming overwhelming, where can you escape for just 5 minutes to ask God to refocus your thought process, and ignore things trying to steal you away from those correct steps.
Paul finishes this verse by reminding us why we want to seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance for every decision we make. “Then you will not please your sinful old selves.” Paul recognizes that we all fight a sinful nature, but wants to encourage us to do all we can to not go back there.
But wait, there’s more!
Take some time to read the rest of Galatians 5. Think through these words carefully. Isn’t it great that we serve a God who offers freedom from our sinful old selves? Regardless of what appears on the resume of your sinful old self, you are eligible for forgiveness and freedom in Christ Jesus! As the icy conditions continue (at least this week), I pray you carefully ponder each step you take, but not just on the sidewalk- also in life. Following the Holy Spirit’s steps will truly lead you down the best path.
Galatians 5:17-26 The things our old selves want to do are against what the Holy Spirit wants. The Holy Spirit does not agree with what our sinful old selves want. These two are against each other. So you cannot do what you want to do. 18 If you let the Holy Spirit lead you, the Law no longer has power over you. 19 The things your sinful old self wants to do are: sex sins, sinful desires, wild living, 20 worshiping false gods, witchcraft, hating, fighting, being jealous, being angry, arguing, dividing into little groups and thinking the other groups are wrong, false teaching, 21 wanting something someone else has, killing other people, using strong drink, wild parties, and all things like these. I told you before and I am telling you again that those who do these things will have no place in the holy nation of God. 22 But the fruit that comes from having the Holy Spirit in our lives is: love, joy, peace, not giving up, being kind, being good, having faith, 23 being gentle, and being the boss over our own desires. The Law is not against these things. 24 Those of us who belong to Christ have nailed our sinful old selves on His cross. Our sinful desires are now dead.
25 If the Holy Spirit is living in us, let us be led by Him in all things. 26 Let us not become proud in ways in which we should not. We must not make hard feelings among ourselves as Christians or make anyone jealous.