13My friends, you were chosen to be free. So don't use your freedom as an excuse to do anything you want. Use it as an opportunity to serve each other with love. 14 All the Law says can be summed up in the command to love others as much as you love yourself. 15But if you keep attacking each other like wild animals, you had better watch out or you will destroy yourselves.
16If you are guided by the Spirit, you won't obey your selfish desires. 17 The Spirit and your desires are enemies of each other. They are always fighting each other and keeping you from doing what you feel you should. 18But if you obey the Spirit, the Law of Moses has no control over you.
19People's desires make them give in to immoral ways, filthy thoughts, and shameful deeds. 20They worship idols, practice witchcraft, hate others, and are hard to get along with. People become jealous, angry, and selfish. They not only argue and cause trouble, but they are 21envious. They get drunk, carry on at wild parties, and do other evil things as well. I told you before, and I am telling you again: No one who does these things will share in the blessings of God's kingdom.
22God's Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, 23gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways. 24And because we belong to Christ Jesus, we have killed our selfish feelings and desires. 25God's Spirit has given us life, and so we should follow the Spirit. 26But don't be conceited or make others jealous by claiming to be better than they are.
God invites us to move in rhythm with him. As Paul says in v 25 (NIV) “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” So why not accept his invitation? Here’s how you follow the Spirit:
- Believe that everything you need is already in you. When you asked forgiveness for your sin and named Christ as your Lord and Saviour, he took up residence, by the Spirit, in you. So don’t hold back. Your sinful nature has been crucified (v 24).
- Give yourself fully into the Instructor’s hands. God must lead and you must follow (v 25). It’s not for you to direct your steps (see Jeremiah 10:23). He must determine your steps (Proverbs 16:9). The moment you move more quickly, slower, or in a different direction, you’re dancing to the beat of your own drum. Don’t do that. Move as he moves you, respond to his touch and direction.
- Listen to the music. Heavenly music has its own beat. God’s music is not the world’s music (vv 17-21). His music has unique melodies, harmonies and vocals. It’s beautiful – making “us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled” (vv 22-23).
Are you with him? Don’t sit in the corner watching others move to the unforced rhythms of his grace. Do more than entertain the idea or feel the emotion. Move with him.
Lord, sometimes I feel spiritually inadequate – unsure and nervous. Help me overcome the conflict within me and conquer the desires that keep me from doing what your Spirit wants. Please take the lead, show me the way, help me move in time with you. Amen.