Keeping in Step
Keeping in Step
Words of Faith 7-2-19
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Keeping in step with the Spirit is a long term process. It is about listening carefully, trusting faithfully and obeying diligently. The difficulty we experience is often in discerning among the many good possibilities that present themselves.
A friend sent me a great devotion by Os Hillman entitled Good Things Versus God-Things (TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1; 11/23/08) in which Hillman wrote about just this very issue: "The greatest sign that you and I are maturing in our walk with God is when we can discern the difference between 'good things' and 'God-things.' When the people of Israel journeyed out of Egypt through the desert, the cloud led them by day. They could move only as fast as the cloud. If they went ahead, they went without God's presence. If they lagged behind, they also lost God's presence.
"Each of us must have the discernment to know when God is leading in a matter, or if it is simply a good idea. There are so many things in which you and I can be involved, and the more successful you become, the greater the temptations to enter into things where God has not called you."
Paul also pointed out a consequence of failing to keep in step with the Spirit. Paul put it bluntly, Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Even in the process of seeking to obey God, we can fall into prideful conceit. We can slip into envy. We get off track because of success, and then we find ourselves provoking one another rather than encouraging and supporting.
How does this happen especially at a time when the walk of the Spirit is so very close? The answer is that our sin nature is always close by as well. When we get in step with God, amazing things start to happen; then, we begin to think that we had something to do with the fantastic stuff that God is doing. Pride enters in. Or we get a little out of step with the Spirit and see God doing amazing things in the lives of other people; that's when we start to envy.
What is the typical response? We become provocative. The word Paul used means irritating or critical. If we notice that we are becoming increasingly irritated, we might look to see if we have also become annoying or critical. Look a little deeper, and we may see that either pride or envy has entered in. When we notice we have become critical in our spirit, the answer is almost always pride or envy.
There is no "gift of criticism" among the Spiritual gifts. In fact, criticism is almost always reflective of a failure to trust God to be God. There is, however, a gift of encouragement among those listed as from the Spirit. When we see things that seem imperfect or askew, the Spirit will lead us to encourage positive strides and reinforce fruitful obedience. The Spirit of God in us is never conceited and never envious.
So are you in step with the Spirit? Am I hearing from the cloud and walking in obedience? Are you running ahead or lagging behind? Are you seeking the God-Things carefully among the good things? Are their sparks of conceit? Are their flickers of envy? These are not a God-Thing.
Father God, fine tune my walk with You. Help me to see the careful detail of Your plan. Give me a heart that rejoices in Your victories both in my own walk and in the walk of others. Give me a heart that sees clearly Your mighty hand at work. Keep me from irritation and from being irritating. In Jesus' Name.