I crave days at home. Cherish them. No running around. No daytime deadlines. No need to preen. PJs until noon (okay, I’ve been caught in my PJs well into the afternoon). Fresh, hot coffee all morning long. The prospect of relaxed productivity, should I choose to tackle something lurking in the pile on my desk. Kids on task with school work. Dinner being handled by someone else. An opportunity at some point for exercise. My ideal day!
It was a day just like this. My only commitment an evening double date with a favorite couple. My self-imposed schedule included an hour-long workout timed perfectly to hop directly in the shower to be ready to leave by 5:45 p.m. My youngest daughter, the only one home that afternoon, happily mixed the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies as I changed clothes. iPad and sweat towel in hand, I headed from my bathroom to the elliptical and encountered my daughter, bowl of cookie dough cradled in one arm. “How does this look?” she asked. It actually had a very interesting sheen. “Did you melt the butter rather than let it soften?” I inquired. “Yes.” That explained the slick appearance of the dough. But the smell? What was that? “It’ll be fine, honey. You’re doing great,” I encouraged as she made her way back to the kitchen.
Flipping off the lights in my bathroom, something subtly nudged. A question quietly posed in my spirit: Why don’t you ask her if she wants to play a game together while her cookies bake? I considered the alternative: My daughter, whose love language is quality time, contentedly baking alone, while I spent my last hour of freedom exercising, totally satisfying my selfish goals. What was I going to do?
“You want me to forget about exercising and play a game with you between batches?” I asked as I rounded the corner to the kitchen. “That would be great,” she answered.
The smell? Maple. Darn if that bottle didn’t look just like the vanilla! The game never happened. Instead, we salvaged our last two cups of chocolate chips from the maple dough in order to reuse them in the new dough. But it was time well spent.
Getting things just right in the kitchen is one thing. What about getting things right in life? Stewarding well by learning to walk in the Spirit, be led by the Spirit, and live in the Spirit?
If you’ve attended church long, you’ve likely heard one of these terms, but is it some esoteric ideal only the super spiritual elite achieve? How in the world do we actually do this?
Baking instead of exercising. Laying in bed with a child chatting about spiritual things instead of relaxing in front of the television at the end of a stressful day. Taking a phone call from a friend in need instead of marking the next item off my list. Gratifying another’s desires at the expense of mine.
To walk in the Spirit, peripateōin the Greek, means to “make one’s way, make due use of opportunities, regulate, conduct, and pass one’s life” in the Holy Spirit, pneuma in the Greek, from the root pneō, which means “breathe, blow, of the wind” ( www.blueletterbible.com, Galatians 5:16). When we are saved by grace through faith, we are given the Holy Spirit. The third person of the triune God dwells within us. He is spirit, so He is not tangible. Visible. Measurable in the natural. He breathes. He blows. He is wind.
John 3:8 says, "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." Interestingly, wind is the same Greek word as Spirit in Galatians 5:16. The Spirit is wind. He does what the root word for pneumasuggests: He blows.
What does wind do when it blows? It moves objects. Causes them to bend, to veer. You don’t see the wind, only its effects. So it is when we are born of the Spirit. He blows us where He intends or resolves or purposes us to go, causing us to like to do a thing, be fond of it, take delight and pleasure in it (thelō, www.blueletterbible.com, John 3:8). We don’t see Him. We just see the bending. Us being steered. Going with the gust.
So, to walk in the Spirit is to make our way and make due use of opportunities as the Holy Spirit propels us to take pleasure in doing what pleases Him. We perceive Him, sensing what He says to us, and then He brings us under His way of life. It’s letting Him blow us where He wants us to go. We can be a tree, stiff and unmoving, and eventually find ourselves flat on the ground, roots exposed and nowhere to go. Or we can be like tall grass, bending and swaying with the direction of the wind. To walk in the Spirit is to be tall grass.
To be led by the Spirit is for the Spirit to lay hold of us in order to bring us to the point of His destination for us, attaching Himself to us, and accompanying us along the way (agō, www.blueletterbible.com, Galatians 5:18). Picture an animal following by lead and bit a loving master whose main concern is its well being. As the master tugs the lead, the animal follows. Where does the owner lead the animal? To shelter and safety. To food and provision. To its place of work and purpose and function. How does the animal view the master? With complete trust. As its caregiver, provider, protector, and security. It is the same with us and the Spirit. Again, we can be tree or grass. We can submit and go willingly where the master leads, or we can dig in our heels, tug against the lead. To be led by the Spirit is to go willingly.
The result? Life in the Spirit! To live in the Spirit is for every breath to be of Him; to be among the living, not lifeless and dead, but rather enjoying true life worthy of the name of Jesus, active, blessed, endless in the kingdom of God; to be in full vigor, fresh, strong, and efficient; living water, having vital power in itself and exerting the same upon the soul (zaō, www.blueletterbible.com, Galatians 5:25).
What does it all mean? Seasonal stewarship by wind, bit, and lead.
The wind. A nudge. A quiet question or thought whispered to our spirit. We walk. We make our way. We make due use of opportunities. In response to the wind. As it blows us where He wants us to go. Taking delight in what brings Him pleasure.
The pull. The lead. We follow.
The life. Fresh. Strong. Efficient. Vital. Eternal.
The doing? Laying face flat on the floor, prostrate before our God. At the foot of the cross. Surrendered. Adoring, thanking, worshipping, interceding, receiving. Sitting at the feet of Jesus, in His word. Standing. Going. Tirelessly repeating.
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:7-9).
Lord, let us steward well as we walk by the Spirit, are led by the Spirit, and live in the Spirit, every day becoming more wholly Yours as we do. Sowing to the Spirit and reaping everlasting life. Thank you, Lord!