7th December 2013

Keeping in Step With the Spirit 

“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit”
Galatians 5:25 (NIV 2011) 

I am fascinated how, over 400 years, the expressions within our English Bibles have been updated to keep pace with the way our language has developed. 

Recently I noticed that my New International Version (updated in 2011) translates Galatians 5:16 as “So I say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh”. Usually, I prefer the more modern translations, but I do miss the more poetic rendition in the King James Bible: “This I say then, walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh”. 

Of course, the two translations mean exactly the same. Don’t be ensnared by sinful behaviour like jealousy and hatred (Galatians 5:19-21); instead fill my life with the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). Yet, the older translation made me ponder. What would it be like to walk in the Spirit? How would my walk be different if I walked up to someone in love? Or in kindness? 

My walking gait usually depends on the purpose of the walk. If I am off to an urgent meeting, I will walk quickly, with my focus directly ahead, looking to avoid any obstacles that may impede me. If I decide to have a stroll in the countryside, I will walk slowly, taking in the beautiful view. The fruits of the Spirit, or the desires of the flesh, rarely have any impact on my walking style! 

So, I tried an experiment. When setting off on a walk, I decided to focus on a fruit of the Spirit. For example, I went to meet someone in the office, with the fruit of love in mind. It didn’t make any difference to the way I walked – well, not that I noticed. But it did make a big difference to my attitude. I found I was much more focused on the needs of the other person during that meeting. 

Paul didn’t write Galatians 5:16 expecting me to literally walk in the Spirit, as if my walking style would change. His intention is that I live by the Spirit. What my little experiment demonstrated is that we do need to dwell on what living by the Spirit is all about. Also, we need to dwell on what living by the Spirit should be excluding from our lives. 

Let’s ponder what lives filled with love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control should be all about. And let’s ask our Father to guide us on the walk of life, allowing the Spirit to change our hearts and minds. 

Father, thank you for the wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit. Please guide us on how to live in the Spirit and on how to put to death the works of the flesh. We ask this in the name of the One who has made the gift of the Holy Spirit possible – Jesus Christ, our saviour.

Study by Ian Woodley


About the Author:
Ian Woodley pastors the Nottingham Grace Communion Church, that meets at 2pm Saturday, as below.  Ian also facilitates a monthly Bible Study in Lincoln, which generally meets on a Saturday at 1:30pm.  They welcome visitors to join them—for more details contact Ian Woodley as below.

Local Congregation: 
Nottingham Grace Communion
Lucy Brown Hall
Attenborough Lane

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2pm

Local Congregational Contact:
Ian Woodley
Email:  icgwoodley@gmail.com

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Print This Article


Got something to say?