“Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives.” (Galatians 5:25 – MSG)
One of the odd things about discipleship, is that we live in a physical world, but discipleship involves spiritual realities. If I’m honest, I know that much of what I have called spiritual growth could be done just as easily if the Holy Spirit were not present. I remember the day when some of this physical, spiritual divide really started to come together for me. Unexpectedly, it was the act of going for a walk that helped me bring the physical and spiritual aspects of discipleship together in a way that has changed the way I experienced my own walk with God and the way I seek to help others in their discipleship journey.
I came across an interesting path. The path was centered around the shape of a cross. If I followed the path. It would lead me to the center of the cross. It was not possible to make a wrong turn and get lost. Even though the next steps were always clear as I walked, I could never tell if I was getting closer or farther from the center.
Sometimes the path would take me very near the center and then it would turn, and I would be walking at the outer edge again. This physical walk is meant to provide a participatory demonstration of what it’s like to walk with the Spirit. To walk this path, you have no choice but to trust the path. It will lead you to the center of the cross. But even when everything in you says, leave the path and take a different route, if you trust the path, you will never get lost.
As I followed that path back out from the center, I began to understand what I had not before. In the process of trying to live the life of the spirit, I was always trying to force the issue. If I did not feel spiritual, I would pretend or invent spiritual stuff. If it seemed I was not close to God as I was before, I was filled with guilt and even shame. As I left the path that day, I understood what it means to believe better than I had. Trust the path. Trust the spirit. Trust the promises of God.
Follow the spirit and the path will be true. I will never know when the way the spirit takes me will lead me closer or farther. But if I remain in faith, it will lead me to Jesus. In God’s way and in God’s time. I will not be lost. Trust, believe, walk in faith. You can imagine that this understanding transformed how I seek to disciple others.
If I can help another fellow disciple in finding the path, and then walking with them until they trust the path, I can trust the life of the spirit to take it from there. Sometimes it seems the other person is moving away from Jesus and sometimes it seems they are closer than they really are. I no longer try to force others to be where I think they should be. They will not be lost. Trust, believe, walk in faith.
“Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts but work out its implications in every detail of our lives.” (Galatians 5:25 – MSG)
EFCC Alberta Parkland District Superintendent