PROVISION FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Staying in Step
(Galatians 5:16, 22–25)
“Doe den tap toe!” called the innkeepers in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Scottish lowland—“Turn off the taps!” Their cry would come as the fife and drum corps of the local regiment marched through the streets at night, signaling the soldiers to put down their pints and return to their barracks. From this beginning evolved the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (“tap toe”), held since 1950 in Edinburgh, Scotland—one of the most spectacular music and marching events in the world. While participants have come from over thirty countries through the years, the highlight of the Tattoo is always the hundreds of fifers, pipers, and drummers of the Scottish regiments—and their horses!—marching and playing with perfect lockstep precision.
While getting several hundred feet marching in step with one another is no mean feat, there is another choreographic arrangement that is even more challenging—even though it involves only two players. Paul describes it in Galatians when he says that since we as Christians claim the Holy Spirit’s power for our lives, then we need to “keep in step with the Spirit” (NIV).
Paul reminds us that if we live by the Spirit, we will not carry out the desires of our sinful nature—that is, we will not walk in a direction different from that of the Spirit. How do we know we’re out of step with the Spirit? Whenever we are involved in the kinds of sinful activities described in Galatians 5:19–21, we know that we are going one way and the Holy Spirit another. And it’s obvious at such times which one of us is going the wrong way. The Holy Spirit plays the same role as the drum major at the Tattoo—He is the leader whom we must follow.
Many things in the world tempt us to take our eyes off the Holy Spirit and get out of step. If that happens, we need to get back in step immediately. It’s the only way to be sure that we’re living the kind of life God wants us to live, a life that allows us to reach our full potential in accordance with His providential plan.
Follow the Holy Spirit’s lead and you will always walk in His will.