What is it that draws me to the choreography and sychronous movement of backup dancing or drill team? Why am I enlivened by the invitation to “keep in step with the Spirit?” As I ponder that, I recognize something about myself. I don’t need to be the main atttraction. I want to be a part of what makes the main attraction expand from 2D to a 3D, multi-faceted, mesmerizing event.
In order for a drill team to perform successfully, there are hours of practice. But it isn’t individuals doing their own thing. It is individuals, listening carefully to the leader who has the vision, the big picture, and then individually doing their part at exactly the right time, with exactly the right tempo. The success of a drill team depends on listening well. It depends on being in tune with the leader and the other team members.
Keeping in step with the Spirit involves the same kind of intense listening and responding to the cues he gives. Isaiah, prophesying blessing for God’s people, says this:
Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say,“This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left.Isaiah 30:21
Too often I am stubborn. I imagine that my movements aren’t exciting enough or my part is less important than someone else. I am tempted to do my own thing. But what if I saw myself as part of a great sychronized movement orchestrated by God himself with the Holy Spirit as the leader and coach? What if the beauty and impact of my life depended on obedience to the directives of the Holy Spirit? Apostle Paul’s letter to the churches in Galatia gives this admonition:
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.Galatians 5:24-26
When I made the decision to follow Jesus, I simultaneously agreed that my way is not the best. In agreeing that living autonomously is not my desire, I submitted to the guidance and presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. Since I live by the Spirit, I want to keep in step with him. The fastest way to get out of step is by doing my own thing – that’s conceit. And when I become excessively proud of myself, I stop listening and I jealously stir others up. In other words, I incite a protest.
If my desire is a sychronous, harmonious lifestyle that displays the talent of my Leader, I need to keep in step with the Spirit. I do that best when I listen. He speaks to me through scripture, songs, nature, family, friends, in the quiet of my heart. He lets me know when to turn right and when to turn left. And if I don’t hear him telling me to turn, I continue in a forward trajectory. Even when it doesn’t seem to make sense. I trust that he sees the big picture and is creating an amazing display that awes the unseen powers in the heavenly realms.
Who or what are you listening to? What kind of impact does it have on your life? Who are you in step with: your flesh or the Spirit?