Never. Stop. Moving.

by Jul 12, 2017

Never. Stop. Moving.

by Jul 12, 2017

Never. Stop. Moving.

by Jul 12, 2017

Life with God is a journey. That’s the consistent metaphor used throughout the Bible:

  • Psalm 119:105 — “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
  • Proverbs 3:6 — “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
  • Isaiah 35:8 — “And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.”
  • Ephesians 2:10 — “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
  • Colossians 1:10 — “Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”

Life with God is an expedition. We’re always progressing. Advancing. Growing with Christ.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Life with God is an expedition. We’re always progressing. Advancing. Growing with Christ.[/perfectpullquote]The problem is that sometimes we don’t feel like going anywhere. We just want to settle down. We want to get to a place in our relationship with Jesus where we’ve arrived. We want to find a nice place to just set up camp and chill. Traveling is a pain.

Like traveling to Europe. This summer I got to take my family on an epic trip to France, Italy, Austria, and Greece. For some reason, I didn’t realize it would take us two full days to get there from Hawaii. And two full days to get back. Insane! We live in 2017. I just assume you should be able to get anywhere in the world in 12 hours or less. But that’s just not the case. We must have had 25 stopovers. Each way. And I think I got patted down by security at every single stop. “Sir, you’ve been randomly selected for a full-body inspection. I need to warn you, it is intrusive. Do I have your permission to proceed?” I thought, “How intrusive could it be? We’re standing here in a public place with 100 people watching us.” Then I realized how intrusive it could be. It was a very long trip.

Life as a Christian is the same. And we shouldn’t be surprised — it’s always been that way. God called Abraham out of Ur all the way to Canaan. Then he sent Abraham’s whole tribe from Canaan to Egypt. Then he brought all the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt back to Canaan, and he took them the long way. The Israelites tried to suggest shortcuts: “Hey God? I think if we take a right here, it’s a shortcut. We could save a few hours.” God’s response? “We’re taking the long-cut. I’m adding forty years to the trip!”

The journey isn’t short. It’s not always easy. But we’ve got an incredible destination in front of us, and we have God with us. The Israelites had the pillar of cloud and fire, and we have the Holy Spirit. That’s the encouragement Paul gives to the Galatians when he tells them to “walk by the Spirit” (Gal 5:16).

He says this because the Galatians are thinking about ending the journey and settling down. They’re tempted to think that if the just start obeying the Law of Moses then they’ll finally arrive. “If we just get circumcised and stop eating bacon, then we’ll be at the destination. We’ll achieve holiness. So then we can just kick back and chill.”

Paul’s response? Sure, you can do that. You can just set up camp and chill. But God is going to keep moving. He’s going to leave you behind. And all of you guys who stay in the camp? You’re just going to start bickering and fighting with each other. That’s what kids do on a trip when they stop moving. They get bored. Restless. And then they turn on each other. I know this from experience: you’ve gotta keep moving!

As Paul says in Galatians 5:15, “If you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” That’s what happens when you think you’ve arrived. You start judging the people around you. You start biting and devouring them. You operate out of the desires of your flesh. So in the very next verse Paul says, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

Walking with God means walking by the Spirit. Or, in other words, depending on the Spirit. That’s how Jesus encouraged us in John 14: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever. … And the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” In fact, the promise of the Spirit goes all the way back to Ezekiel 36: “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”

Walking with God means depending on the Spirit. That’s what Paul says in Ephesians 5: “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” In other words, don’t get filled up with wine, instead get filled up by the Spirit.

So what does it mean to be filled by the Spirit? Well, why do we get filled up by anything? Why do people get drunk on wine, or beer, or fruity cocktails with umbrellas on top? To relax when they’re tense. To forget about their problems. To loosen their inhibitions. To give them confidence at a party. They’re dependent on alcohol to do what they can’t do for themselves. They need a substance to fill them up with peace, joy, or confidence.

So Paul says, “Why would you depend on a substance to do what the Holy Spirit’s supposed to do?” He’s the one who’s here to fill us up with everything we need. We can depend on the Spirit for peace, joy, confidence, and security instead of all the other things in life we lean on.

That’s how we’ll keep moving in this journey of faith. By depending on the Spirit for everything we need along the way. We don’t need to worry about the future. We don’t need to grab things for ourselves. We don’t need to fight with other people to get what we want. We don’t need to be jealous of people who have what we don’t.

We can keep walking with Jesus by depending on the Spirit.