Staying in Step


There are many things in the world which tempt us to take our eyes off the Holy Spirit and get out of step with him.

Galatians 5:16, 25

“Doe den tap toe!” would call the inn keepers in the 17th-18th century lowlands of Scotland—“Turn off the taps!” Their cry would come as the fife and drum corps of the local regiment would march through the streets at night, signaling the soldiers to put down their pints and return to their barracks. From this unintentional beginning evolved the 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 30 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 lock-step precision.

While getting several hundred feet and hooves marching in step with one another is no mean feat, there is another choreographic arrangement that is even more challenging—even though it only involves two “people.” Paul describes it in Galatians when he says that, as Christians, if we are going to claim to have the Holy Spirit then we need to “keep in step with the Spirit.” He has just reminded us that if we live by the Spirit we will not carry out the desires of our sinful nature—i.e., we will not walk in a direction different than the Spirit. How do we know we’re out of step with the Spirit? Whenever a Christian is involved in sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like (Gal. 5:19-21), we know that we are going one way and the Holy Spirit is going another. And we know who it is that is that’s 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.

There are many things in the world which tempt us to take our eyes off the Holy Spirit and get out of step with him. If that happens, we need to get back in step immediately. It’s the only way to be sure that we won’t carry out the desires of the flesh.

God’s Promise to You: “Follow the Holy Spirit’s lead and you will always walk in my will.” 

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