What does it mean to walk in the Spirit, and, more importantly, how do we do it? That is the big question for our sermon this weekend. The primary text is Colossians 2:6-7, and the supplemental text is John 15:1-8.
Here’s the Colossians image again.
This verse summarizes the process needed to walk in the spirit.
First, we must acknowledge that we follow a leader. Jesus is Lord. The Lord is not Caesar. It’s not the President. It’s not money, fame, power, or pleasure. It most certainly is not me, or you. Yet, one of the most powerful American myths is that I am the master of my own destiny.
Like Bob Dylan said, “you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”
The sooner we realize that life is about following something, the sooner we can actually get on course instead of wandering around in the dark, wondering if there is even a path at all.
Second, we must walk. That means we must put one foot in front of the other. To acknowledge that we follow a leader and we aren’t the master of our own destiny is not to say that we have nothing to do or no input into our life and health.
God is active and moving in this world. God, through Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, invites us each day to participate in God’s mission to bring peace, healing, and wholeness to all of creation. We can’t walk in this process unless we actually do something.
Third, we must acknowledge the source of our purpose and our strength. The Apostle Paul uses two metaphors to help us understand this. We are connected to Jesus like a tree is connected to the ground through its root system, or like a branch is connected to the vine (John 15:1-8). We are also firmly established in Jesus like a brick is properly aligned and incorporated into the building by its relationship to the cornerstone.
This message is similar to the first point. We follow a leader who guides us where we should go. That leader also supports and sustains us so that we can actually follow and not grow weary in the journey. In other words, God, through Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, is in front of us, behind us, under us, and in us, all the way.
The logical question at this point is, “So, where is Jesus leading us?” Simply put, Jesus is leading us to live in, what he called, “The Kingdom of Heaven.” Jesus invites us, not to a physical destination, but to a way of being in this world. He invites us to love God and to love our neighbor—all our neighbors—in the same way he did. He leads you through your unique journey to encounter your daily, mundane life saturated with the love of God. Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation offers the path that I believe Jesus leads us to follow. Read it here.
Fourth, the product of this process is an overflow of Thanksgiving. Notice how the outcome is not success, or importance, or even arriving at a particular destination. The outcome is an abundance of gratitude. That is the same word, in the Greek, for grace. It is an endless, renewable resource.
So, walking in the Spirit is about trusting the one we follow, taking action while relying on the divine strength to do so, and living into a life of overflow.
I came up with an “Overflow Prayer” many years ago that reflects this daily process.
This video explains it