Recently I purchased a new iPhone. I read the part in the instructions about charging the phone, and then stopped reading. I went to the Apple store and asked for their help to set it up and then I followed their instructions.
The phone received email and stored my music but it didn’t work as a phone. Had I initially read just a bit further, I would have known about the activation of the phone that enabled it to receive calls. Until then, I possessed a well-charged hand held computer that was intended to be a phone.
I tend to do this same sort of thing when it comes to the spiritual life. I stop reading or listening too soon, thinking I can figure out the rest on my own.
The apostle Paul seemed to say two things that were true of the spiritual life. The first is that spiritual life is a result of the living presence of God’s Spirit within me, marking me as His own. Created as spiritual beings, humanity has spent a lifetime trying to satisfy their spiritual hunger through all sorts of temporal and perishable things. All these attempts point to our desire to feed our souls with that which is truly life giving.
Yet the creator has fashioned our spirits to be restored and nurtured in life through the breath of His own Holy Spirit. This happens as a gift of grace through faith. In my own experience as a Christian, I think I get this. But this is where I may have the tendency to not read far enough, listen long enough, or watch closely enough.
In Paul’s letter to Galatia he says, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” It is Paul’s second instruction that I often miss or fail to heed. I can so easily believe that God’s role was to supply the life while my role was to choose the path and find my own way to the destination.
Similar to my experience with the phone, by not reading further I’ve missed a crucial peace of information. Not only does the Spirit mark me and fill me with the life of God, He also empowers me to continue to walk with God. My role is to continue to read on and listen for His promptings and power, giving both direction and the strength to walk in God’s ways.
In Christ, through the Spirit, I am not just given a reprieve from death. I have the capacity and power to live out His transforming, resurrection life now; not by my might, but by His power. It simply a matter of continuing to trust what He says and allow His Holy Spirit to activate His new creation life within me.
I’m learning to read further, listen longer, and watch more closely so I can be and experience all the Creator intends.