On a recent trip back to Australia, I spent time walking Molly and Sammy, our two family dogs. Having been well trained as a puppy, Molly walked obediently in step with me. However, Sammy was somewhat more rebellious! Preferring to remain a step ahead of me at all times, he would constantly pull and tug on his lead as he tried to rush ahead of me. In fact, it would be more realistic to say that he took me walking, because he was clearly the one running the show!
Our walk with God can sometimes be a similar kind of struggle. The Spirit of God gently tugs at our hearts, calling us to submit and fall into step with Him. But our flesh rebels against the Spirit’s leading, pulling us away from God and trying to walk independent of Him. The believers in Corinth struggled in this way. Though they had come to faith in Christ they continued to live as ‘fleshly’ people, and as a result they weren’t able to move on to spiritual maturity.
If we continue to walk according to the flesh, we will remain as spiritual infants, unable to eat the ‘solid food’ which is provided for the spiritually mature, and unable to walk in the unique plans and purposes that God has for us in His Kingdom. If we want to move forward in God we must learn to submit ourselves to His Spirit, and walk in obedient surrender, learning to walk by the Spirit, as the apostle Paul exhorts us to do in Galatians 5.
Practically, this involves making a series of choices: choosing to submit to the gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit, moment-by-moment and day-by-day. God has promised to instruct and teach us, training us how to walk in His ways. He shows us the way, and our job is to respond to His guidance. Will we turn our hearts towards Him and receive His instruction? Or will we harden our hearts, allowing our flesh to rise up in independence?
Each time we respond to Him in submission and surrender we’re taking another step forward in the journey towards spiritual maturity; choosing Christ instead of self. A well-trained and obedient dog is not just a wonderful companion, but is also able to carry out specific tasks, of great importance. For example, it can act as a guide to the visually impaired, assist in police investigations or even aid in search and rescue operations.
Similarly, a well-trained and obedient disciple can be used by God to carry out specific and significant tasks in His Kingdom. You’ve been chosen by God and appointed to be fruitful in your own unique way, and He’s already prepared good works for you to do. Keeping this in mind, may you be encouraged to continue on in submission and surrender, one choice at a time, knowing that He’s working in you, making you willing and able to obey Him more and more each day.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for the privilege and pleasure that it is, to walk each day in step with You. Please forgive me where I have tried to rush ahead of You, or have pulled away from You in independence. I now choose to humble myself before You, and surrender to You again today. Please help me to recognise each time I have an opportunity to submit to You instead of to my flesh. I desire to honour You in every choice that I make. In Jesus’ name, Amen
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