Have you ever been in the military or a marching band? I was in marching band in high school and I remember the summer just before my freshman year learning how to march. It seems very basic and easy, but you always need to be aware of which foot you are on compared with everyone else and you had to be sure that your lines were straight. Being aware of everything and everyone around you was crucial! I remember spending a lot of time drilling marching basics before we even picked up our instruments. The basics of marching needed to be mastered before we could play. I didn’t fully understand why until we were finally able to play our instruments while we marched; however, we didn’t use our music because the band instructor wanted us to try marching while we played a scale first. I remember how difficult that first march with my instrument seemed! It would have been nearly impossible to march in step if I hadn’t mastered the basics of marching first. That is what it is like in our spiritual walk as well. Please enjoy reading Galatians 5:22-26 one more time with new insight.
After studying each fruit a week at a time, do these verses have a new meaning for you? We also learned in our journey how intertwined these virtues are with one another. After looking at them a little more closely over the last eleven weeks, I still feel that love is the virtue that binds them all together. Until we experience God’s love for us are we able to fully share love with others. It is very difficult to truly share and demonstrate any of the other virtues without loving first. As I finished up studying self control, I realized how important self control is with all these virtues. Love first gives us new insight, and self control takes the next step to help us demonstrate all the other virtues. Without self control, we will not practice the spiritual disciplines necessary to grow all the other fruit. Just like I had to learn the basics of marching before I could play and march, we need to be disciplined to grow in our walk every day before we are going to keep growing more fruit for God.
Finally, please look at verse 25, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Have you ever watched a marching band in a parade and found someone out of step? They stick out like a sore thumb! When we say we follow Christ, but we do not show Christ-like behavior, we stick out just like the person in the parade that is out of step. We need to keep in step with the Spirit. In a marching band, the drum major determines the tempo and when and where the band will march; in our spiritual walk the Spirit gives us our tempo and leads us where we are to go. Remember what we learned at the beginning of this study? The Spirit will always lead us the correct way; He will never lead us into sin and destruction. We need to follow His lead and keep in step with Him. The Spirit wants us to be aware of our environment and bear fruit for God. If you are unsure if you are out of step, pray for understanding so you can get in step.
Are you in step with the Spirit? After looking at what fruit God wants us to bear do you see where you may be out of step?