Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)
As Christians, how do we know if we’re “in step” with the Holy Spirit? To answer this question, we must first understand the primary goal of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
According to Scripture, the Holy Spirit’s primary goal is to make us a lot like Jesus.
This goal is more important than any spiritual experience or ministry we may have, and more important than any spiritual gift or knowledge that we may receive. Although these things are significant, the main goal of the Holy Spirit and the Father is to transform our character to make us like Jesus.
This is taught directly by the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:17: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
Paul says that we’re “being transformed into His image.” This signifies an ongoing daily process of the Holy Spirit working in us and through us as we cultivate our relationship with Christ. This is not a one-time occurrence, such as the moment when we trusted our lives to Christ and received the indwelling Holy Spirit. Similar to any relationship, our relationship with Jesus requires that we spend time with Him.
Jesus describes this type of relationship in John 15:7: “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you can ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you.” In order to abide in Him, we must get to know Him intimately.
Jesus then goes on to explain what the purpose of this is in verse 8: “This is to My Father’s glory that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves, demonstrating, or proving to be My disciples.”
Therefore, our goal as Christians is to allow the Holy Spirit to transform our character so that we bear much fruit – in other words, to exude Christ-likeness.
So how do we know if we’re keeping in step with the Spirit?
We’re in step with the Spirit when we allow our characteristics to be influenced by Jesus’ characteristics. Therefore, the “fruit” Jesus talked about is not activity and it is not external ministry either.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal 5:22-23)
One of the ways we can know if we’re becoming more Christlike is that we are progressively becoming more loving, joyful, peaceful, gentle, patient, kind and good, faithful and under self-control. For example, we may regularly find ourselves choosing to do things that we probably wouldn’t do ordinarily. We may choose to give more of our time or our money, or we may choose to reach out and care for people that we would usually rather not.
We may also find that we are choosing to praise and worship God even when we’re experiencing the most difficult circumstances in our lives. We will also have a greater sense of peace, all because we trust in the goodness and loving kindness of God.
Ultimately, we will be living lives that are characterized by Christ’s love.
Jesus said: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39)
The good news is that we don’t have to strive to do any of this on our own. Our only responsibility is to allow Christ to live through us as we live by faith in the community of God’s people and trust His Word. It’s the Holy Spirit’s responsibility to transform us and reproduce the life of Christ in our lives.
This week, we will begin the series, Holy Spirit: Experiencing His Power and Presence 24/7. In it, we’ll learn about the person of the Holy Spirit, as well as gain a deeper understanding of how the indwelling of the Holy Spirit deepens our intimacy with God. It’s my prayer that during our time together we’ll experience the Holy Spirit’s presence in ways we’ve never imagined possible.
Keep Pressin’ Ahead,
Chip Ingram, Teaching Pastor
Living on the Edge
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip