The Gracious Spirit

Our family is memorizing Psalm 143:10 “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.” What strikes me in this verse is the adjective attached to Spirit. He is gracious. We talk a lot about the grace of God in sending Jesus.  The Spirit has been given to all believers as a seal or guarantee of the fulfillment of that grace in an eternity with God. The most common understanding of the Spirit’s work in our lives is that of convicting us of sin and compelling us to live holy lives. This indeed the Spirit does. For certainly he testifies to Christ and reminds us of all that Christ taught and did. However, the Spirit of God is not a taskmaster with whip poised demanding a behavior makeover. Instead, as Psalm 143 implies, He is a gracious guide. It is in grace that He leads us forward.

When I was younger, I remember being taught that “walking in the Spirit” simply meant living with no known sin in my life. Unfortunately this description falls woefully short of the precious relationship that is walking in the Spirit. Having no deliberate sin interfering with that relationship is essential, but the only way I can live without sin, is by allowing the Spirit of God to graciously lead me forward on firm footing. And that requires a relationship in which I rely on His power in me, searching me, knowing me, and leading me in the “way everlasting.”  It is a dynamic growing relationship in which I no longer pursue fleshly desires because the Spirit of God is leading me toward spiritual desires.  It is only because God’s Spirit is gracious in me that I have any hope of firm footing at all.

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