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Keeping Step



For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  - Galatians 5:13 ESV

Over the past six months, I have been learning how to sleep with the assistance of a CPAP. A CPAP is a machine that uses mild air pressure to keep breathing airways open while you sleep. If you can stand wearing the mask, CPAP use can improve your quality of life drastically. Unfortunately, the mask feels like a face hugger from the Alien movies. It doesn’t look much better either, resembling the Darth Vader mask, but not nearly as cool.

According to CPAP.com, It is estimated that between one-third and one-half of all people who start using a CPAP will quit within the first year. I did not have much of a choice though, I could either live like a zombie or I could make the CPAP work. So, I have been experimenting with different masks and adjustments to see what works best for me. 

I found the right mask but struggled with the right fit for about a month. I started with the mask a bit loose. As I moved during the night, the seal between my face and the mask would lift in various places, allowing air to escape. This rendered the mask ineffective. I decided to tighten the mask but then found the tight fit restricted the airflow not allowing me to breathe freely, also rendering the mask ineffective. It was not until I adjusted the mask according to the need in each area, balancing the grip, that I could fully integrate the use and benefits of my CPAP. 

Christians also tend to gravitate toward one of two camps with how to walk out their faith. Either we are tight in keeping the law or loose in reliance on grace, both extremes render our faith ineffective. I have been in both camps. When I was tight in keeping the law, I was struggling in my own effort to be good. I wanted an easy 3 step process to be a good Christian, a list of things to do and not to do. This desire came from a deeper desire to understand and control the process of becoming holy.

 What it actually did was keep me restrained from enjoying the goodness of God and the life he has given me. In Galatians, Paul says “ For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse” and “ For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” When we try to put the Christian life into a box like this, we are robbing ourselves of seeing the beauty and depth of God’s love. 



Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. -Galatians 2:16 ESV

When I was walking loosely in reliance on grace, I had no regard for sin and believed that since God was merciful and saw my heart, I had the freedom to do anything. I believed the lie that certain sin was not a big deal and that acceptance and kindness were most important. When I lived this way, I fell prey to many lies and bad habits that created separation between me and God. Cursing, drug use, and sexual immorality tainted my walk with God and marked me a useless servant. I was more worried about what I could get away with as a Christian than whether what I did served the purposes of the Lord. 

In Romans 8 there is a comparison between the law of the Spirit of life and the law of sin and death. We have been set free but we are not lawless in Christ. Rather, we have close relations and are being made new by the lawmaker who now resides within us. If God in his abundant mercy has died for our sake so that we can be free from sin and death, how can we take advantage of His kindness and willfully keep sinning? 

True repentance is to mourn our sin and turn away from it. We should also not forget that there is an enemy who rules this world, looking for every opportunity to sway our steps. Ephesians 5 says, “ Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil.” Although we have been set free in Christ, we are not to leave our watch post and allow the enemy’s deceit to hinder our calling to holiness. 


And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. - Galatians 5:24-25 ESV

After experiencing these two camps of Christianity, I was left feeling like the Christian life was impossible. Here’s the hard truth… it is. That is kind of the point. This is why when Jesus ascended, He sent us a Helper. The new law of the Spirit of life does not cage us but transforms our very being. Galatians 3:27 says, “ For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” This means as we continue to seek Him, turn from sin and make room for the Holy Spirit to work; The power of Christ that is within us will create a natural change. Our perspectives, desires and hearts will change. We will rejoice in what He rejoices and mourn over what he mourns. 


But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.  -Galatians 5:16-17 ESV

As we give over control to the Spirit, all striving ceases and we can have the assurance that the dead, useless parts of us will fall away and we will be renewed. Walking in the Spirit is simply having an intimate relationship with God. While the idea may be simple, it is not easy. To have a healthy relationship with God we must recognize and have reverence for who He is. We must recognize Him as our Lord, putting Him in the proper place in our lives. Dedicating ourselves to His will and not our own. We must make room for Him in our lives, spending quality time in His presence and learning to hear His voice. We must wash ourselves in the Word so that we may know Him deeper and be able to decipher between His ways and the world’s. We must pray, having intimate conversations with our Father.

The closer we draw to God, the more familiar we become with the rhythm of His ways. He is not looking for perfection but a heart surrendered to Him, with the aim to do good. He is looking for those who seek to love Him in response to the love He has given. Those who desire His goodness over all things. 

I am still learning to recognize this Holy rhythm. This isn’t easy to do because we are physical beings who are not familiar with the Spiritual. Learning Spiritual things will inevitably be a challenge. There is also the enemy, throwing cares of the world and distractions toward us in an effort to keep us from God. Still, God promises to be with us. If we ask, He will strengthen us to be able to keep in step with the Spirit.







Remember to prioritize firsthand Bible reading every day, only the Word has the power to transform. "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV


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