"If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another." (Galatians 5:25-26)Our Christian life is a partnership between God and us. Paul tells us to, "work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:12-13) Paul knew that, in our life, there is a part that God does and a part that we do. God's part is to change us on the inside; to make for us a new person. Our part is to let that new person shine through in our every day actions, attitudes, and behaviors. Who we are on the inside must become who we are on the outside. There must be consistency in our lives.
Religion attempts to change our outward man in hopes that it will change the inward man as well. Even the Law of Moses came as external requirements to regulate our outward behavior. However, it was powerless to change who we were on the inside. The write of Hebrews says that the Law, "can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near." (Hebrews 10:1) However, Jesus came to change our inward man by overthrowing the power of sin, setting us free from its bondage, and reconciling us back to god knowing that by changing our inward man, it would eventually change our outward man as well. Instead of external laws, Jesus brought a Kingdom that was written in our hearts. This was the promise spoken by so long ago.
"I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, "Know the Lord," for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,' declares the Lord, 'for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.'" (Jeremiah 31:33-34)Now having been changed by Christ it is up to us to live by Christ. The Greek word used to for "walk" means an orderly march or to march in rank and a straight line, Our walk in Christ is not to be haphazard but orderly, purposeful, and in sync with the will and purpose of God. Our live should be ordered by the new reality that is within us.
As part of that new reality, we must change how we relate to others. Paul enumerates, specifically, three things that are harmful in a church or any organization that is built upon relationships. The first is boasting or "vain glory." Paul tells us "not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment." (Romans 12:3) We are only a part of a larger whole and it is only in to that whole that we find our true purpose and calling. Secondly, Paul warns us against warring with one another. The word means to call one another our, to provoke, or to irritate. Paul says, "so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men." (Romans 12:18) Or as I put it, we should not seek to push each other's buttons! Finally, Paul warns against jealousy and envy. Paul tells us that contentment offers great rewards and that "if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content" (1 Timothy 6:8) knowing that, "those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction." (1 Timothy 6:9) If we so choose to live in this manor then we will show by our outward orderly life the change that has been wrought by Christ on the inside.