My school year came to a close yesterday, and as is customary, our district does a “Senior Walk.” The graduating seniors get bussed around to the elementary school they attended and parade through the halls while our current classes cheer and congratulate them. It is a really sweet time where the graduates and their former teachers can connect.
This is always one of my favorite days of the year. I bust out their 6th grade year book and we spend a few minutes just laughing and reminiscing about that year we shared together. Most of them tell me that they cannot believe how young they looked and how fast time went by. It always warms my heart when they tell me how much they missed it and enjoyed learning in my class. It is definitely a joyous and emotional time. It is one of the reasons that makes teaching totally worth it. Even if it may not always seem like I was getting through in the moment, years down the road, the example I tried to be and the values I tried to instill made an impact on some of them.
I cannot help but think how my walk with Christ parallels my time in school. Do some of my 6th grade students drive me crazy throughout the year? Yes! Do some of them refuse to listen to my instructions and advice? No doubt! Do some of them continue to deny accountability for their own actions and try to get away with stuff? Of course! As much as all of those things are true, that is exactly how my relationship with God can be. Do I drive God crazy throughout the year? Yes! Do I refuse to listen to His instruction and advice at times? No doubt! Do I, sometimes, deny accountability for my actions and try to get away with stuff? Of course! It is humbling to realize that my walk with Christ can mirror how my students act in class. Can you relate?
While it is humbling, it is also encouraging to know that if we simply submit our will to the Holy Spirit, that He will bring us where we need to be in Christ:
Galatians 5:16-17 (NLT)
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
Paul makes it clear here that we as believers in Christ have two natures, a sinful nature received at birth, inherited from Adam, and a new nature received at regeneration when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. Now, walking presumes activity; it is not a defensive stand. We enter actively into God’s will by resting in the power of the Holy Spirit. We rest in His sufficiency. We should not just attempt to walk; we should walk! Walking in the Spirit is a repeated succession of faith steps. Learning to walk in the Spirit should be as common a function as learning to walk physically.
Is it always easy to submit? No it is not. The closer we study His Word and seek Him daily, though, the easier it will become to walk in The Spirit and not carry out our sinful desires. Our desires will continue to line up more with Jesus’s. We will become less like disobedient students in class and more like Christ. Just remember that God is not finished with us and like He says in Philippians 1:6, He will continue His good work in us until the day Jesus returns! Now that is some humble reassurance!