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Tag Archives: keeping in step with the Holy Spirit

How to Keep in Step with the Holy Spirit in 2023

As I continue my study of the Old Testament in 2023, I have noticed a correlation between keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, and habitually walking with God. Moses describes the spiritual life of Enoch and Noah to habitually walking with God. Rather than being consumed with unwholesome addictions, bad habits, and lustful cravings, these two godly men kept in step with God’s Spirit. Inquiring minds want to know, how is this possible to accomplish while living in 2023?

Let your eyes look right on [with fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you. 26 Consider well the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established and ordered aright. 27 Turn not aside to the right hand or to the left; remove your foot from evil, Proverbs 4:25-27.

One of the wisest human beings to ever walk the face of the earth chimes in on this topic in the passage above. King Solomon claims that being task and goal oriented isn’t enough to keep in step with the Holy Spirit. Rather, you need to be vision oriented, living with your eyes daily fixated on Jesus, Hebrews 12:1-2. When considering where to go and what to do like Jesus in Mark 1:35, ask yourself does this activity align with God’s will? Whatever you decide, following the advice in Proverbs 4:27 will guide you in the right direction to keep in step with the Holy Spirit.

Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God, Hebrews 12:1-2.

The context of the passage above occurs immediately following the Bible’s Hall of Faith, Hebrews 11. The individuals recognized for this lifetime achievement award each demonstrated the ability to keep in step with God’s Holy Spirit. Subsequently, when the author starts with therefore to begin a new chapter, this a call to follow in their spiritual footsteps of faith. You can’t clearly keep in step with the Holy Spirit until you strip away and throw off any addicts, bad habits and unwholesome cravings from your life. As you mature spiritually by daily confessing your sins to God, fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. While this process will take weeks, months and years to complete, somewhere along the way you will keep in step with the Holy Spirt, Galatians 5:25.

by Jay Mankus

What Do You Need Help with Today?

Jesus models how to seek help from God daily in Mark 1:35-39. Jesus first took a walk every in the morning to clear His mind. After finding a solitary place where He could concentrate, Jesus began to pray in this place, pouring his heart out to His heavenly father. While John Mark doesn’t mention the length of Jesus’ prayer time, apparently, He had just concluded praying when the disciples found Him.

I have told you these things while I am still with you. 26 But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you, John 14:25-26.

While I haven’t taught in a decade and coached in 7 years, I have developed an eye and ear to help those in need. As long as I don’t put blinders on, I recognize the needs of my co-workers. Unfortunately, a lack of motivation often causes me to commit sins of inaction, James 4:14-17. Rather than be the hands and feet of Jesus, selfish ambitions and my sinful nature prevent me from doing what I know is right, Romans 7:15-17.

And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires. 25 If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit [g]we have our life in God, let us go forward [h]walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.] 26 Let us not become vainglorious and self-conceited, competitive and challenging and provoking and irritating to one another, envying and being jealous of one another, Galatians 5:24-26.

According to the apostle Paul, the solution to human nature is keeping in step with the Holy Spirit. Just like Jesus fought off the desire to sleep in (hitting the snooze button today), the Spirit is willing but human bodies are weak, Matthew 26:41. Paul writes about willing your body like a professional athlete in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. If you’re like me, still struggling to constantly seek out those in need, pray verses Matthew 26:41 and Galatians 5:25 so God’s Spirit prevails, transforming you into a servant of Christ.

by Jay Mankus

Is it the Devil or My Own Sinful Desires?

Comedian Flip Wilson popularized the phrase “the devil made me do it,” back in the 1970’s. A few years later the first Stars Wars film introduced the dark side as an alternative excuse for why someone makes a bad decision. While Jesus did battle a real Devil early in the first century, the apostle Paul makes the best argument in Romans 7 and Romans 8 for why people continue to sin and fall short of God’s glory daily.

And the tempter came and said to Him, If You are God’s Son, command these stones to be made [[a]loaves of] bread. But He replied, It has been written, Man shall not live and be upheld and sustained by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. Then the devil took Him into the holy city and placed Him on [b]a turret (pinnacle, [c]gable) of the temple [d]sanctuary. And he said to Him, If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, He will give His angels charge over you, and they will bear you up on their hands, lest you strike your foot against a stone. Jesus said to him, [e]On the other hand, it is written also, You shall not tempt, [f]test thoroughly, or [g]try exceedingly the Lord your God, Matthew 4:3-7.

Galatians 5:16-25 highlights the internal struggle that every human being faces. You can follow Jesus by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25. Or you can choose to fulfill any earthly pleasure that you may have by indulging your fleshly desires, Romans 8:5-8. Free will offers everyone daily opportunities to decide for yourself like the archangel Lucifer and 1/3 of the angels in heaven.

We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am a creature of the flesh [carnal, unspiritual], having been sold into slavery under [the control of] sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [[b]which my moral instinct condemns]. 16 Now if I do [habitually] what is contrary to my desire, [that means that] I acknowledge and agree that the Law is good (morally excellent) and that I take sides with it. 17 However, it is no longer I who do the deed, but the sin [principle] which is at home in me and has possession of me, Romans 7:14-17.

Jesus’ earthly brother addresses the question: did the Devil make me do it or am I my worst enemy? James 1:13-15 clarifies that God is not to blame. Rather, enticement and lust continue to deceive and lead astray millions of people, especially Christians. Just like Eve in Genesis 3:3-6, a second glance at the Tree of Knowledge hooked her immediately. In Eve’s mind, the decision to sin was conceived. While one of Jesus’ disciples suggests that the Devil does know our weaknesses, 1 Peter 5:8, how you respond to temptation is often based upon your mindset, 1 Corinthians 10:13. Look for the way out of sinning.

by Jay Mankus

Unrestrained and Unregulated

Light and darkness often appear together in the Bible. These common terms are designed to illustrate one’s spiritual condition. Anyone who walks with God by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25, is considered a child of the light. Those who exercise their own freewill by choosing to indulge their sinful nature live in darkness, unrestrained and unregulated from God’s commands.

Everyone who commits (practices) sin is guilty of lawlessness; for [that is what] sin is, lawlessness (the breaking, violating of God’s law by transgression or neglect—being unrestrained and unregulated by His commands and His will), 1 John 3:4.

Over the course of my life, I’ve met thousands of individuals. There is one particular individual that I can recall who was unrestrained and unregulated. This person was unfiltered, saying and doing whatever came to his mind. While going down the beach with a friend, I made the mistake of getting into this guy’s car. This was the most uncomfortable and scariest car ride I have ever experienced.

But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God). 17 For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do, Galatians 5:16-17.

The apostle Paul refers to the spiritual aspect of being unrestrained and unregulated. These individuals choose to be led by sinful cravings. Rather than respond or be guided by the Holy Spirit, temporary pleasures become their sole focus. The only way to break this lifestyle is by putting to death your old self as described in Colossians 3:1-9. While making any type of change takes time, but with God anything is possible, Philippians 4:13.

by Jay Mankus

Stimulating Your Spiritual Senses

Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment star in the 1999 film the Sixth Sense. Willis plays a child psychologist who encounters Osment, a young boy with an unique gift. This Sixth Sense remains hidden within Cole until Dr. Malcolm Crowe earns his trust. Following a series of sessions, Cole takes a risk to reveal “I see dead people.” Whenever an usual gift or talent is uncovered, it takes time to figure out how to apply this in a practical way.

Do not handle [this], Do not taste [that], Do not even touch [them], 22 Referring to things all of which perish with being used. To do this is to follow human precepts and doctrines, Colossians 1:21-22.

Throughout the New Testament, the apostle Paul leaves a series of bread crumbs for Christians to stimulate their spiritual senses. However, there are several obstacles that one must overcome before you can begin to scratch the surface of your potential in Christ, Philippians 4:13. Cravings and desires wage war against human souls, 1 Peter 2:11. When minds begin to drift toward temporary pleasures, Romans 8:5-9, there is no room for the Spirit to operate.

And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires. 25 If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit,] Galatians 5:24-25.

As individuals struggle with this internal tug of war, Galatians 5:16-18, spiritual gifts lay dormant, invisible to human eyes. However, as Christians walk by faith and not by sight, keeping in step with the Holy Spirit becomes achievable. This daily exercise heightens one’s spiritual senses that lie within a transformed heart, Psalm 51:10. After attending a 2 day Discernment Conference, my spiritual senses were awakened. Although I deviate from God’s Word from time to time, keeping in Step with God’s Spirit has been the secret to my success for stimulating my spiritual senses.

by Jay Mankus

The Impulses of the Flesh

A sudden strong and unreflective urge doesn’t wait for an invitation. Like an itch that doesn’t go away, impulses tend to feed on moments of weakness. Whether this is a compulsive desire to raid your fridge for food in the middle of the night or an urge to buy whatever you see, impulses of the flesh are hard to control or tame. The more you feed these cravings, the hungrier your flesh becomes. Addictions, bad habits and poor decisions are merely byproducts of out of control impulses.

Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind [our cravings dictated by our senses and our dark imaginings]. We were then by nature children of [God’s] wrath and heirs of [His] indignation, like the rest of mankind, Ephesians 2:3.

In the lyrics of their song Slow Fade, Casting Crowns eludes to the impulses of the flesh. Using the expression “the second glance,” this opens the door for enticement to consume human souls. One of Jesus’ disciples refers to this as the lust of the eyes in 1 John 2:16. If the eyes are the lamp of the body, Matthew 6:22-23, as soon as eyes convince your mind to act, the impulses of the flesh take over. This may explain the apostle Paul’s confession in Romans 7:19, “I can’t control myself.”

But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). 15 Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death. 16 Do not be misled, my beloved brethren, James 1:14-16.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consumed by the agony of defeat, the apostle Paul does provide a solution in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. Like an athlete going into strict training, extinguishing the impulses of the flesh requires complete concentration. The includes discipline, focus, and the will power to regain control of your body. Essentially, you need to exchange the impulses of the flesh with the fruits of the Holy Spirit. This process is made complete by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25.

by Jay Mankus

Walk by this Rule

“Walk This Way” was written by Aerosmith’s lead singer Steven Tyler and lead guitar Joe Perry. Perry came up with this tune while “fooling around” on his guitar back in 1974. Tyler points out that the lyrics are sexually charged, based upon an experienced girl who is in control of a relationship. From a spiritual point of view, taking a walk on the wild side is not setting a good example; nor is this a rule to follow.

For neither is circumcision [now] of any importance, nor uncircumcision, but [only] a new creation [the result of a new birth and a new nature in Christ Jesus, the Messiah], Galatians 6:15.

At the conclusion of a first century letter, the apostle Paul urges Galatians to walk by a specific rule. A rule is a set of explicit, understood regulations and or principles governing conduct within a particular activity or sphere. Paul is referring to the passage above. Instead of following a set of rigid Jewish customs, Paul’s rule to emulate is becoming a new creation in Christ Jesus. Paul’s call is to walk by this spiritual way.

Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule [who discipline themselves and regulate their lives by this principle], even upon the [true] Israel of God! – Galatians 6:16

However, abiding by this rule requires two keys elements: discipline and self-regulation. The context of discipline points back to Galatians 5:16-25, pushing back against earthly desires by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit. The regulate aspect refers to controlling and maintaining a Christ like mindset. Similar to Paul words in Colossians 3:1-9, to become spiritually alive you have to put to death your old self. Walk by this rule.

by Jay Mankus

The Mystery of God’s Will

Mystery refers to something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain. Whether you’re watching a well done movie, trying to solve a complicated problem or exploring a foreign topic, you may find yourself baffled. Depending upon how hungry you are to resolve these question marks, riddles take time to unravel. Like trying to complete a complex thousand piece jigsaw puzzle, you need to complete the outside edge before your picture comes into focus.

Making known to us the mystery (secret) of His will (of His plan, of His purpose). [And it is this:] In accordance with His good pleasure (His merciful intention) which He had previously purposed and set forth in Him, 10 [He planned] for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things and head them up and consummate them in Christ, [both] things in heaven and things on the earth, Ephesians 1:9-10.

One of the greatest enigmas in life is narrowing in on God’s will for your own life. Sometimes you may whittle it to one of two career paths before the Lord throws you a curve. Throughout college I thought I would either become a golf course architect or become a youth pastor. While completing a duel internship in Ohio, I followed a calling to go into youth ministry. Yet, just 2 years later, I burned myself out, got married and ended up working as an assistant golf professional. During my first Player’s Ability Test, the big step to become a teaching golf profession, God intervened on numerous occasions, a clear sign that this wasn’t meant to be. When you 3 and 4 putt the easiest hole on the course when 5 putts would have been enough, I changed directions,

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you], Romans 12:1-2.

Nearly 25 years later, I still haven’t solved the mystery of God’s will for my life. While I do believe God wanted me to move back to the East Coast to attend seminary, a rare eye disease prevented me finishing a master’s in theology. Although the apostle Paul suggests keeping in step with the Holy Spirit is possible, Galatians 5:25, I tend to get lost, drifting off on a my own every year. I did spend 10 years of my life perfectly aligned with God’s will as a high school Bible teacher and golf coach. Meanwhile, I believe starting this blog 9 years ago also fits into God’s plan. Nonetheless, I have no idea on what my next step is except for following Paul’s advice listed above so that the mystery of God’s will for my life is unveiled.

by Jay Mankus

Obstacles that Block the Power of the Holy Spirit from Shining Through You

The phrase “old self” appears 91 times in the Bible. Meanwhile, taking off the old self occurs 22 times in the New Testament. The “old self” refers to your unregenerate life prior to entering into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, Colossians 3:5-9. In a letter to the Church at Colosse, the apostle Paul calls members of this congregation to put to death their old self. Experiencing the abundant life in Christ, John 10:10, is not possible until previous attitudes, behaviors, and mindsets have been transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, 20 Idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), Galatians 5:19-20.

Unfortunately, the desires of the flesh are opposed to the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:17. These earthly desires create a spiritual barrier that blocks, hinders, and stunts spiritual growth. Similar to Jesus’ analogy of light and darkness in Matthew 6:19-23, if the darkness of your past still lurks and resides within you, how great is this darkness? Revelation 3:15-16 refers to these type of Christians as lukewarm, cooled by an unwillingness to let go of your old self. Symptoms of this condition are listed above and below. If any of these character flaws rise to the surface, it’s time to put to death your old self.

Envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God, Galatians 5:21.

According to the apostle Paul, the only way to break free from addiction, bad habits, and earthly cravings is by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit. Until you yield complete control over to God, sinful desires will continue to ravage your soul. A new life in Christ isn’t meant to be discarded after your love for Jesus fades away. Rather, the author of Hebrews refers to this spiritual journey as a marathon, Hebrews 12:1-3, with members from heaven watching and urging you to keep going. Like any race, you may have to stop and walk for a while, but with the Holy Spirit at your back, change is possible if you believe and persevere.

by Jay Mankus

A Case Study in Religion vs. Relationships

Religion is an interest that a pursuer ascribes to as their supreme importance. This pursuit results in a particular system of faith as individuals believe in and worship a personal God or gods. Meanwhile, relationships are the way in which two or more people are connected and behave toward each other. Relationships can be traced back to a common alliance, bond, or connection based upon shared values. Religion tends to focus on teetotalism, a rigid following of a clearly defined set of rules. Depending upon your own personal desire, relationships can be kept at an arms length, drawn closer, or become intimate.

For the whole Law [concerning human relationships] is complied with in the one precept, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself, Galatians 5:14.

This case study begins with a first century sect referred to as the Judaizers. These Jewish converts to Christianity did not want to abandon their Old Testament heritage. Instead of focusing on their newly formed relationship with Jesus, the Judaizers overemphasized a strict adherence to Jewish customs. The leaders of this group convinced Gentile members of the Church in Galatia to become circumcised. Instead of following the apostles teaching in Romans 10:9-10, the Judaizers claimed that if you really wanted to be saved, “you need to to adopt Jewish customs and practices found in the Torah.”

But if you bite and devour one another [in partisan strife], be careful that you [and your whole fellowship] are not consumed by one another, Galatians 5:15.

The opposite side of this study is a woman who took relationships to the extreme. Unable to find love in normal relationships, Mary turned to prostitution, selling her body to unfulfilled men. Despite the money Mary made, the void in her heart remained. Instead of developing a physical attraction toward Jesus, a spiritual hunger was conceived. Eager to discover meaning in life, Mary becomes a follower of Jesus, trying to reconcile all the poor decisions of her past. Based upon the actions taken in John 12:3, Mary was closely listening to Jesus’ teaching. Perhaps a sign of contrition, Mary takes an expensive bottle of perform and anoints Jesus’ feet.

But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God), Galatians 5:16.

The passage above offers a solution to souls wrestling with religion verses relationships. While religion provides a sense of direction, relationships offer freewill to choose your level of commitment. According to the apostle Paul, there is an internal tug of war going on within your mind daily. Instead of feeling forced to go to church or behave in a certain manner, walk and live habitually in the Holy Spirit. As Christians begin to develop a permanent meaningful lasting relationship with Jesus, you will want to go to church, pray and read the Bible. When you embrace the freedom Jesus offers, faith replaces the need for religion. Thus, choose the abundant life Jesus promises by keeping in step with the Holy Spirit.

by Jay Mankus

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