Early last school year, we saw a man and woman, running side by side together, attached with a tether. I hadn’t seen anything like it! The only thing I’d seen that was somewhat close was those little backpacks littles wear that tether them to their care givers when they’re in a crowded, public place, so the care givers don’t lose them. Apparently, some runners choose this when one of the runners is blind or partially blind; one of the runners serves as a guide to the other. Some tethers have a loop on each end of a piece of fabric or band; each runner either hangs onto their end’s loop or lets it hang around their wrists. The couple we saw had a rope tied around each runner’s waist; this type of tether is, apparently, used when the runner in need of a guide has better vision…or just a lot of practice.
“But I say, walk habitually in the [Holy] Spirit [seek Him and be responsive to His guidance], and then you will certainly not carry out the desire of the sinful nature [which responds impulsively without regard for God and His precepts].”Galatians 5:16 AB
The Greek word for “walk” in this verse concerns all moral aspects of our lives. It refers to how we conduct ourselves, according to what standard; what the standard is dictates how we live. According to this verse, the directed standard we should have is God’s, which is made known to us through the instruction and guidance of His Spirit. When we walk with Him, this verse says we won’t carry out the desire of our sinful nature (or “flesh”). However, if we rely on ourselves or the world as our standard, we’ll live life, making our own decisions, based on what gratifies us. The Greek word for “flesh” (or “sinful nature”), in this verse, talks about our temperament (how our nature affects our behavior in a permanent kind of way) and includes how we perceive things, when our senses are stimulated, as well as how we justify or explain things; the focus here is “we” and makes a point that it’s done without the Spirit of God’s influence and is opposed to Him.
Months ago, before training and getting our “walking collar,” our puppy was a train wreck to walk! He was growing in size, and his then 60 lbs. would abruptly “yank my arm out of socket” any time he saw something that excited him or “needed” further investigation. I stopped trying to walk him for a time and found other ways to exercise him, because I, physically, had such a difficult time with this.
After training and introducing him to his new “walking collar,” he looked at me and our walks in a whole new way! His leash is kept short; he stays right by my side; he stops and sits when I stop; he starts walking when I start to walk; he looks around, but doesn’t stare (most of the time); he doesn’t bark at other dogs, barking at him, or chase squirrels or birds…It’s so refreshing!!! He’s happy; I’m happy! We both enjoy our walks, now, immensely!
Maybe, to us, it doesn’t seem like we’re yanking or pulling too hard away from God; we’re in “the vacinity” of His Spirit. There’s a heart check in the verses that follow the one above (vs. 19-26) that helps us see if our perceptions match reality. If any of the following (among others in these verses) are in our lives, it should be evident to us that we are pulling away from (opposing) God, choosing our own direction:
I’m praying for you. May we all see clearly the areas in our lives the Spirit is wanting to guide us in and give us further training. May we be willing to obey and reap all the benefits of a tranquil walk with Him!