Ten thousand hours. That’s how long author Malcolm Gladwell suggests it takes to become skillful at any craft. Even for the greatest artists and musicians of all time, their tremendous inborn talent wasn’t enough to achieve the level of expertise that they would eventually attain. They needed to immerse themselves in their craft every single day.
As strange as it might seem, we need a similar mentality when it comes to learning to live in the power of the Holy Spirit. In Galatians, Paul encourages the church to be set apart for God. But Paul explained that this couldn’t be achieved through merely obeying a set of rules. Instead we’re called to walk with the Holy Spirit. The Greek word that Paul uses for “walk” in Galatians 5:16 literally means to walk around and around something, or to journey (peripateo). So for Paul, walking with the Spirit meant journeying with the Spirit each day—it’s not just a one-time experience of His power.
May we pray to be filled with the Spirit daily—to yield to the Spirit’s work as He counsels, guides, comforts, and is simply there with us. And as we’re “led by the Spirit” in this way (v. 18), we become better and better at hearing His voice and following His leading. Holy Spirit, may I walk with You today, and every day!
Paul’s core element of a life lived in the Spirit is found in Galatians 5:14: “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” This is significant because the apostle was writing to a community of believers in Jesus who were being lured away from the grace of Christ and back into the law of Moses. So Paul was reminding the Galatians that the issue wasn’t maintaining the smallest details of the law, but embracing the law’s goal—“love your neighbor as yourself.” In focusing on this priority, the apostle was lining up with a consistent message in the Scriptures voiced by Jesus (Mark 12:31), Paul again in Romans 13:9, and James (James 2:8)—all quoting from Moses (Leviticus 19:18). The ethical challenge of life in Christ couldn’t be clearer.
For more on Galatians, see Knowing God through Galatians at discoveryseries.org/sb224.