Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2016
Living by the Spirit
Galatians 5:16–25; Deuteronomy 13:4, 5; Romans 7:14–24; Jeremiah 7:9; Hosea 4:2; Matthew 22:35–40
September 16, 2017
Lindsay Monroe was standing on a beach in South Carolina nine months ago asking herself, “What am I doing?” She was preparing to walk 3,200 across America. The 35-year-old from Rutland, Vermont, was feeling the need for a fresh start in life. A few weeks ago, she stepped into the waters of the Pacific Ocean near Lincoln City, Oregon, and completed her walk.
Walking, often 20 miles per day completely changed her life. The lessons she learned along the way taught her to be determined and to face her fears. She wanted to quit many times, but repeated to herself “mind over matter.” She discovered many kind strangers along the way. One woman, who invited her to stay in her home, had recently suffered a loss and Lindsay gave her encouragement. The woman begged Lindsay not to leave.
“I stayed with people of all different religions, political opinions, and people who couldn’t scrape together ten dollars who fed me, opened their hearts, minds, and gave me a shelter,” she said. Although she had her difficult moments with people honking at her to get out of the way and flipping her off, most people were kind. “People are actually pretty awesome,” she said. Lindsay reflects on the trip and says, “I didn’t come on the trip to change anyone else’s life but I did.” 
That’s what walking in the Spirit can do for the Christian. This week’s Sabbath school lesson, “Living by the Spirit,” begins with this Bible text: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). Walking is a metaphor which describes a way of life. It describes a mindset led by the principles of heaven that impacts our behavior. But it’s more than right thinking. To live by the Spirit means to be dependent upon the Holy Spirit for power to obey God’s law.
Like Lindsay’s walk across America, we can expect to experience difficulties along the way. She was once chased by a stranger and literally ran for her life. We certainly are chased by the devil and also will have moments when we ask, “What am I doing?” You may have felt like quitting many times. Take Lindsay’s advice and just put one foot in front of the other and keep walking forward. Not only will your life change, but you will touch the hearts of other people along the way.