Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to walk or run out of time with music that’s playing loudly in the background?
If there’s music playing in the supermarket, I find myself walking in step with it. If what’s playing over the speakers at the gym is out of time with the pace I’m trying to run at, I stumble. It seems to be natural to keep time with whatever is playing around us.
I wonder if this works in our spiritual lives as well? Whether we fall into time with the song that’s playing the loudest?
Paul writes this in a chunk from Galatians 5, a chapter which is all about being set free from walking in time with our old rhythms:
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed their sinful desires to his cross. They don’t want these things anymore. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5: 24-25
The trouble is that there are some times when the tune of our old ways is louder in our ears than the one that the Spirit is playing.
In the gym, or at the supermarket, the solution is easy. I just plug in my headphones and play the music I want to keep time with. It’s a choice. I choose what to listen to.
Of course it can be harder spiritually. When someone has hurt you, or behaved unfairly towards you, or when something you really want is right in front of you.
The song of my right to justice and vindication can play pretty loud I can tell you. But somewhere on the edge of my hearing is a sweeter but more difficult melody of forgiveness, grace and friendship. The song of the value of ‘things’ plays at top volume all through our society, and yet there’s a silvery theme of generosity and value outside of the material that can be heard if you listen heard enough.
And it is possible, if I keep making the choice, to tune into those other tunes instead. To walk out of step with the world, but in step with the Spirit.
As well as that, sometimes the tune that the Spirit would like me to line my life up with changes as circumstances, seasons and people around me change…
While I was thinking about and praying about this postcard I happened to see a Facebook clip of a class of 10 year olds performing on Djembe drums. They were following a teacher, keeping in time with her using their ears to listen but also their eyes to see the little signals that showed she was about to change to a new rhythm. It was amazing. And the focus and determination they had to keep in time really spoke to me.
It made me think about the number of times in my life that the Spirit has started to play a different tune, but that’s it’s taken a while for me to catch on because I was getting on with the last thing, but not watching closely for a new thing. Maybe because I’m not a fan of change, maybe because I’m easily distracted, maybe because I’m still learning to watch closely!
Keeping our eyes and ears on the spirit isn’t always easy. But it is a choice, and it’s one that we need to make if we want to keep in time.