6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. Romans 7
What does serving in the new way of the spirit mean? Do you have 5 minutes to deal with my Bible Nerdom? It will be worth it, I promise.
Try to think within an ancient’s perspective on the world. It is very different from ours. We need to go back in time and look at the Hebrew understanding of breath. I’ll explain why in a second.
Crying from a newborn is a sign that the baby is breathing and strong. It is a good sign. And if you are around someone as they pass away you will hear their breath leaving their body. Finally, look outside on a windy day. What moves the trees and the grass? Wind. An ancient would see one force behind all of the movement and vitality that we see in our world. This force is represented by the concept of wind, breath or spirit in Ancient Hebrew culture. In the biblical language of the Old Testament there are 3 words that all mean wind, breath or spirit. Scholars have differing opinions on the differences between these 3 words, but we know that the concept was very important.
What does this all mean? When God created humanity he created them from the dirt of the ground and divine “breath”. So we are made up of earth and God’s animating energy. We are earthlings, yet we are moved by God’s imaginative creativity as we reflect him. And so the same way a tree sways in the wind, humanity would sway by God’s animating energy or his breath.
Fast forward to Hellenization and new testament Christians are looking for a way to describe the Holy Spirit. They choose the word Pneuma. Which is greek for wind, breath or spirit. It is the same concept as in Hebrew. It is God’s animating energy for his followers.
All of this to answer; what does it mean to serve in the new way of the Spirit? Visualize a strong wind blowing against a dead tree. Does the tree move or sway? No. If anything at all it breaks. But a living tree offers little resistance and almost mimics the wind, shuttering and swaying. In the same way the Spirit pushes and moves us in new directions. A Christian moved by the animating energy of God is able to move and sway with the callings of the Spirit.
How do we grieve the Spirit? We become stiff-necked. We do not bend. We break. That means you are called to do more than, “don’t do bad things”. You are called to do great things. To live like Jesus lived. In trust and humility, as you lean into the Father and accept his terms for your life. This may leave you with more questions than answers, but at least something to challenge you.
Today, live by the animating energy of the Holy Spirit!