The apostle differentiates between two things: Living by the Spirit and keeping in step with the Spirit. Both aspects are off course linked together. Whoever doesn’t live by the Spirit, can’t keep in step with the Spirit either. However you can live by the Spirit and yet not keep in step with him even if that’s quite detrimental to do that on the long run. The evil which is then tolerated starts to overwhelm the good until it is quite suppressed. The apostle does not want this ambiguous situation to continue. Therefore if the new life is alive in you – starts to bud and sprout, prosper and flourish and if the Holy Spirit motivates you to do good, then don’t linger in the old and sinful ways, but rather proceed to the light and live in the light with body and soul. If you don’t, this light might fade and even be extinguished. The Holy Spirit is alive and motivates, but the old ways have a habit of popping up again and again. This is a constant struggle in Christians and gives them most pain and troubles the caretaker of souls too. The Word of God and his faithful admonitions seek to help. A life by the Spirit needs to become one in step with the Spirit. This happens by the efficacious Word of God, which motivates us by magnifying the merits of Christ and his vicarious sacrifice. That is the true driving force of any holy life.
O God and Father! Form us into your property and instruments so that we don’t desire or do anything without or against your will. Sanctify us with your Holy Spirit, that we will desire good and do it too. Bring us to the holy community of Saints, to which you have called and elected us. O great God, let us be enlightened by your light and lighten up all darkness that keeps us from beholding your goodness and glory. Fix all our senses onto you and your kingdom, subject us to your good will and lead our mind and being to never depart from you. Abide in us, so that we might be in you for ever and ever. Amen. (J.Böhme)
Who trusts in God, a strong abode In heav’n and earth possesses; Who looks in love to Christ above, No fear his heart oppresses. In Thee alone, dear Lord, we own Sweet hope and consolation, Our Shield from foes, our Balm for woes, Our great and sure salvation. (Joachim Magdeburg, 1572 tr Benjamin H. Kennedy, 1863)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for the fifteenth Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 320 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.