“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:14-16)
Everything, all at once
Because that’s what we’re aiming at, yes? Quote, walking in the Spirit, unquote. Wind up your mind tight as it can go and try and pay attention–full attention–to everything coming across your field of vision (figurative/literal) and categorize, deal with correctly, enjoy, etc., and you will most-likely drive yourself crazy unless you’re a savant or something. And even then, were you to do the very best and right thing in and around everything to which you’re exposed in this life, it doesn’t necessarily mean one gets to know “Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:2)
When Paul writes to the Galatians and refers to “bit[ing] and devour[ing] one another”, it would seem it comes all too easily should we let slip our attention on the Holy Ghost even as we “walk in Him”. Best not to think about it too much. But then again, how does one keep the influences of hate and wrath (see part 1) and unforgiveness from finding a foothold? Or in the case of “bitterness”, from it “springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:15)? And before we go any further, please note that while the Indo-European root for “bitter” is the same as “bite” and means to “split” (bheid-), the root “bheidh-” (one letter, one fricative removed) means to trust. Either one, or the other–but all at once please.
“So the Spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the Lord was strong upon me.” (Ezekiel 3:14)
What does bitterness look like in your life? A connotation from Strong’s is “discontent”. Following this line, bitterness looks to be a slow burning and ever-present “chafing” (another descriptor) at ourselves–and by extension, the Holy Spirit. As we are the “temple of the Holy Ghost” (1 Corinthians 6:19), we know He feels all we do and moreso. And just because Ezekiel was “lifted up” and also that “the hand of the Lord was strong upon [him]” doesn’t mean he wasn’t bitter. There’s always a good reason for this kind of bitterness. Others, maybe not. Either kind, however, will end in dividing. Splitting up as it continues to grow and spread. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us see and deal with any bitterness that has heretofore taken root in our system. And replace it with His peace.
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)
Wheels within wheels
Before Ezekiel experienced what he did, the previous verse reads thus: “I heard also the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels over against them, and a noise of a great rushing.”
I don’t really know what to make of this. Yes, the whole of the Bible is suffused with the symbolic. The first symbolism that comes to mind upon reading the above is that of “lots of activity”. There’s always a-million-and-one things going on. And, referring to unforgiveness, should that “one thing” be an overlooked slight or some offense that is not forgiven and ignored when the Holy Spirit brings it to our attention, eventually, our wheels will stop. Even though we don’t have full access to the depths of our person, He does. And walking in Him to the best of our conscious ability will keep us rolling smoothly.
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you with all malice. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:29-32)