“Keeping in step” indicates someone else is leading. It also means putting aside our agenda, our expectations, our control and relinquish ourselves to someone else’s lead. That means we are the followers, not the ones calling the shots. It is all about submission and the daily battle to let someone else be in charge of you.
“Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” Romans 8:14 In other words, those who follow the Spirit’s leading…they are the real deal.
This verse makes me think of a dance. In a dance some leads and it the job of the other to follow. It doesn’t work if both want to lead. One has to submit to the other. When you are learning to dance, it tends to be awkward at first but you first learn to listen to the music and feel it’s rhythm. Then you learn the moves and focus on the steps of the one who is leading. When that happens it forms a wonderful cooperative partnership that works in union with flowing synchronization. That’s why we love to watch “Dancing the with Stars” and how they can take an awkward clutz and with the right leader make something beautiful to behold.
The Greek word for dance is perichoresis (peri=around; Choresis=Dance). This is the term used by Greek ancient theologians as a metaphor to refer to the Trinity.
Eugene H. Peterson, in his book “Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places,” describes it this way: “Imagine a folk dance, a round dance, with three partners in each set. The music starts up and the partners holding hands begin moving in a circle. The tempo increases, the partners move more swiftly swinging and twirling, embracing and releasing. But there is no confusion, every movement is cleanly coordinated in precise rhythms as each person maintains his or her own identity.”
To the onlooker, the movements are so swift it is impossible to distinguish one person from another. Then suddenly, unexpectedly a hand reaches out, we don’t know which hand, but a hand reaches out and pulls us into this divinely orchestrated dance. You don’t know who grabbed you but now you are now invited into this dance with them. The Christian life is not about securing our cherished image of the good life by mastering principles as best we can. It’s about participating in the dance that has already started and we are not leading.
Eugene Peterson continues: “We cannot live as spectators of the dance of the Trinity. A hand reaches out to pull us into the Trinitarian actions of holy creation, holy salvation, and holy community. There are no nonparticipants in a Trinity-revealed life.”
“You keep doing what we told you to do to please God, not in a dogged religious plod-but in a living, spirited dance!” 1 Thess. 4:1-3 ™