Walking by the Spirit
16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law . . . 25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. —Galatians 5:16-18, 25-26
The apostle Paul teaches in his letters that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. And in his letter to the Galatians, Paul goes to great lengths to help us understand we are not only saved by grace through faith, but we live daily by grace through faith.
This is such a crucial issue. Does our walk match our talk? Not sure? Look at the lists of attitudes and actions in Galatians 5. We are to compare our everyday walk with what it says. Verses 19-21 list “works of the flesh,” whereas verses 22-23 list some evidences of a walk by the Spirit. Paul is not talking about an occasional struggle, but rather what we are characterized by. The key to our sanctification or walking in holiness is that we walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh. How do I practically, in my home, at work, or school actually walk by the Spirit?
It comes down to this: we have our part, God has His. However, I think most of us put our effort, attention, and time into the wrong place. We end up walking by the flesh more than by the Spirit. Have you ever made a sincere commitment to not get angry? Or to be more gentle? How about more patient? It’s a vicious cycle. And we lose at every turn. A sanctified walk is not making more serious commitments, trying harder, or anything else we can generate on our own. The key to overcoming temptation and walking in holiness in our everyday life is God’s Spirit producing obedience. It is His character being manifest in me in everyday situations.
So how do we walk by the Spirit? First, daily effort must go into abiding with Christ (John 15). To abide means to dwell with. We need to make time with God a daily priority. We also need to remember God abides in us through His Holy Spirit. Are we constantly aware of our calling and need to abide and dwell with Him?
The second key to walking by the Spirit is to regularly practice yielding to the Spirit. As we walk with more awareness of God’s presence and power in us, including more understanding of His Word—His principles, commands, and promises—we need to regularly choose to yield to His ways.
· When I compare my everyday life to Galatians 5:19-23, what stands out?
· What must I do to daily abide with God?
Prayer – Dear Father, I long to live a life that reflects You, but I feel powerless to do it. Help me to resist responding to how I feel and help me respond in a manner that glorifies You. I want Your fruit to be displayed in and through me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.