How Do We "Walk in the Spirit"? The Meaning and Importance of Galatians 5:16

The Bible teaches us to "walk in the spirit" by following the example of Jesus. Learn the meaning and significance of this biblical quote.
Christianity.com Editorial Staff
How Do We "Walk in the Spirit"? The Meaning and Importance of Galatians 5:16

"Walk in the Spirit" in Scripture: 

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. -Galatians 5:16-26

What Does Paul Mean by "Walk by the Spirit" in Galatians 5:16?

Walking in the Spirit

The Holy Spirit is one of God's most precious gifts to His beloved children. He takes up residence within the believer at the moment of salvation and empowers him to overcome sin and live for God's glory and purposes. However, the Spirit's power can be "turned off" or ignored. Only those who choose to walk with Him have unhindered access to His strength and guidance.

Walking by the Spirit denotes reliance upon Him. He leads the way, and we follow. As He speaks, we listen, heed His warnings, and obey His directions. The Spirit's way is a path of surrender which, although difficult, leads to fullness of life.

God's Spirit not only guides; He also empowers because the challenge of obeying Him is impossible in our own strength. The Holy Spirit supplies everything we need to live a godly life, and He produces His amazing fruit in us.

Being led by the Spirit should be the natural lifestyle of the sons and daughters of God. As you intentionally seek to maintain an awareness of His presence throughout the day, He is only a thought away. When your mind turns to Him, He gives sensitivity to the things of God and understanding about the situations and people in your life.

Take a walk with the Spirit today, and learn to know His voice. Whenever your mind is not occupied with the duties of the day, focus your thoughts on Him, asking for His guidance and looking expectantly for His leading. When He gives it, rely on His power to obey.

Excerpt from "Walking in the Spirit" - In Touch - Mar. 3, 2010 by Charles Stanley

Jesus and the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit was intimately connected with Jesus throughout his entire life. Prior to Jesus’ virginal conception an angel said to Mary, “the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Luke 1:35; cf. Matt. 1:18, 20). When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, the Father anointed him with the Spirit (Matt. 3:16Mark 1:10Luke 3:22). Then Jesus was immediately driven into the wilderness by the Spirit for a season of testing (Matt. 4:1Mark 1:12Luke 4:1). Luke says that Jesus was “full of the Spirit” when this happened; he afterward returned to Galilee in “the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14).

In Jesus’ first sermon, he claimed to fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy of a Spirit-anointed ministry of redemption and restoration to Israel (Luke 4:16–21). Peter’s summary of Christ’s ministry describes “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). When skeptical religious leaders accused him of casting out demons by satanic power, Jesus said, “if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you” (Matt. 12:28).

In his death, Jesus offered himself as an atoning sacrifice through the Holy Spirit (Heb. 9:14). Paul tells us that Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4). After Jesus’ resurrection he breathed on his disciples, saying “receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). Then followed Jesus’ ascension and Pentecost, when the Spirit was poured out on the church, as the Spirit of Christ.


Excerpt from Depending on the Holy Spirit by Brian Hedges

 


Originally published April 15, 2019.