The Holy Spirit: Walking In The Spirit
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In the journey through a believer's spiritual life, there exists a continuous tug-of-war between two compelling forces: the flesh and the Spirit. And I believe liberation can be found because of two things — the saving liberation of sin by Jesus and the sustaining liberation of sins by the Spirit. But to know this liberation, we must submit our lives to Jesus and the Spirit. And we do this by learning to walk by the Spirit.
Today, we will read one of my favorite scriptures written by Paul. There is so much packed into these ten verses. They are from Galatians 5, but they teach us so much about walking in the Spirit.
"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For 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. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another." — Galatians 5:16-26
So, here are some key observations from this text:
- There are two desires — desires of the flesh and desires of the Spirit.
- These desires come from two different sources — from you or the person of the Spirit.
- Your desires and the Spirit's desires will always be in constant conflict.
- Your desires have fleshy outcomes, and the Spirit's have spiritual outcomes.
This conflict between us and the Spirit is our primary conflict. We will live with this conflict for the rest of our lives. And Jesus knew this. He knew his saving power was enough to provide salvation but that we would need the sustaining power of the Spirit for this ongoing battle. And to live a liberated life, we must learn to walk, be led by, live by, and keep in step with the Spirit, as Paul states here.
But many believers don't do this because they do not know how. It's not like walking in the flesh, which is not something you have to teach anyone. We all know how to walk in the flesh because we are all concerned about ourselves and have selfish desires with sinful ends. We are born in the flesh, feed the flesh, live in the flesh, train the flesh, and know the rewards of living a fleshly life. Walking in the Spirit is an entirely new way to do things.
So how do we do it?
Based on this text today, I would like to walk you through it in a few steps.
First, walking in the Spirit is a walk. Walking is an activity done slowly and progressively, unlike fleshly desires that are quick and fast with short-lived selfish gains. So first, you have to change your mindset about the speed of spiritual living. Begin by slowing it down and understanding the believer's life is one long obedience in a godly direction.
Second, walking in the Spirit is walking away from sin. It involves putting distance between you and your fleshly desires. It is to turn your back on your fleshly urges and former behaviors. Remember that we live in a world full of fleshly vices and sin. They are not going to stop enticing you and pursuing you. So, for the remainder of this life, you will have to persistently and continually walk away from them.
Third, walking in the Spirit is walking with a leader. The leader is the person of the Spirit. He is doing the leading. He is always with you. He never leaves you alone. He is always prompting, convicting, and guiding. This means he is the leader, and you are not. You must submit to him as the leader, and you merely follow. This leads nicely to the next point.
Fourth, walking in the Spirit is living by His desires. This means your desires cannot compete with the Spirit's. As Paul said, you can no longer reward them and must crucify, destroy, and kill them. Entertaining your desires, thinking about your desires, and dwelling on your desires is not an option. If you do, your will will compete with his will. At first, walking with him will mostly be his desires, acting on your will until you learn his wishes and let his will work on you. Which again leads nicely to the next point.
Fifth, walking in the Spirit is continually being threatened. Paul mentions three threats — conceit, provoking, and envying. Sometimes, a selfish and fleshly mood will rise in us. But the believer who walks in the Spirit will recognize these moments. They will not always respond perfectly, but they will acknowledge, confess, and correct them. They are threats to us and our community. We should become more proficient at seeing these threats the longer we walk with the Spirit and get more sensitive to forecasting their attack.
So today, embrace your liberation secured by Jesus and sustained by the Spirit. Take deliberate steps, turn away from sin, follow the Spirit's lead, align your desires with His, and guard against threats. Enjoy the liberation and leading of walking with the Holy Spirit.
- In your journey as a believer, how often do you grapple with the tug-of-war between your fleshly desires and the Spirit's promptings? What steps can you take to strengthen your commitment to walking in the Spirit and experiencing lasting liberation?
- Consider aligning your desires with those of the Spirit. Are there areas in your life where your desires conflict with what the Spirit desires for you? How can you actively crucify your fleshly desires and allow the Spirit's desires to shape your thoughts, actions, and decisions?
DO THIS: Walk with the Spirit.
PRAY THIS: Holy Spirit, guide me on this journey of walking in alignment with your desires as I yearn to overcome the conflicts within and embrace the liberation only you can provide. Empower me to continually submit to your leadership and walk in step with your prompting.
PLAY THIS: Stay Strong.
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