“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.” – Galatians 5:16-17
Have you ever thought about how amazing it is that we can walk and how it all works? As a baby we are not born with the ability to walk. Our legs are not strong enough to support our body and we have not yet developed our sense of balance. As we grow and interact with the world around us, we begin to move around and ultimately begin to crawl around to explore our world. What drives a baby to want to crawl? I do not believe that a baby decides one day to just start moving around and crawling, but once the process is begun it continues to develop and sooner or later the child is pulling themselves up against things and starting to take a precarious step at a time. Each step and each fall leads to more steps and falls and ultimately the child can stand on their own and take a few steps without falling. From here it seems to snowball. Those few initial steps lead to walking, running, and jumping.
WALKING IN THE SPIRIT
In Galatians, Paul tells us to “walk in the Spirit.” Walking in the Spirit is to consciously choose by faith to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts, words, and deeds. You see, when you are physically walking you do not have to think about right, left, right, left. Your mind and body automatically work together to create motion. You have to choose to walk initially, but your body knows what to do after that. When you have reached your destination, you decide to stop walking. It is very similar to walking in the Spirit. When you walk in the Spirit, you have to initially decide to begin to walk and you consciously choose to continue to walk. When you are no longer walking in the Spirit, you have chosen not to continue.
“So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” – Romans 6:11-14
RESULTS OF NOT WALKING IN THE SPIRIT
The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 4 that we need to be found worthy of our calling. So what is our calling. First of all we are called to make disciples, so if we are not walking in the Spirit it is not very likely that we will be making true disciples of Christ. Second, we should be exhibiting the fruit of the spirit.
“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.” – Galatians 5:22-23
If these fruit of the Spirit are not showing in our lives, we need to really examine if we are truly walking in the Spirit. We cannot look at this list of fruit without also looking at the opposite works of the flesh.
“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.” – Galatians 5:19-21
As we work through these two lists and examine our lives we need to be honest about where we need to surrender more of our lives to Christ. What reigns in our lives?
THE POWER TO CHANGE
If we examine the lists and find where we are allowing the flesh to rule, there are steps we must take in order to walk in the Spirit. We must first acknowledge our sin or sins specifically to God. We next acknowledge that our sins have been forgiven through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. Next, we must repent. This means to change our attitude toward sin, to turn away and not turn back. It is only through the power fo the Holy Spirit that we will be able to change our attitude and our actions. By the power of the Holy Spirit we will stop doing what our flesh wants to do and do what God wants us to do.
This does not mean that our live will be just peachy as we walk in the fullness of the Spirit. The loss of those we love, financial troubles, poor health and other issues are common to all of us. But, many troubles are self-imposed because of our selfish, worldly, fleshly actions. If we walk fully in the Spirit, we will be spared many of the self-imposed hardships. But as problesm do come, we can face them with a confident calmness because we know that we have God’s resouces available to us to deal with any adversity.
Walking in the Spirit is a conscious action. It is a choice we make. By doing so, we put to death the desires of the flesh. They have no power over us. We must put to death the desires of the flesh. We must treat them as if they are dead, and by the power of the Holy Spirit they are dead. By walking in the Spirit, we will live up to the calling that Jesus has placed on our lives and we will inherit the Kingdom of God.
Father, I confess my sins to you. I am sorry that I listen more to my flesh and allow my sinful desires to rule in my life. I know that you have sent your Son and His death on the cross covers all of my sins. I am so thankful for your salvation. Help me by the power of the Holy Spirit to turn from my worldly desires and walk daily in the Spirit. Guide my words, thoughts, and deeds for your glory. Keep me from the temptation to stop walking in the Spirit so that I may be worthy of the calling that you have for me. Give me strength for today. -Amen