“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”
Galatians 5:25 NASB
A Christ-follower's walk, the evidence that Christ lives within him/her, should be characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control. Paul held these actions up against what the flesh produces as proof of the superiority of living and walking in the Spirit as opposed to living in the flesh.
Here is a modern version of what Paul said: “It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on. This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.”
Galatians 5:19-21 MSG
To my shame, I admit that I can see myself in this list in times past. Knowing I'm capable of living in the flesh, I want to know what it means to Walk by the Spirit.
FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS A WORK OF THE SPIRIT. I've tried and tried, (maybe you have too!) to make resolutions and improve myself and do good things. However, the fruit of the Spirit is produced by the Spirit and not by our efforts. Salvation (living in the Spirit) leads to sanctification (walking in the Spirit).
READ AND FEED. The fruit of the Spirit is a result of the Spirit living in you. Paul says it like this in Col 3:16, Let the word of Christ richly dwell in you. Apart from a daily time of reading God's word and feeding upon God's word, how will we know how to walk? What does it mean to feed upon God's word? Good question. I believe it to be a systematic reading of the Bible to find how we should live. Feeding on God's word means that we will allow the Spirit of God to quicken the Word of God to our minds as we read it. When we do that we will find that we are allowing the Word of God to control how we live. To say it another way, to Walk in the Spirit is to be controlled by the Word of God.
PRAY AND OBEY. As we read and feed on God's Word, we will find specific instances and ares of our life that are in conflict with God's Word. To Walk in the Spirit will require that we agree with the Word of God and allow the Word to control how we live. The Bible has a word for agreeing with God and allowing the Spirit to control us - it's called repentance. We read and we feed. God quickens His word to our minds and we agree with Him and ask the Holy Spirit to help us walk in His way. We pray and we obey.
I pray that we will all see that improvement in our own power is empty and vain thinking. Living a life in union with the Spirit of God produces a desire to read His Word and obey His commands. It is called walking in the Spirit.
Sheep who Shepherd: