Walking in the Spirit
By Dr. Tom Walker
There are two basic Scriptures we are going to use to lay a foundation for our study in this article. Galatians 5:16 tells us, “This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” In addition, Galatians 5:25 says, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
The walk of the believer is very important for several reasons. One reason it is important is that God expects the right kind of walk from His children. An earthly parent who cares about his boy or girl is very concerned about how that child conducts his or her life. Christian parents want the Spirit of God to control the lives of their children, not the world, the flesh, and the Devil.
Another reason it is important is that someone is watching our lives. People who critique Christian people look at God’s children very critically and carefully. As a born-again child of God, we do not want to turn people away from Him, but rather we want to so live our lives that others will see Jesus in us. If people see Christ in us, they will see the difference God makes in the Spirit-directed life. Then, some of them will want what we have in our lives.
A third reason I suggest is that it is the only way to be successful in our Christian lives. If the world system, the flesh, and Satan rule our lives, then you can be sure your living will be a failure. The Lord knows your future, even when you have no idea what tomorrow will hold for you. If you follow Him carefully day by day, He is preparing you for your tomorrow, that is, if God allows you to live another day. Each day, when one’s life is directed by God’s Spirit, prepares us for the next day. He knows how to lead and guide you through the Holy Ghost because God knows what is in your tomorrow.
A fourth reason to walk in God’s Spirit is that it is a command in the Word of God. In Galatians 5:16 several important things are worthy to note concerning the word “walk”.
1- The word “walk” reveals first that it is in the imperative mode in the Greek New Testament. That simply means it is not an option for us but that the walk in the Spirit is a matter of command and necessity.
2- It is also a present tense word, signifying that walking in God’s Spirit is to be a continual, constant way of life for those who have spiritually been born from above.
3- It is also a plural verb suggesting it is not for just one person; it is not just for the preacher, a deacon, or a Sunday School teacher, but that it is for many more than one. It should be for all of God’s saints.
When we look at “walk” in Galatians 5:26, we discover it is a word that speaks of marching in military rank, keeping step, and not falling behind. It is in the first person suggesting that instead of being overly concerned about how others are walking, you need to look at your own personal walk with the Holy Ghost. The other Greek word for “walk” in Galatians 5:1 is the present tense, informing us that walking in God’s Spirit is to be a constant, continual way of life. Living a God-directed life is not to be a spasmodic matter, like a muscle twitch.
What Is Walking in the Spirit
What does it mean to walk in the Holy Ghost? It means that we yield to the Lord’s control and allow Him to exert His influence over us and through us, as we conduct our daily lives. Too many times we want to direct our own lives rather than seeking the direction of God.
To walk in the Spirit is to be controlled by Him. When one is filled with Him, we follow God’s Spirit and allow Him to lead us in the way we should walk.
Since we still have the flesh (the old Adamic nature), it is so important that we allow the influence of the Lord in daily life. Commentator Adam Clark puts this into perspective by writing the following: “If ye receive again the Gospel and the grace of Christ, and permit yourselves to be influenced by the Holy Spirit whom you are now grieving, ye are not under the law—ye will not feel those evil propensities which now disgrace and torment you, but they must prevail while you are not under the influence of the grace and Spirit of Christ.”
Sin grieves the Spirit of God. We cannot grieve the Holy Ghost and at the same time walk in the Spirit. If we are to be under the Spirit’s control, then we cannot please Him and grieve Him at the same time. We must surrender to one or the other.
How Do I Walk in the Spirit
In the first place, one must be a Christian. An unsaved person does not possess any nature but the one that is fallen. In fact, the lost person does not possess the Holy Ghost. The person who does not have God’s Spirit within to lead and guide simply cannot be governed by God’s Spirit.
In addition, we must refuse the control of the flesh. Satan works through our fallen, Adamic natures of the flesh. Normally when we think of the flesh, we think of our mortal bodies. Many times the Bible simply points to the flesh as our old nature. God did not try to save our fallen natures, but He did counteract it by creating within us a new nature. The flesh is in direct conflict with the Spirit of God. Consider what happens when your flesh is in control of your life. Galatians 5:19-21 declares: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Keep a constant watch on your life. Make such you do not get so busy examining the lives of others that you ignore the sin in your own life. Sin will hinder the Spirit’s control in your life and bring defeat to the believer who ignores it.
We should make sure that we have crucified the flesh. Galatians 5:24 says, “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
Benefits of Walking in the Spirit
When we do walk under the control of the Holy Ghost, what are some of the benefits that we enjoy? I am going to take a little space to remind you what some of those benefits are.
All we have to do to locate those benefits is to look in Galatians 5:22-23. These are products of the control of the Holy One over our lives. This is the fruit of the Lord’s presence in our lives. Here is what the Scripture says: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Love is in our hearts as a result of walking in the Spirit. We can love the unlovely through God’s love within our hearts.
Joy is present also. Joy is something that does not depend upon desirable circumstances to be our portion. It is present in the worst of times.
Peace for the Spirit-filled person is a present portion. It gives us calm when waves of trouble roll upon our souls. It is calm, quiet, and orderly.
Longsuffering is dealing positively with the weaknesses and provocations of others. In doing so we know things that happen to us are a part of God’s providence.
Gentleness characterizes our behavior. It is to be kind and good, useful and helpful, gentle and sweet, being considerate and gracious in all circumstances.
Goodness is being full of virtue and excellence in our attitudes and conduct toward others.
Faith means to be faithful and trustworthy, loyal and steadfast in devotion and allegiance. This kind of person denies himself and trusts the Lord.
Meekness is power under control. It has the strength to control and discipline, doing so at just the right time.
Temperance means to master and control the body or the flesh with all its lusts. It is the control of our appetites and sinful passions. Galatians 5:16 says, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”
It pays off in the here and now if we walk in the Spirit instead of following the world, the flesh, and the Devil.