"This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying’s, 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. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." - Galatians 5:16-25
The term “walking in the Spirit” implies not having just a theoretical head-knowledge of Jesus Christ, but rather an experiential life of faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to God’s Will. To walk in something means to not only know about it, but to do it, or to experience it in our daily lives.
This entire passage of Scripture speaks of the great contrast of walking in God’s Will versus walking in our own will or way. The Apostle Paul clearly shows the contrast of the works and the fruit of our own will with the works and the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We as believers know about these contrasting, dueling natures within our own hearts, and we also see clearly here in the Bible that we will not inherit the kingdom of God if we continue doing the works of the flesh. I do not believe that this is implying that we won’t go to heaven, but I do believe that if we want to be in the Bride of Jesus Christ that we must crucify the flesh and learn to “walk in the Spirit.”
This passage of Scripture is not intended for the easily satisfied lukewarm believer, whose faith amounts to an eternal fire insurance policy. But rather it is a challenge made to sincere believers who want to please God with their lives. This is clear instruction from the Word of God to challenge believers to spend their lives in submission and obedience to God.
To “walk in the Spirit” means that we will walk in obedience to God or to submit our life to the government of God in all of our decisions, moment by moment, each and every day.
We know that the Holy Spirit lives within the hearts of believers, and we know that before Jesus ascended from the earth, He promised that the Father would send us a Comforter in His Name, a Helper that would lead and guide us into all truth. Jesus promised that when the Holy Spirit comes, He would convict us of sin and show us the righteousness of God. We know that the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost and filled the hearts of the 120 in the upper room. And we know that this promise is to all that believe today in 2015. We also know that the Bible tells us to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
I have personally been baptized in the Holy Spirit, and I have experienced the Holy Spirit moving through my life in the area of spiritual gifts. I have felt the anointing of the Holy Spirit as I have shared God’s Word. I have often experienced Holy Ghost tongues coming out of my heart, praying to God in the heavenly language. I have also experienced this supernatural love that the Holy Spirit put in my heart, and I have seen it flow out to others. All of that is great and wonderful, but this passage of Scripture in Galatians goes deeper, as God is calling us to a life of obedience to the Comforter, the Helper, the Advocate, which is the Holy Spirit who lives inside our hearts.
This is awesome when we realize that this is none other than God Himself living inside of us. The Holy Spirit is often referred to as the third Person of the Godhead, but He is not the least of the Godhead, for He is no less God than the Father or the Son of God. He is God, and remarkably He lives inside of all human beings that have a living faith in Jesus Christ.
So the question is this: “How do we walk in the Spirit?”
First we must hear Him, in order to obey Him. Of course, we can walk in the light of God’s Word, and we can clearly read God’s instruction manual, The Holy Bible. But what about all of the many decisions that we are faced with each and every day that are not clearly laid out for us in our Bibles? For all of these decisions, God has given us the awesome personal presence of the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us.
In fact, we shouldn’t do anything without consulting with the Holy Spirit first in our lives. As Jesus walked in complete submission to His heavenly Father, so should we walk in complete submission to the Will of God. The Bible says to pray without ceasing. We should pray about everything and have a continual conversation with Jesus throughout each day and seek His Will on the multitude of decisions we are faced with continually.
The problem comes first in the hearing. Can we indeed hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit so that we can obey Him moment by moment? This can be difficult because of all of the other voices filling our ears that are crying out for our attention. There is the voice of the devil, the voice of our flesh, and the voice of the world. These voices are the voices of the enemy that are in opposition to God’s Will, and they are constantly trying to get us to believe them and obey them. If we break the Will of God and do our own thing, it will produce the fruit of the flesh instead of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. This is why we find hate, anger, strife, and all the nastiness of the human will manifesting itself at times in and through our lives.
Let's use an analogy of a radio receiver that has many channels. We can turn our dial to channel 630 and get Country music, or 750 to get classic music, or 910 to get Christian music. It’s our choice as to which station we tune into. It would be crazy to put three radios in the same room and try to listen to all three channels at the same time.
Our hearts are much like this, and we need to learn to tune out the voices of the world, the flesh, and the devil and tune into only the Voice of God, the Holy Spirit, as He is trying to communicate with us, moment by moment, each and every day of our lives. Jesus is always trying to speak to us through the Holy Spirit, and if we cannot hear Him, it is because we are listening to the voices of the world, the flesh, or the devil.
To be tuned into God’s Voice, first we must be aware of His continual presence in our lives. He is omnipresent, everywhere, and around us at all times, and to the believer, He is not only with us outwardly but inwardly as well. Once we are continually aware of His presence, then we need to learn to live with a continual attitude of gratitude. The Bible says, in First Thessalonians 5:18: "In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." As believers, we should praise God and give Him thanks all day long, and as we do, we tune our receivers into the right channel to prepare our hearts to hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit.
As we walk in continual gratitude, this grateful behavior is a witness to the fact that we have an understanding that God is sovereign and in control of our lives coupled with an understanding that God loves us too much to allow one thing to happen to us that is not for our good and His glory.
Understanding God's sovereignty and His love is important, because without this understanding we could not possibly walk in continual gratitude.
God has a plan and a purpose for every one of us, and He desires not only to be our Savior but also to be the Lord, the Master, and the Governor of every believer’s life. But He leaves this choice to us. God does not force His Will upon us, but rather gives us the opportunity to choose Him. As we do this, we give Him glory and fulfill the very purpose of our existence.
“Walking in the Spirit” means listening to the Voice of God and obeying Him with every waking moment in our life. It means coming under the government and authority of God by surrendering our wills to His Will and choosing to obey His every command.
This is not deep water; instead, it is Christianity 101 to all believers and basic foundational knowledge of how to live a Christian life. But many religions and different sects of Christianity teach that the believers should come under the authority of a person or a leader and some teach that in order to find the Will of God that you need to go through a particular person instead of relying on the Holy Spirit.
The amazing thing is that many intelligent people believe this even though it is totally non-Biblical and totally a work of the enemy, as the Bible is clear that there is only one Mediator between man and God and that is Jesus Christ Himself.
Since the Holy Spirit lives in our hearts, we do not need any person to tell us what the Will of God is, because the Comforter has come, and He desires to lead and guide our lives. We just need to learn to hear Him and then obey Him.
It is a crutch to try to rely on some person to tell you what the Will of God is for your life. People do this because they don’t want to be responsible for their own decisions. In fact, most people are scared to death to make decisions, and they love a system that takes the responsibility off of their shoulders and puts it on someone else. Please do not misunderstand me. I do believe in seeking Godly counsel, and the Bible says that wisdom is found in the multitude of counselors. But the choice is still yours to make, and you would be well-advised to seek the mind of the Holy Spirit in all of your decisions of life.
I have been learning all over again how to hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit in my daily life. I have had to stand up against the devil, the world, and my flesh. I have even had to stand up against the religious world where the voice of the enemy had established himself in my life, disguised as the voice of God. Once I learned to tune out the voices of the enemy, then my heart was prepared to tune into the Voice of the Holy Spirit. As I walk in gratitude with a continual awareness of God’s presence, I am learning to hear His Voice all throughout each and every day.
We must realize there is a war for our souls as the flesh and the Spirit are always in opposition to each other. The devil never gives up, and he is always trying to get us to do our own will by twisting and turning the truth, as he did to Eve in the Garden of Eden. The devil will try to trick you into thinking that your own thoughts are God’s thoughts, that your ideas are God’s ideas, and that your way is God’s way. Many fall into this trap and do their own thing and then say to others that the Holy Spirit led them to do this or that the LORD told them to do this. When it is nothing but the voice of the enemy whose aim and objection is to get you to disobey the Voice of God. One rule to adhere to is that the Holy Spirit will never tell you to do something that is in contradiction to the Holy Word of God.
How can you tell if you are walking in the Spirit or walking in the flesh? The answer is found in our passage of Scripture here in Galatians 5:16: "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." Look at the fruit on your tree. What do you see? If there is anger, strife, hate, envy, or ungodliness in your life, that is because you are walking in the flesh and not in the Spirit.
The world in which we live has hundreds of voices trying to get us to go our own way, saying “If it feels good do it.” Or “Whatever you like, go for it.” The voice of our own flesh is in direct opposition to God, and is a hostile enemy of God that is always calling out to us from within our own beings. We must silence the voices of the enemy and tune our receivers into to the gentle Voice of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s summarize this lesson on “How to walk in the Spirit.”
Be aware of His continual presence all around you and within your being, and practice His presence by living with an attitude of gratitude. Spend your waking time praising God and giving Him thanks in all things and for all things. As you learn to do this continually, moment by moment, then you will learn to become sensitive to hearing the Holy Spirit speak to your heart. You will feel Him nudge you in a certain direction and tell you to go here, or don’t go there, to do this, or don’t do this. As we learn to hear Him, then it simply comes down to us making the choices each day to obey Him.
A life of “walking in the Spirit” is a life of obedience to God as we submit to His government in our lives. It is a life where we forsake our own will and way, and instead ask God in prayer about everything that He wants us to do or not to do. This is the most exciting aspect of the Christian life that God will actually speak to us, moment by moment, and give us the opportunity to walk in His perfect Will.
Learn to “Walk in the Spirit,” and you will learn to walk with God and live a life that is pleasing to Him.