One of the things that used to confuse me the most about the Christian journey was how to “walk in the Spirit”. It seems like such a simple thing to say, but when life is crowded with the array of human experiences we tend to, well, experience them, respond to them and let them effect us then, when we get human results, we wonder why life is so hard! Just me?! To say “walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16) is easy to say, but not as easy to do, am I right?
The “lusts of the flesh” are not all “bad” things like murder and adultery. When Paul listed the “works of the flesh” in Galatians 5, he added this as the end, “… and the like.” Meaning this: Some of the “lusts” we feel and then follow after aren’t pure evil, some are simply “flesh” things that are contrary to the characteristics of our holy God. You are made in His likeness – inside and out – even if that goes against what your human experiences show you. Welcome to the life of faith! How you live proves that you have faith in God…when you live contrary to what your human experiences tell you.
Human experiences tell you to become angry when someone is cruel, or mocking or hurtful. Human experiences tell you to share gossip when you have juicy information. Human experiences tell you to withhold affection, drink wine when you need to relax, slap someone’s face, retaliate or be passive-aggressive in your remarks. Human experiences tell you to be bitter when injustices happen or life isn’t fair. Human experiences tell you to become jealous when someone else has something you think they didn’t deserve, or that you think you deserved and didn’t get. Human experiences tell you to eat junk food when your body craves it. Human experiences tell you to purchase things you can’t afford- “and the like” – as Paul said. I’m just being real today and preaching to myself!! So, how do you “walk in the Spirit” so that you don’t fulfill the “lusts of the flesh”?
As long as you remain on this earth, you will fight against the “lusts” of the human experience, but if you desire to “walk in the Spirit” so that you don’t lose the battle against your flesh, you must live a life built around spiritual activities.
As long as you remain on this earth, you will fight against the “lusts” of the human experience, but if you desire to “walk in the Spirit” so that you don’t lose the battle against your flesh, you must live a life built around spiritual activities. A life that is lived within the shelter of the Word of God, prayer and praise are the three foundational, spiritual activities that will keep your mind set “on things above”. (Colossians 3:2) If you are missing any one of these three, or if they exist in a secondary, or weakened condition in your life, if they are not your foremost go-to, survival techniques for this human experience- you will not survive long in the battle against the flesh. If you want to “walk in the Spirit” you must do spiritual things – that’s it! It sounds so easy, yet many lose the battle because the flesh is a mighty enemy so, today, who will win?!
Thought for today
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control; against such there is no law. Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22-25) You must “live” in the Spirit if you’re going to put your flesh down, into subjection under the will of God, and “walk” in the Spirit, the very fist battle you’ll face will be to force yourself to make time for the Lord- daily. Moment by moment. That, in and of itself, will be hard enough, but it is the winning strategy in the battle against the flesh. You love the Lord, and you desire to walk in the Spirit with Him and He knows that! He will convict, strengthen and even remind you- and your choice is to obey those promptings and choose to “live” in the Spirit, and then you’ll find the strength to push past the flesh and “walk” in the Spirit! In 1 Corinthians 9:27 Paul wrote, “But I bring and keep my body under subjection, lest when preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” Worship, the Word and the wisdom of prayer are your weapons of victory today… so use them if you want to win!