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
The life of a Christian, saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, is a life that is lived under the direction and by the power of the Holy Spirit. We must remember that a Christian cannot live by his own leading or for his own pleasure.
In Galatians 5:16, we are given the command to ‘walk’ (live) by the Spirit. The word ‘walk’ is used here in the present tense, indicating a continuous, regular and habitual way of life. ‘Walk’ indicates forward movement or progress from where a person is to where God wants him to be. It is the forward movement from not carrying out the desires of the flesh, which he formerly did, to being Christ-like. He will bear the fruit of the Spirit and live a daily life patterned after the example of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The life of a Christian is a life lived under the direction of the Holy Spirit — not by one’s own leading or pleasure
However, verse 17 teaches us that walking (living) by the Spirit is not a simple matter, as it involves conflict. The conflict is between our flesh and the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. We must realise that our flesh (the carnal man) and the Spirit cannot work together because they are polar opposites. Romans 7:7-25 and Galatians 5-6 show us the contrast between the flesh and the Spirit. Our flesh is weak and enough to sabotage us. Have you noticed that every time we make a spiritual resolution, it seems our flesh begins to find every opportunity to trip us? We like to say, “The devil is making me do the wrong thing”, but Scripture shows us that the redeemed have three enemies:
Yet, 1 John 4:4 gives reason to rejoice: greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world! The Holy Spirit, who dwells in each child of God and inhabits us the moment we are saved, is greater than he who is the prince of this world (John 12:31). He that is in us is the key to overcoming he that is in the world, and all that is of the flesh.
Paul talks of the spiritual man in 1 Corinthians 2:15: “The spiritual person judges all things.” The spiritual man is the man in whom the mind of Christ is activated because he walks in the Spirit, lives in the Spirit, and keeps in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).
If you are going to live as a spiritual man, it will result from a deliberate, conscious, and daily surrender to the Holy Spirit. How do we know if we are walking (living) in the Spirit? By the fruit of the Spirit that will be exhibited in our lives as we daily surrender and yield to the Holy Spirit.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the Holy Spirit who indwells every child of God. Thank you that we possess everything we need to be victorious through Him. Teach us to walk in the Spirit. Now to Him who is able to keep us from stumbling, and to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Saviour, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.
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