"16) I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17) For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19) Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20) idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21) envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23) gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24) And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26) Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another." Galatians 5:16-26, NKJV
Unless man is changed inwardly, the external changes will never come. In order for those internal changes to take place we must walk in the Spirit so as not to fulfill the desires of the flesh.
Let's look at two reasons why we should walk in the Spirit.
~1. Walking and/or abiding in the Spirit will give us victory over the flesh by diminishing its power. Verse 16 of Galatians 5 says that we are to "walk in the Spirit". If we dig below the surface meaning of this word, we will find that the word "walk" in the original Greek language is a present imperative which should actually be translated to read "keep on walking". This walking in the Spirit is a continual process; it is a habitual lifestyle. We are to align ourselves so that we are placing our feet in the very footprints of the Holy Spirit. If He steps to the right, we are to step to the right; if He steps to the left, we are to follow suit. If the Spirit presses on straight ahead, then we too, are to forward march. Where He goes, we are to go.
You and I have the choice to align ourselves with the Spirit. We must choose daily to keep on walking after Him. How do we do this? How do we daily walk in the Spirit so that we experience victory over the lusts of the flesh? We must get into God's Word digging for those truths He's placed there for us to live by; we are to surround ourselves with believers who will encourage us to live our lives according to His precepts; and we are to discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness. To walk in the Spirit we must let go of our selfish will and surrender completely to God's will; we must confess sin quickly; we must trust God to do what is best and we must be obedient in every aspect of our lives.
In Romans 7:15 & 19, Paul says, "the things I desire to do, I don't do, and the things I don't desire to do, I do." Paul realized that in Christ he was a new creature. His new nature desired to please and serve God, yet his flesh was still waging war within him. He goes on to say in Romans 8:1 & 2, that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus and who are walking according to the Spirit; rather there is freedom from the law of sin. Paul understood the importance of walking in the Spirit; he knew that only when one was in step with the Spirit would one experience victory over the flesh.
~2. Abiding in the Spirit will give us victory over the flesh through the production of fruit. In Galatians 5:22-23, we find the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
The first three characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit- love, joy, and peace- speak to our relationship with God. The next three- patience, kindness, and goodness- have to do with our relationship with our fellow brothers and sisters. And the last three characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit- faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control- speak to our relationship with self.
There are only a few essential things a plant needs in order to grow and produce fruit, two of those being warmth and water. Whether it be in dirt or wrapped tightly inside a paper towel, a seed must be placed inside something in order for it to grow. It needs protection and warmth before it is able to sprout. When a seedling begins to grow, it grows in two directions, up and down. It first begins to grow down, establishing a strong root system that will firmly secure the plant as it continues to grow. Once the roots are established, the seedling then grows up in search of the sun. It is important to note here that the seed will neither develop roots nor sprout in search of the sun if it has not been watered properly.
What does all this plant talk have to do with you and me? I'm glad you asked. Think of the Holy Spirit as that which surrounds us, protecting us, giving us the freedom to grow. We are watered with the Word, which enables our roots to grow deep, firmly planting our feet so that when the storms of life rage around us we will not topple over. As we grow, our pursuit of the Son intensifies and we begin to stretch ourselves reaching out for Him every step of the way.
The fruit of the Spirit will be displayed in our lives when we have put to death the flesh. In Romans 13:14, Paul tells us to make no provision for the flesh; we are to put to death the flesh and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Abiding in Christ and keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, we are empowered to starve the flesh and live the abundant life Christ came to give us.
What we couldn't do, what we can't do, put to death the flesh on our own, has been surpassed by ALL that CAN be done in and through walking in step with the Spirit, allowing Him to lead and guide us in this life.
May we take seriously the Word of God. May it convict our hearts and may we live it out this day. Walk in the Spirit so as not to fulfill the desires of the flesh.