Author of the world, walk with me
Ruler of the earth, walk with me
Calmer of the storm, walk with me
Healer of my heart, walk with me
How I need You
How I need You
Oh Jesus, walk with me
Jesus Culture, Walk With Me
- Learning To Walk
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16
One of the significant milestones in the development of a child is when they learn to walk. The parents of a toddler who takes her first stumbling steps can’t help but celebrate this momentous occasion! (Then they realize that this new mobility means the child can now get into just about anything, making life joyful and more challenging.)
Learning how to Walk in the Spirit, is also an essential step in the development of followers of Jesus. Throughout most of human history, people walked everywhere. With no cars or buses, trains or planes; walking was how most people got to where they were going, even as far as from one town or nation to the next. While we typically depend on more convenient forms of transportation nowadays, most of us still walk a least a little every day. That’s why the metaphor of ‘walking’ is used to describe our spiritual lives.
In the same way that walking is a slow, methodical way to get us from where we are, to where we want to be, walking in the Spirit is a process that takes us even beyond where we thought we could go. tweet
But before we can learn about walking in the Spirit, we need to see what the natural tendency is. The Apostle Paul explained our natural stride this way:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV)
Before beginning the habit of Gospel-Centered Devotion (See Habit #1), we all started walking in the wrong direction and doing life our way. This path was one that led to ways of thinking, behaving, and feeling that ran counter to God’s design and left us under God’s fair judgment. “Walking in the flesh” is characterized by violent anger, a lack of self-control, greed, lust, envy, and other self-oriented forms of gratification.
But what is the flesh?
One author defined the flesh this way:
“The flesh is a built-in law of failure, making it impossible for natural man to please or serve God. It is a compulsive inner force inherited from man’s fall, which expresses itself in general and specific rebellion against God and His righteousness. The flesh can never be reformed or improved. The only hope for escape from the law of the flesh is its total execution and replacement by a new life in the Lord Jesus Christ.”
When we “walk by the Spirit”’ however, we “will not gratify the desires of the flesh” but will instead be productive and pleasing to God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
The consistent presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives produces dramatically different results than the flesh. Apple orchard farmers don’t try to produce apples themselves. They work to plant, water, and grow healthy apple trees. The tree, after it is diligently cared for, will naturally provide apples. Similarly, when we consistently focus on caring for our souls, the Holy Spirit will supernaturally produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control! Would you like your life to produce these results? That will also require consistent diligence.
We are either walking in the Spirit, or the flesh. We are either walking in the right direction, or getting more lost. Let’s develop the habit of walking in the Spirit so we can produce fruitfulness in our lives.
What are some reasons walking is such a helpful metaphor for our spiritual life?
In Ephesians 2:1-3, we are described as having walked in ways that “followed the course of this world.” What are one or two ways you’ve seen that play out in your life?
Read Galatians 5:18-23. Using the list from Galatians 5, identify what it looks like for you to walk in the flesh, and walk in the Spirit in your life. Ask for the Holy Spirit’s help to walk by the Spirit and not the flesh right now.
|Walking in the Flesh||Walking in the Spirit|
Verses: Galatians 5:16, 18-23, Ephesians 2:1-3