Veronica asked: How do you walk by the Spirit as stated in Galatians 5:16-17?
Veronica, you’ve touched on one of the foundational teachings of the Christian faith, especially as it relates to our daily walk with God. In Galatians 5:16-17, the Apostle Paul writes:
"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."
So, how do we do this? What does it mean to 'walk by the Spirit'? And how can we live this out in our daily lives? Here are some ideas.
Understand the Concept of Walking by the Spirit:
In the context of the New Testament, 'walking' often symbolizes living out or conducting your life. It refers to all of the events and activities of your life each day. 'By the Spirit' signifies that the Holy Spirit should guide your life. Stated simply, to walk by the Spirit means to be led by God's Spirit in your day-to-day life, allowing Him to influence your thoughts, actions, and attitudes.
Acknowledge Your Need for the Spirit:
Recognizing your inability to live godly without the Spirit's guidance is the first step. Like everyone else, you are prone to the desires of the flesh. You sometimes have actions and attitudes that go against God's will. You need the Holy Spirit to empower you to live a life that pleases God.
Cultivate a Relationship with God:
Walking by the Spirit requires a close relationship with God. You develop that relationship through prayer, studying His Word, fellowship with other believers, and other spiritual disciplines. Through these disciplines, you become more attuned to God's will and guidance in your life.
Be Aware and Responsive to the Spirit’s Promptings:
The Holy Spirit guides you through promptings, convictions, peace, and wisdom from God's Word. Make it a priority to be sensitive to these promptings and to obediently respond to them. As you do, you are living out the command to walk by the Spirit.
Exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit:
Galatians 5:22-23 lists the fruit of the Spirit, which are the character traits that become evident in your life when you walk by the Spirit. These include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Each time these traits are evident in your life, it indicates that you are living in alignment with the Spirit.
Regularly Confess and Repent of Sin:
Walking by the Spirit also involves ongoing confession and repentance of sin. You can’t follow God perfectly. When you sin, you quench the Spirit's work in your life. Regularly confessing and turning away from your sins allows the Spirit to continue guiding and transforming you.
Surrender to God's Will:
Lastly, to walk by the Spirit means to surrender to God's will. This surrender involves trusting in His plan and timing, even when they do not align with your desires. It's about yielding control to the Spirit and letting Him guide your steps.
Walking by the Spirit, as presented in Galatians 5:16-17, is not a one-time act but a daily commitment. It involves depending on the Spirit, nurturing your relationship with God, responding to the Spirit's promptings, bearing the fruit of the Spirit, confessing your sins, and surrendering to God's will. As you consistently practice these steps, you’ll experience the abundant life Jesus promised in John 10:10. You will glorify God with your life. It's a journey of transformation and growth, leading you to become more like Christ with each step you take.