Walk by the Spirit
Pastor Jared Longshore continues his series on Galatians with a message entitled “Walk by the Spirit” centering on Galatians 5:16 – 26. This passage offers a strategy for fighting sin in our lives. There is instruction regarding walking in the Spirit indicating a spiritual war, a needed strategy to wage war, and a plan for execution. If followed, here is a path to victory over sin so that we might not give in to sin.
Christians are in a continual war between their flesh and the Spirit. The desires of the flesh and the Spirit are diametrically opposed. Unfortunately, we are all born full of fleshly, sinful desires. Paul puts some color on the word flesh as he describes the various sins in verses 19 through 21. While Paul centers his list on sexual sins, idolatry, or sins centered on self he is clear that his list is not exclusive noting other “things like these.” Nevertheless, when a person becomes a Christian his relationship to the flesh changes. Sin no more has dominion since the flesh has been crucified. Living according to the flesh results in sin but if, by the Spirit, we put to death the deeds of the body we shall live (Romans 8:13). This does not mean the Christian is not still tempted by the flesh; in fact, he does continue to sin but the practice of his life is changed as the focus changes from the flesh to the Spirit.
Paul presents a strategy for this life. Walking in the Spirit is to walk in obedience to God. His grace furnishes sufficient enabling for our need. By this Spirit-enabling Christians do not gratify the desires of the flesh. Daily, minute-by-minute consistent reliance on the grace provided by the Spirit not only enables the Christian’s walk but that walk is impossible without that grace. The wise Christian never diminishes either the power of the work of the Spirit nor their individual need for reliance on the Spirit. Living that way, that is having a visibly Spirit-dependent walk results in the fruit described in verses 22 and 23. This fruit is only available through the Spirit and their presence in a believer’s life provides actual evidence of the veracity of that believer’s walk.
In our culture we all want immediate fixes to whatever problem or challenge lay ahead. However, a walk is not accomplished with one step. Rather it is an ongoing progression. So it is with developing fruit, the execution of the Christian life. It happens as we spend time in God’s Word and apply that Word to our life. In happens as we set our minds on the things of the Spirit (Roams 8:5), as we put to death the deeds of the body relying on the Spirit in more accurately reflecting the Master we serve. We should also rely on the Spirit in our prayers. Even when we know not what to pray the Spirit intercedes for us, if we yield to Him.
This provides a successful wartime strategy for the Christian. For the unbeliever, the first step is to come to Christ in faith and repentance acknowledging your need for a Savior and recognizing that Savior is Christ Himself.