At first glance, the phrase “walk in the Spirit” might mean to some people to leave your body spiritually and perhaps even walk on air in so doing – but it doesn’t quite mean that. It was St Paul who coined the phrase “walk in the Spirit.” One reason he said this was because of all the quarrelling amongst Christians so he said, “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another (eat each other alive). This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:15,16)
These verses certainly highlight a common problem these days what with all of this division and arguing we see and hear all around us so what could possibly be the solution to it all? These verses here offer a definite solution to the whole problem and we can see just how important it is to walk in the Spirit, especially when we read the next verse which says, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal. 5:17) So when the bible uses the word flesh it usually means lust so if we are not in the Spirit then we are left with the lusts of the flesh to operate through, so we seriously need to get in the Spirit which begs the question: what is getting in the Spirit – what is walking in the Spirit? Well, one way of explaining it is when you consider how and why a lot of people came to Jesus in the first place, it is because they hated everything about themselves and their life. St Paul was one of these people, he said that the good that he would he does not but the evil that he would not, that he does! So he found that no matter how hard he tried to be good without Jesus that he really couldn’t be good at all and finally he found himself hunting down Christians and wishing to kill them and imprison them and he even appears to have gloated over the death of the first martyr Stephen, people throwing their coats at his feet so they could better throw those rocks at Stephen, some of them to put it graphically no-doubt aiming for his head. So St Paul appears to have revelled in all of this and even went on to get letters giving him permission to hunt down more Christians so he certainly knew what he was talking about when he said, “bite and devour one another” – he certainly wanted to eat those Christians alive and teach them a lesson.
So what was he yielded to here, the flesh or the Spirit? It turns out that Jesus had been talking to him because Jesus both literally and spiritually knocked him off his high-horse and this of course is half the problem with us all, especially Christians and religious people, we all have a tendency to get on our high-horse of spiritual pride, we think we’re so spiritual and all the others are out of it and this was the problem with St Paul before he came to Jesus, he’d studied the books of Moses and the law and everything else and he worked hard to keep all the ten commandments etc. so if anyone was right he thought he was, if anyone knew then it must have been him and here were these two-bit Christians coming along who didn’t even have a clue about all the laws of Moses – some of them, and here they were pointing out God’s ways to him! The true reality was that they were simply pointing Paul to Jesus and saying that the only way we can find true salvation is through Jesus. So salvation meaning saved – saved from what? Saved from yourself and your fleshly pride and selfishness! So they were telling Paul that he needed to ask Jesus into his heart, into his life, into his so-called everything – everything he thought he was but was not! They would have been telling him to give all this up, to give up on himself especially if he was so sick of himself (of which he must have been reaching that point). If any Christian is to be truly honest then they would have to say that you really really find that if you are out of the Spirit of Jesus that you hate yourself that badly because without Jesus you are just an empty nothing and a spiritless nothing, in fact, all you are is just a selfish mess, there’s no love in you! So the Christians back then were exposing all of this in St Paul and that’s why he hated them so much because the real reality was that they were right because they had Jesus and he could see Jesus in them. When Jesus knocked Paul off his horse He said to him “Saul, Saul (his former name), why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks (goad sticks).” So in persecuting these Christians Paul was persecuting Jesus; Jesus had been talking to him through these Christians and so Jesus’ words were like goad sticks (a stick with a small spike on the end used by farmers to steer and guide their livestock) and so Paul was kicking back at Jesus, deep down he knew full well they were right and he could even see the Spirit of Jesus in them so he knew it was really Jesus in them that was talking to him so these Christians were clearly walking in the Spirit of Jesus.
So walking in the Spirit is having Jesus in your heart and talking from His Spirit and not from your own flesh and if we talk from the Spirit of Jesus then we will also have the fruits of the Holy Spirit because Jesus in us baptises us with the Holy Spirit or perhaps even better said, the pure Spirit of God, so whenever you speak from the pure Spirit of God through Jesus then it will be Jesus who is speaking and not yourself as long as you are totally yielded to Jesus and not your own fleshly proud selfish self. And so God willing, people will see Jesus in you and they will hear the voice of Jesus in your words and they will also see the pure fruits of the Spirit in your actions and deeds.
The fruits of the Spirit are: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.
So here we have an example of a man who totally changed, he was once proud, self-willed, had selfish ambition, social climber, competitive, looked down on others, hateful, hurtful, unkind, unloving, merciless, even developed a murderous heart, envious, jealous, and in his pursuit of becoming a great religious figure he became one of the worse sinners going! Paul went on to say, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, I count all things but loss for the excellency of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I might gain Christ.”
So all being said, if you are having problems with your relationships with others and perhaps you find you can’t stop arguing because just like the rest of us you’re so human and lacking in love, then perhaps you too would like to walk in the Spirit – the Spirit of Jesus of course! Jesus really did overcome the world, He overcame the lusts of the flesh, He stayed in the Spirit of God His whole life and never yielded to the flesh and its lusts, He even resisted the lusts of the flesh unto death. Most of us would hate our enemies if they crucified us but Jesus loved His enemies even unto death – He died for the sins of the whole world and by asking Jesus into your heart you can have all your sins covered with His blood because love covers a multitude of sins and by having Jesus in your heart you quickly discover that you can now truly love other people because you have the very Spirit and presence of Jesus in you to do this. Ask Him also to fill you with His Holy Spirit and then you will find that you have the fruits of the Spirit, you will have love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, so much so that you will become a whole new creature and so if any man be in Christ he is a new creature, a new walking in the Spirit of Jesus creature, old things and your old self will be in the past, all things will become new and so you will have been born again – once born of the flesh but now born of the Spirit – once walking in the flesh but now walking in the Spirit! Simply take Jesus into your heart and yield to Him from this moment onwards and you will truly find that you are walking in the Spirit and not the flesh!