So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Yesterday in The Forever Notebook, I talked about taking advantage of the light of Christ while we have it. And once we have that light, it shines forever. Well, to walk by the Spirit is to walk in that light. Conversely, whenever we choose to slip back into darkness, we stumble on the desires of the flesh.
In theory, walking by the Spirit, is easy. In practice, it can be very hard. The reason: walking by the Spirit invites opposition from the Evil One. Welcome to the world of spiritual warfare. Your good intentions for living to honor Christ will be challenged through temptations and spiritual roadblocks. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
The Deceiver’s attacks will challenge your faith, plant seeds of doubt, make your good works appear as evil, cause you to stumble, and present obstacles and diversions aplenty to keep you from accomplishing God’s good purposes for your life.
Keep this in mind. To walk by the Spirit — stay in the light. Satan will attempt to lure you into the darkness.
To stay in the light, remain in God’s word, in prayer, and obedient to the Lord’s direction. Reject anything that is counter to the leading of the Spirit.
We have a tendency to be unforgiving of those who fail to walk by the Spirit and fall into the darkness of sin. Their deeds are fodder for gossips and cause for scorn.
Let’s think through our response to the fallen among us. They are brothers and sisters in Christ who have been wounded in battle. And when we gossip about their failure, are we not also engaging in sin? Look at what Paul said in Galatians 6:1:
“…if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”
Look at the last phrase. “…you also may be tempted.” Life’s experiences have taught me the meaning of this admonition, or at least part of it. Don’t go trying to restore someone from their sin if you’re going to spread their story all over town. Don’t try to restore someone caught in sin when you have one foot in light and the other in the darkness of gossip. Make certain that you are walking in the light and by the Spirit.
When you walk by the Spirit you gain a greater understanding of the battle and what it takes to stay in the light.
To victoriously walk by the Spirit, we must tune out the world and the voices that seek to pull us out of God’s will.
Have you ever gotten so focused on something that you tuned out everything else? Hobbies we’re passionate about, songs we love, etc. Those things that capture our complete and undivided attention. Today, lots of folks listen to music to help avoid the pain and drudgery from physical exercise. Well, walking by the Spirit requires staying so tuned into God that we tune out the voices of darkness.
Life is a series of choices that come at us at blinding speed. That’s why the word of God must not be set aside for occasional reading or a Sunday morning sermon. It must be read, studied, and internalized. Then we are equipped with the knowledge of how to respond when tempted.
Walking by the Spirit requires disciplined study and a fervent desire to follow God’s direction. The more you do it, the more experienced you become. You become a veteran of spiritual wars. There will be some battle scars to remind you of foolish choices you will never make again. And there will be victories, that glorious feeling you get when you resist the Devil and he flees.
I believe a daily quiet time with the Lord is essential for walking by the Spirit. Start each day by stepping into the light, bathing in it, and reloading your spiritual arsenal for what lies ahead.
For more on this topic, check out this article: What It Means to Be a Temple of the Holy Spirit
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.