Walking in the Spirit

Galatians 5:25 “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

Walking in the company of Jesus is a recurring theme for anyone who is serious about their faith in Christ. Sought by many and mastered by few, for those who have disciplined their lives to consistently maintain a standard of faithfulness in the Kingdom of God, great things are what follows.

Why is it so important to be led by the Spirit? How does one follow in the Spirit’s leading? These are questions that many ponder and strive to understand better. I have my own experiences and I suppose many of them would parallel other’s experiences as well, since we each have different lives, different ways we see the world, and different ways we respond, the experiences will not look the same.

“There is not a better evangelist in the world than the Holy Spirit.” 

Dwight L. Moody

The One common factor all true believers share is a fellowship with God’s Spirit. The Lord doesn’t change and His standard of righteousness is marked by a consistent pattern of righteousness. When people share their stories of God working in their lives, other’s recognize the evidence of the Lord working because His work bears a resemblance. It doesn’t matter what country, culture, or people we see the Lord working in, we can rejoice in hearing stories of God working in other’s lives because it is familiar–the Lord is moving in every culture on earth.

1 Corinthians 12:13 “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”

What are some consistent markers in the lives of those who are led by the Spirit?

*They put to death the deeds of the flesh.

Romans 8:13 “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” This process of dying to the flesh is a transitional move from focusing on pleasing oneself to pleasing God—it is a Spirit led process. The only way to walk in stride with the Spirit’s leading is to be aligned with God’s standard of holiness—His Moral Law.

*They listen and respond to the Spirit.

John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John Piper once said “Doing something by the Spirit means being “led” to do it by the Spirit. He is not an instrument in our hands. We are an instrument in his hands. We are not leading him. He is leading us. He is not a mere responder to us. We are being moved and led by him.” This mindset of who we are in Christ is vital to growth and maturity. We have to be reminded that it is the Lord directing our path and not the other way around. When He commands, we must listen and obey, regardless of the directive. If He says it’s time to stop a bad habit, our continued spiritual growth hinges on us being obedient to that directive. There is a reason the Lord gives us instructions when He does, He has a purpose and process in place just for us.

*His strength must become our strength.

Romans 8:26 “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” When it comes to successfully navigating a world of sin and rebellion, it is impossible to do this on our own accord. The warfare that we are embroiled in is a spiritual war. If we can’t see the enemy and his tactics, we can’t respond in a way that counters the attacks. Recognizing demonic attacks requires discernment, this discernment comes by way of the Spirit revealing it to His people. Once a believer recognizes where the attack is coming from they can counter the attacks with the resources God has given them. Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. The Lord will overcome the enemy because He has the authority and power to do so, but He often waits for us to rely on that power.

*All good ministry is Spirit led.

Psalm 25:4-5 “Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.”
You cannot do God’s work on your own–this concept cannot be emphasized enough. When someone thinks that another is doing “God’s work”, I would hope that person is familiar enough with what God’s work really looks like. I’ve seen a lot of people who think they are doing God’s work but were actually doing their own work. Someone might see another feeding the poor and want to do the same, but if it’s not by the leading of the Spirit it will not be fruitful. When the work of the flesh is not a spiritual form of worship, it becomes a rotten example of bad religion. Consequently, the Lord hates this kind of religion because it glorifies man and not God.

Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

The people Jesus described in Matthew are those who are doing all kinds of work that might resemble God’s work, they are people who have no understanding because they really don’t know Jesus. Their works might look good on the outside but it was always about them. When people are led by their own selfish ambitions, their hearts will be found out before God.

1 Corinthians 13:3 “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

How can someone express the love of God if they are not being led by God?

True believers are God’s ambassadors–they do His work, not their own. If we want to fulfill God’s calling in our lives we must act in obedience to His leading. It is when we understand our role in His work that we can finally accept our position in His Kingdom.

When God is doing the work, He alone is glorified. When we do work by our own understanding, we find ourselves being lifted up, and that will be all the glory we will ever receive.

*The Spirit leads in righteousness.

Psalm 143:11 “Revive me, O LORD, for Your name’s sake! For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.” The righteousness of God is found only in perfection. The Spirit of God leads His people toward perfection so that they might exemplify Christ to the world. Upon salvation, the redeemed are already granted the righteousness of perfection in position before God, but it is in practice that people grow in knowledge.

If we walk in any manner of bad works, our thinking is made by poor decisions that resemble a sinful nature. It is these sinful habits the Holy Spirit is leading people out of by transforming them every day, hour, and moment—only if they are listening. Obedience is learned by walking in trust, knowing that the Lord is going to remain faithful.

Look for a fresh anointing of the Spirit each day, confess your sins and then strive to be found faithful—you’ll see the fruit bearing the mark of God’s goodness.

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