Walking in the Spirit is often neglected by newborns in Christ. I’m here to reiterate one of the greatest gifts given to man and how to walk in his power.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)
In the above passage, Paul is talking about two different things: living and walking in the Spirit. When studying this in context, we understand that living in the Spirit is the born again new life that we experience through our connection with God. So, by default, the children of God always live in the Spirit because they have the Spirit that gives them life as opposed to everyone else who are spiritually dead.
Walking in the Spirit is often neglected by newborns in Christ due to misinformation and bad teaching by men who don’t have the Spirit. I’ve heard it said,
Now that you’re saved (or born again), it’s smooth sailing from now on. Yet, they never mention the requirement to walk in the Spirit.
Soon after, that new convert ends up in sin again, and this time, so upset with themselves to the point of thinking God doesn’t love them. The problem was this saint was never taught how to walk in the Spirit and therefore failed to please God.
What is walking in the Spirit?
Walking in the Spirit is allowing the Holy Spirit to guide the life he’s given you. Walking in the Spirit is relying on his power to overcome sin. To walk in the Spirit means to acknowledge your utter weakness to please God and to solely rely on the Holy Spirit instead.
For instance, say you want to overcome gluttony. Instead of using your will power, you should say to the Spirit, “I can’t do this. Please give me strength to stop eating so much.” This is when you’ll see yourself begin to overcome gluttony. You can do this with all sins and it will always work; it’s just that simple.
So why does it seem so hard?
The problem with most saints is the pride in them which says, “I don’t need God’s help to please him, I can do it by myself.” They rely on their will power which leads to eventual failure. Then they confess, repent, and are forgiven, only to fall again later.
True saints don’t want to sin, it’s just that if they keep falling, it’s due to not operating in the Spirit of God to resist temptation. So it’s imperative to learn how to walk in the Spirit or we will never please God. Thank God for the abundance of grace he poors on us to get it right (Titus 2:11-12).
Hopefully, after enough failures, one will have to come to the conclusion that they can’t do anything without the power of God (John 15:5). Therefore, one’s life will become completely reliant on the Spirit and this is what God wants.
Now, a proud person hearing that would say, “I’m not some helpless child!” But that’s what we all have to accept in order to enter the Kingdom. Jesus said it plainly:
Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:13)
Children rely on their parents for everything, and they don’t think too much about it. Children don’t stress about how the bills will be paid, or where their food is coming from, or what the next move will be because they know their parents have it securely under control. It’s the same with our heavenly father (Matt 6:19-33).
I have to admit, pride is strong and it can take time to get to this place of dependence on God. But once the pain of constant defeat gets to you from trying to please God in your own strength, you’ll have no other choice but to revert to that little child Jesus mentioned.
Demons and bad fellowship
There are two other barriers that make it hard to please God and walk in the Spirit. However, once you learn to control pride, these other two obstacles will be easier to deal with. The second barrier is demonic occupancy.
When you sin repeatedly in any one area of your life, a demon can come in, occupy your soul, and create a stronghold. For more information on this, visit this article: What to do when you keep falling into sin. The remedy for unwanted house guests is to take your authority in Christ and cast these unclean spirits out. When you do, you’ll feel a weight lifted, a new sense of freedom and a peaceful mind (Luke 10:19).
The third barrier to pleasing God and walking in the Spirit is bad fellowship. I’ve talked about being in the right fellowship early in this ministry because who you associate with plays a huge role in your spiritual growth. Whether they are church members, family, friends, co-workers, or colleagues, the wrong people will open doors to spirits and situations that will hamper your growth and cause you to stumble.
You should only fellowship with other children of God—born again, regenerated, believers—it’s that limited. And if there’s no local saints you can fellowship with, you’ll have to go it alone until God provides a local family. But all too often do saints settle for the company of the wicked. Don’t do it. It will destroy your growth. Remember, you are not alone, you have the Holy Spirit.
Humility is the key to walking in the Spirit
Therefore, we must humble ourselves and acknowledge our weakness and pick up the strength of God. Then, we will see perfection in our lives (Matthew 5:48). Perfection is God’s goal for every one of his children. Perfection, when mentioned in the KJV Bible, means maturity. The Holy Spirit is the one that matures us but we have to let him do it. We have to let him take the wheel. We can not drive our lives.
At the end of the day, it’s all about God’s glory. No one will be able to say upon entry into Heaven, “I did it. I saved myself!” No. It was the grace of God and our faith in Him that saved us. No one can boast. This scripture comes to mind:
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Review: How to walk in the Spirit
- Acknowledge your weaknesses (gluttony, porn, pride, etc).
- Confess and believe that you can’t overcome these things without him.
- Ask for and receive the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Believe you will overcome your sin because the Spirit is empowering you.
- Walk in success and victory.
The Spirit isn’t just for overcoming sin, but for everything else: provision, guidance, and power over the enemy. Don’t make the mistake of believing that you only need God for certain parts of your life. No. You need him for every part of your life. With the Spirit working in every area, you’ll get a holistic transformation.
What then is being filled with the Spirit?
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)
This passage in Ephesians is just an exhortation to make the Spirit your everything. Instead of the bad behavior mentioned in, and prior to, that verse (like drunkenness which consumes), the verse is just telling us to be consumed with the Spirit of God.
Contrary to what some Pentecostals believe, being filled with the Spirit doesn’t make you seem drunk. There’s no being “drunk in the Spirit.” That’s a misunderstanding of the above passage. No. Being filled with the Spirit is what is expressed in the following verses of that same chapter. Here are some ways to be filled with the Spirit:
19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God… (Ephesians 5:19-21)
Also, if one of the fruits of the Spirit is temperance (Galatians 5:23), and temperance means: abstinence from alcoholic drink, sobriety and self-restraint, then surely these Pentecostals rolling on the ground uncontrollable saying they’re “drunk in the Spirith” is a lie from Satan! The Spirit of God gives us self-control. He doesn’t make us act like looney toons.
How to do we know we’re walking in the Spirit?
Galatians gives us an indication:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (Galatians 5:22-24).
The evidence of the Spirit is the display of the fruit and less display of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). While we can be in the Spirit one minute, and in the flesh the next, the goal is to learn to remain in the Spirit and lock down the flesh on a daily basis.
Finally, as you practice walking in the Spirit, don’t let the devil get you down. He can take advantage of your failures and try to convince you that God doesn’t love you. God still loves you when you fall and will not give up on you if you continue to get back up again and continue walking with him.
Think of yourself as a toddler learning to walk. Does a loving parent lose love for their child when they slip and fall? No. They understand that the child is learning to walk. This is the same with your heavenly father who washes away your sins when you confess (1 John 1:9).
So, when you do feel condemned, you need to reject the enemy’s words and declare the truth that God loves you. God loves you more than you know, and is faithful to complete the work he started in you. His word says:
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6)
God loves you and wants to see you succeed, so walk in the Spirit.