I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)
Today’s big question: how do we walk in the Spirit?
As we look at the context of today’s verse, we can see how Scripture defines walking in the Spirit. In the previous verses, Paul told the believers in Galatia to use their freedom in Christ to show love rather than living in sin (Galatians 5:13–14).
We continue reading and learn that “the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another” (Galatians 5:17). So, simply put, walking in the Spirit is the opposite of walking in the flesh.
What does walking in the flesh look like? Well, Paul gives the answer in the next few verses, listing numerous “works of the flesh.” Then he states that “those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19–21).
This does not mean we are saved by our works; Scripture makes it clear that salvation is by grace and through faith alone in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9). But we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10, emphasis added). For this reason, Scripture often commands us to test ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5) and analyze whether we have the fruit of the Spirit in our life.
No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:9–10, ESV)
The book of 1 John was written as a comfort to believers (1 John 5:13). However, 1 John powerfully challenges any who claim to believe in Christ yet live in unrepentant sin. Giving a lip service to Jesus Christ as Lord can be easy, but in order to give life service, we must surrender ourselves fully to God. The Apostle Paul wrote about this:
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1–2)
As our minds are renewed and conformed to the perfect will of God, we will “walk the talk” and produce the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22).
Today’s big idea: to walk in the Spirit is to deny the flesh and produce the fruit of the Spirit.
What to pray: surrender yourself to God, and ask Him to help you walk in the Spirit.