But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16
Paul doesn’t say if you are a Christian, and if you walk in the Spirit, you will no longer have the desires of the flesh. He says that if we walk in the Spirit we won’t carry out those fleshly desires. The truth is we all live in the flesh, so we will struggle with the desires of the flesh until we get to heaven. But, we can bring the desires of the flesh under the Holy Spirit’s influence.
If we walk by the flesh this will be what is in our life:
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21
If we walk by the Spirit this will be what is in our life:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
How do we not carry out the works of the flesh and have fruit of the Spirit in our lives?
Walk by the Spirit
Walking in the Spirit speaks of direction. Walking by the Spirit means to order your life according to the leading of the Spirit. It speaks of going in the direction that He is going. It is following His will and way. John Calvin said, “If we would obey the Spirit, we must labor, and fight, and apply our utmost energy; and we must begin with self-denial.” Walking by the Holy Spirit is the denial of the self and one’s desires and turning to Christ to follow His example. Consider today where you might be following the desires of the flesh and not the way of the Spirit. Repent and ask the Spirit to help you follow Jesus.
Another aspect of walking in the Spirit includes dependency. The key is to look to Him to give us the ability to do what we know we can’t do on our own. The moment we try to do it on our own, we reject the work of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our source of true power and victory.
The night before He was crucified, Jesus told his disciples that like a branch must stay connected to the vine to be fruitful, we must stay connected to Him. Apart from Him we can do nothing.
Walking infers a continuous, day by day, moment by moment dependence. It is going to the throne of grace at all times to receive grace and mercy to help in time of need. What leads to many of our failings is that we try to live off of yesterday’s grace. God gives us the grace we need for each day, that day. You can’t face the struggles of today with yesterday’s grace. We must seek Him each day for what is needed for the day.
Walking in the Spirit will never happen by accident. It must be intentional. We must be intentional about the direction in which we are walking, the dependency with which we lean and the awareness that is must be daily. Galatians offers a stark contrast between the two paths. If we are intentional in our walk, the path will be clear and the relationship strong.