The apostle Paul had a common pattern of discipleship. Once someone got saved, he would lead them through water baptism and teach them about putting off the old man and rising to the new man. Then he would lead them to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, which usually came after water baptism (If you want to know more about these two subjects see Water Baptism And Baptism in the Holy Spirit). Once the new believer received Holy Spirit, Paul would then teach them how to walk in the Spirit.
Walking in the Spirit is the key to success in the Christian life. It is a foundational teaching that we will never mature out of. In fact, walking in the Holy Spirit is the very process of maturity.
If we desire to grow in holiness, or to walk in love toward others, or to develop our relationship with God, we must learn to walk in the Spirit. Just as Paul says in the letter to the Galatian church.
“Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law..” (Galatians 5:16-25).
But before we go any further in this article I want to establish the differences between the old and new covenant so we can better understand the importance of this teaching.
The Law v. The Spirit Walk
In the old covenant, Gods people lived by the law. In the new covenant, Gods people live by the Spirit. The former gives a list of do’s and do not’s, with no empowerment to accomplish holiness. The latter invokes relationship to empower holiness. This is what Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians chapter 3.
“Our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
The “letter” Paul is referring to here is the old covenant. See the very next verse.
“But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?”(2 Corinthians 3:7-8).
Notice that the law is referred to as a minister of death! It’s called this because there is no way to fulfill it in your own strength. Now you may ask the question, “why would God give a law that we cannot fulfill?”
God gave the law to tutor us to Christ (Galatians 3:24). The law’s purpose is to expose our need for a savior (Romans 3:20). It was never made for us to obey perfectly, but for us to fall on Gods mercy.
But the new covenant is not based upon the letter but upon the Spirit of God. So to walk out this new life in Christ is to walk in the Spirit.
If we walk in the Holy Spirit, He will transform our lives without us striving. This is why it’s called the fruit of the Spirit because He does the transforming work, not us. As 2 Corinthians goes on to say,
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
What is Walking in the Spirit?
It is simply setting our minds on the things of the Spirit.
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:5-6).
In our old life, before Christ, we filled our minds with the things of this world, but now that we have received Christ, we are to fill our minds with His world.
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians 3:1-2).
You may have heard the saying, “don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good”, that saying is not from God. The word of God teaches that you should be so heavenly minded that you’re earthly incredible.
How to Walk in the Spirit
So how do we do set our mind on the things of the Spirit and not the flesh? Here are some practical tips:
- Read the word of God daily. The word and the Spirit are inseparable. The word of God is inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21), and is called the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). Even Jesus said “the words I speak to you are spirit and are life” (John 6:63). If you need help to begin reading the word of God, check out How to Start Reading the Bible.
- Talk with the Holy Spirit often. Paul says to walk in the Spirit. If you were walking with someone down the street somewhere it would be awkward if you didn’t talk to each other. Holy Spirit is with us all the time, so we should probably stop being awkward. This is why the scripture says, “and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14).
- Spend time with God in secret prayer. Jesus told us that when we pray we are to get alone and pray to the Father in the secret place (Matthew 6:6). Spending time every day with God in secret prayer is huge when it comes to walking in the Spirit. (See How to Pray Like Jesus ).
- Speak in tongues. Speaking in tongues is called “praying in the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 14:14-15). If we continually pray in the Spirit throughout our day, it will be easier to be aware of the Spirit in our daily lives.
- Turn away from sin. If you want to walk in the Spirit you have to turn away from sin. I left this tip last because if you practice the above tips, it’ll be hard to practice sin.
Walking in the Spirit is so important because it is the way we live this new life that Christ gave to us. This was just a quick overview of living by the Spirit, but if you take anything from this article please take this: the Holy Spirit is a Person, and living life in close fellowship with this Person is walking in the Holy Spirit.
I hope this article assisted you in your walk with the Lord. If you enjoyed this article, please consider giving a donation of any amount by going to the support page. The support I receive from you enables The Biblical Foundation to reach more people with the teachings of the Word of God.