What does it mean to walk in the Spirit?
The Bible reveals that to walk in the Spirit means to set our minds on the things of the Spirit.
I know that is super simple but the Bible makes that abundantly clear.
“..The righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to 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.” (Romans 8:4-5)
The apostle Paul explains here that just like when we were in sin we set our minds on the flesh, so now in order to live according to the Spirit we should set our minds on the things of the Spirit. [Related article: How to Walk/Live in the Spirit (Complete Guide)]
The former results in more sin, and the latter results in holiness.
In fact, just two chapters before this passage in Romans chapter 8, Paul said the same exact same thing, just worded a little differently.
“For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.” (Romans 6:19)
The term “members” in this passage is referring to members of our person. In other words, our eyes, hands, ears, and especially our mind.
Since now we have been set free from sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we shouldn’t continue to allow our members to indulge in worldly things. Instead, we should steward everything that crosses the path of our members and choose to focus on things of the Spirit and not the flesh.
If we can do this then we will be walking in the Spirit, which will result in the fruit of the Spirit, and this process is called renewing the mind. (Related articles: 4 Simple Tips on How to Renew Your Mind and 10 Ways to Keep Your Mind Stayed on God).
How do you know if you are walking in the Spirit?
You can know you are walking in the Spirit because you will have the fruits of the Spirit operating in your life. Which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control.
The only evidence the Bible gives to us to know that we are truly walking in the Spirit is the fruits of the Spirit. There is no other indicator.
You might be able to say that you are walking in the Spirit because you are setting your mind on the things of the Spirit, but then if you have an outburst of wrath or unforgiveness toward someone, you at some point stepped into the flesh because these are part of the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21).
Another way to think of it is this: an apple tree cannot bear oranges, an orange tree cannot bear apples. The fruit itself reveals what type of tree it is. In other words, the outside reveals the inside.
This is similar to what Jesus was saying when He said, “First clean the inside of the cup, and then the outside will be clean” (Matthew 23:26).
So, if we are truly walking in the Spirit then we will automatically bear love, joy, peace, etc. But instead, if we step into the flesh, then we will have envy, outbursts of wrath, strife, etc.
If these fleshly things rise up in us, that doesn’t mean that we don’t the Holy Spirit in us or that we aren’t a new creation. Those facts are already settled. However, it does mean that we are in the process of renewing our minds by walking in the Spirit so that our lives can be transformed with the fruit of the Spirit.
So stay encouraged and keep the same mindset as the apostle Paul when he said,
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
If you stumble in the flesh, come before the Father and repent, then thank Him for the blood of Jesus. If you sinned against someone go ask them for forgiveness. But after you have done these things move on and continue to press toward the “upward call” which is to be conformed to the image of Christ (Philippians 3:12, Romans 8:29).
This conformity into His image is only possible through walking the way He walked, which is according to His Spirit.
What does it mean to live in the Spirit?
To live in the Spirit means that you have received Christ Jesus as your Lord and that the Holy Spirit lives on the inside of you. The term “live in the Spirit” has to do with a position, while the term “walk in the Spirit” has to do with a manifestation.
We know that they are different in the eyes of scripture because the apostle Paul said, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)
If you pay close attention to this verse you can see that living in the Spirit is something that the Galatian church already had, but walking the Spirit is something that Paul had to encourage them to do.
The apostle Paul was certain that they lived in the Spirit, but he wasn’t so certain that they were walking in the Spirit. This is because Paul was there when these Christians got saved, he knew that they were believers and that they were in Christ, but he also knew that they needed to be reminded to walk out their salvation.
I have an entire article that explains the difference between walking in the Spirit and living in the Spirit, you can check it out by clicking on the title. Living in the Spirit vs. Walking in the Spirit: What is the Difference?
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