What does it mean to work in the Spirit?
To work in the Spirit means that as you work in your day job, or even as you conduct your life in holiness, you do it unto the Lord and not to be seen by people. That “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:17).
Now this question can be asked from two different perspectives so I am going to attempt to answer both.
Perspective 1: What does it mean to do my daily work in the Spirit?
To your daily work in the Spirit means that as you go throughout your day you are communing with the Spirit to the Father. It means that you are living your life in fellowship with God and that you are living with His empowerment as you go about your daily activities.
To do your daily work in the flesh would be to keep your eyes on all the things you have to accomplish and never once engage with Him. Which would most likely result in you being stressed out, worried, and discouraged.
How much better it is to start, continue, and end our day with Him so that we never once feel victim to the flesh!
Perspective 2: Since we are not saved by works, what does it mean to work in the Spirit?
This is an excellent question! It is similar to the one above it, however, instead of focusing on work as with your hands this focuses primarily on spiritual work or acts of righteousness.
So something to understand is that although we are not saved by our good works, we are saved for good works.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Notice it says that we are not saved by our works, but that we are saved for good works. And before that He says that we are His workmanship. Meaning, even these works are not from us but from Him working in us.
The Bible makes this clear in many different places.
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh…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 & 22-23).
Notice after the apostle Paul tells us to walk in the Spirit, He then explains that there is fruit to this walk. And this fruit comes automatically, it is not a strained effort. It is a natural byproduct of living our life with the Spirit of God. (Related article: How to Walk in the Spirit).
Now looking from the outside at someone who has this kind of fruit in their life it would be natural for us to assume that they worked really hard at it, but the Bible calls it fruit for a reason. It’s fruit because it came naturally from our relationship with God. [Related article: Fruit of the Holy Spirit (Common Questions Answered)].
It is not our work, it’s His work in us. The only thing we are required to do is to remain in Him and then He’ll do the rest.
How to work in the Spirit
Now although I addressed two different perspectives in the above section you can tell that the answer is virtually the same: we remain connected to Him through fellowship and the reading of His word and as we do this He empowers us to live holy and to work exceptionally.
But how do we do this practically? That is the reason for this section.
Understand and believe that God is with you all the time
To live connected to God throughout our day we have to first understand that God is with us all the time. The Bible tells us that the same Spirit that rose Christ from the dead lives and dwells in us and that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)
“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)
“For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)
Since this is true, we ought to conduct our lives as such! We should talk to God and worship Him as if He is right here with us because in reality, He is.
Commune with God and worship during mundane tasks
We all have things we do every day that require little to no brain power, especially once we learn them well.
Things like dishes, taking out the trash, laundry, sweeping, mowing the lawn, driving, or any other thing at your day job that you can think of.
So much of this time we spend doing these tasks and we let our minds wander from thought to thought without ever harnessing our meditations and bringing them before Him. And the amazing thing is, it isn’t even complicated to change! All we have to do is start talking to Him as we would anyone else, sing a worship song to Him in a soft tone, or pray in tongues.
Such a simple change to implement but it’ll reap great rewards!
Spend daily time alone with God
If we want to be able to work in the Spirit day by day then we should first learn to take time out of our busy day and spend it with Him. There are two essential aspects of our relationship with God; quality time alone with God and our relationship with God as we go about our day.
We need both to have a healthy relationship with Him. It is similar to any other relationship in our lives. For example, my wife and I make it a point to have daily time where it is just the two of us, rarely is this interrupted because of the priority we have placed on it.
In addition to this, we also have things to do and people to see. Now, do you think that as we go about our day, visiting people and completing important tasks, we don’t talk to one another? Of course not! That would be crazy and unhealthy.
But it would be equally unhealthy if we only talked to each other while we went about our day but then when we were alone we never spoke, or at least we never made time with one another a priority.
It is no different with God. We must have a relationship with Him when we are alone, as well as a relationship when we are with others.
Consume and devour the Word of God
The Bible says that to walk in the Spirit is to set 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.” (Romans 8:5)
So how do we set our minds on the things of the Spirit and not the flesh? Well, we do this in many different ways worship, prayer, spending time with other believers, etc.
But one of the primary ways, and possibly the most important is to read the word of God daily.
Jesus said “the words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). The apostle Paul said that the word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). And James compared the word of God to a spiritual mirror that we look into (James 1:22-25).
So if we want to live out our lives in step with the Spirit of God then we should continually be reading and studying the Spirit’s words that He gave to us. (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
[Related article: Spend Time Reading the Bible (Common Questions Answered)].
Pray and sing in the Spirit at all times
The Bible consistently exhorts us to pray and sing in the Spirit at all times. The apostle Paul and Jude both encourage us to do so.
“With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18)
“be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:18-19).
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God…” (Jude v.20-21)
But what does it mean to pray in the Spirit and to sing spiritual songs?
To pray and sing in the Spirit is to pray and sing in tongues. When we are speaking in tongues, our spirit is praying and cooperating with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4) and the Bible says that we are speaking mysteries to God (1 Corinthians 14:2) and that we are blessing and thanking God well (1 Corinthians 14:16-17).
“For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.” (1 Corinthians 14:14-15)
Notice, Paul says that when he is praying in tongues he is also praying in the spirit. And he says that his conclusion is that he will pray and sing both in the spirit and with his understanding.
Now someone will read this and say, “Ya but the passage you quoted in 1 Corinthians refers to Paul’s spirit (lowercase s) and the other passages refer to the Holy Spirit (capital s).”
And you would be right. But have you read where Paul (the same writer to the Ephesians and to the Corinthians) says that “he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Corinthians 6:17) and “the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
So when the apostle Paul prays and sings with “his spirit” he is also praying and singing with the Spirit of God. (Related article: Singing in the Spirit: What it is & How to do it).
So in short, it is extremely beneficial to pray in the Spirit and to sing in the Spirit because the Bible says that when we do so we edify and build up our faith (1 Corinthians 14:4 & Jude v.20-21), we keep ourselves in the love of God (Jude v.20-21), we give thanks to God well (1 Corinthians 14:16-17), and we will be continually filled with His Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-19).
[Related article: Is Speaking in Tongues for Everyone? (Biblical Answer)].
Pretty amazing! What a thing to miss out on if you aren’t speaking in tongues. If you want to know how to receive this wonderful gift click here.
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