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What Does It Mean to Walk in The Holy Spirit?

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Galatians 5:25 says

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit”. But how do we know we live in the Spirt, what does it mean to walk by the Spirit and how can we be sure we are walking in the Holy Spirit?

The Spirit in us

We must first understand the significance of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Holy Spirit is God, part of the Trinity. He is our guide, our helper and our counsellor (John 14:16). It is only once we receive Christ, as our Lord and Saviour, that we also receive the Spirit. In this new life in Christ, we do not know how to live the type of life that glorifies God. However, upon Christ’s departure, we were given the promise of the Spirit to help us live righteously (John 14:26). Every person who receives Christ, receives the Holy Spirit.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him

Romans 8:9

We belong to Christ; therefore, we have the Spirit of Christ. The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of God which is the same Holy Spirit, as all three are one in the Trinity. The Holy Spirit dwells within us (1 Corinthians. 3:16) and can be envisioned as an inner compass that guides us towards a life pleasing to God.

Christ has already paid the price for our sins, we are forgiven and the Spirit is forever with us. We are not trying to work towards a standard in our salvation. No, once saved, this is the process in our sanctification, making us more like Christ each day. We are in Christ so we have the Spirit living within us. Now the call, in Galatians 5:25, is to outwardly display the inward working that has taken place, in the Spirit, through our characteristics and choices.

The Flesh vs The Spirit

Before Christ, we lived a life in the flesh, doing worldly things and thinking about the wants of our sinful selves. With Christ, we die to the flesh, we say no to the worldly and earthly desires we once enjoyed and entertained, choosing instead to walk in the Spirit.

For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live

Romans 8:13

The sinful wants of the flesh are described in Galatians 5:19 as sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality…”. Essentially, the flesh is anything that is against God and His holiness. Thus, we are tasked with “walking in the spirit as to not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16) because the Spirit and the flesh are against each other, they cannot co-exist, grow and be sustained in the same space (v.17). We do not know entirely what is against God’s holiness as above is not an exhaustive list, however, with the Spirit of God, we receive guidance.

Now we have received, not from the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God

1 Corinthians 2:23

We are never alone on this journey, yet the choice is ours if we want to follow the Spirit or our flesh on the journey. If we envision the Spirit walking with us, side by side, step by step, we begin to see the image of the meaning of ‘walking by the Spirit”. We must continuously remain in step with the Spirit, following the same path and keeping pace.

The Fruit

To walk by the Spirit also means to focus our minds on the things of the Spirit. It is important to understand that this is a mind shift and life transformation. When we choose to walk by the Spirit, we are deciding to set aside our personal desires and sinful selves daily.

Those who live following their sinful selves think only about the things that their sinful selves want. But those who live following the Spirit are thinking about the things the Spirit wants them to do.

Romans 8:5

As with any organism, the more attention, time and care given to it, the more it will grow and produce (fruit). This is the same with the Spirit, the evidence is the fruit which are outlined in Galatians 5:22-23.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is a list of traits which are identifiable in a person’s behaviour and lifestyle. It is necessary to note that there are not multiple fruits of the Spirit rather one fruit with multiple parts. These distinct parts display themselves in different ways as outlined in vs. 22-23. One Spirit, one fruit. We all have the fruit of the Spirit within us as the Spirit dwells in us and we seek to display the Spirit, in our lives, through our fruit.

Walk in the Spirit

We cannot be nurturing or fulfilling the desires of our flesh, as described above, and providing the space for the fruit of the Spirit to grow. The fruit will be a result of a life surrendered to the Spirit, not our flesh. For this reason, we need to specifically walk – make an active choice to follow, be guided by and remain together – with the Spirit, to grow and live. We have to put away the former way of life for a new way of life, in the Spirit.

For more reading on walking in the Spirit

  • Romans 8:1-30
  • Galatians 5:16-26
  • 1 Corinthians 2:6-16

For more on the topic of the Holy Spirit, listen to the latest episode of #ThePulsePodcast

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Oluwaseyi Sobogun
A lover of Jesus and spoken word, Oluwaseyi is passionate about people finding their purpose in Christ. She is currently in her final year of an apprenticeship in Architecture. When Seyi is not studying or working, she likes to read a good book with a cup of Chai.