God has made us an amazing promise: “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). But how do we walk in the Spirit in our everyday lives? Here are 5 steps that will enable you to:
1 Realize your flesh is sinful.
Paul said that “the law of sin… is in my [bodily members” (Romans 7:23 NKJV). The reason we sin is because our bodies are sinful (due to Adam's transgression). One day, when Jesus returns, we will receive a new resurrected body which will have no sinful nature. However, until then, as long as we are in this body, we will have to deal with the sinful nature.
2 Realize that your spirit is good
Jesus said, “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41 NIV). We have seen that our flesh is sinful, but it is equally important to realize that our spirit is not! You will be familiar with the phrase, “born again”. But when you were born again, exactly what was born again? It wasn’t your body that was born again – if you had a big nose before you were saved, you still have one now! So what was born again? It was your spirit. Jesus said, “the Spirit gives birth to spirit” (John 3:6 NIV). When you gave your life to Jesus, your spirit was born again and is now in the likeness and image of Jesus Christ (see Colossians 3:10). When you don’t feel like praying, or don’t feel like reading the Bible etc. that is not your spirit. That is your flesh talking! Your “spirit is willing”, and wants to do those things. The problem is not your spirit; the problem is your flesh!
3 Realize that you are a spirit!
Jesus said, “God is spirit” (John 4:24 ESV). God is not a material being, which is why science can never detect Him. God is “spirit”. Now, you were created in the image of God, so what does that make you? It means that you are “spirit” too! You are not a body that has a spirit. You are a spirit that lives in a body! If you see yourself as a body, your flesh will have the upper hand. If you see yourself as a spirit, your spirit will have the upper hand. Say it out loud: "I am a spirit that lives in a body".
4 Realize that your spirit and the Holy Spirit have become one.
Paul said, “he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Corinthians 6:17 NKJV). When you gave your life to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit entered your heart, and He fused Himself together with your spirit, so that your spirit, and the Holy Spirit have become “one spirit”. Therefore, to follow your spirit is to follow the Holy Spirit! Suddenly, being led by the Holy Spirit sounds a lot easier – it is as simple as following your own spirit. Your spirit and the Holy Spirit have become “one spirit” through your salvation. This is truly incredible. In the Old Testament, that was not the case, as Jesus hadn’t died and rose again yet. But now that He has risen from the dead, your spirit shares in His resurrection life – it has become “born again” and joined to the Holy Spirit.
5 Choose daily to follow your spirit instead of your flesh
Paul said, “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” Galatians 5:24 (NIV). When you are faced with a temptation, you must recognize that it is your flesh being tempted, not your spirit. Your spirit wants to do what is right (“the spirit is willing”). Furthermore, you must remind yourself that you are a spirit. You are not a body, your body is just your house. You are a spirit. Therefore, the real you (your spirit) does not have to do what the body demands. You (your spirit) is empowered by the Holy Spirit to say “no” to the flesh. When you say “no”, you are crucifying your sinful nature. You are depriving it of life, and are instead walking in the Spirit/spirit.
Here are those five steps again:
1. Realise your flesh is sinful
2. Realise that your spirit is good
3. Realise that you are a spirit
4. Realise that your spirit and the Holy Spirit have become one
5. Choose daily to follow your spirit instead of your flesh
Dr. Stuart Pattico
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Verses marked NIV are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Verses marked HCSB are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers. Verses marked NKJV are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Verses marked NLT are from Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. Quotations marked NEB are from The New English Bible: The New Testament © ‘The
Delegates of the Oxford University Press and the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press 1961, 1970.