Walking in the Spirit

Written Nov 2012: I have learned thus far that it is the love relationship with God that is of utmost importance. Just as a baby has need of food and shelter, etc, if there is no love given, will suffer neglect and have no will to live, so also with my spiritual life. As a child of God, foundationally, I must have the love relationship. Through it, my basic needs are met and I will thrive. And with life, comes growth and development. So we learn to walk. There was a time when I walked in the flesh. Paul lists the works of the flesh in his letter to the Galations: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries and the like (Gal 5:19-21). To be honest, I was guilty of all of the above (when Christ’s definitions are considered). Paul says that “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” (Gal 5:17). In verse 16 (chap 5) he says, “walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” So I look at the list again. Yes, there are definitely things that I no longer do – praise God! But if I am truly honest, isn’t there still things that I am guilty of? How often do I put things ahead of God (idolatry)? What about those contentions at work? And I don’t think anybody has been immune to my outbursts of anger! Isn’t there times that jealousy and envy rear their ugly heads?
Verse 22 of the same chapter lists the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I believe that there is also evidence of the fruit in my life. But, is it consistent? Isn’t there times when I am not kind and not joyful and not self-controlled? So then I would have to admit that I do not consistently walk in the Spirit. How do I do that anyway? Paul tell us in verses 24 and 25, “and those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” This is a change of mindset. A change of habit, of lifestyle, of focus. In chapter 6, verse 8 we are told, “for he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Isn’t this obvious in my life? If I continue to sow to my flesh by eating everything in sight, I will reap obesity and fatty liver and disease. If I continue to have outbursts of anger and feed the fire of contentiousness at work, I will reap the stress and backlash and punishment that comes with it. But if I change my mindset, remembering that I do not have to take part, then there is hope. If I can sow to the Sprit, I will produce the fruit of the Spirit and rise above all of the nonsense. But how do I “sow to the Spirit”? This is a picture of planting and feeding. How do I produce a harvest of spiritual fruit? By feeding and watering the Spirit. By reading the Word and communing with the Spirit and allowing the Spirit to have more of me. Hasn’t my experience shown this to be true? When I come downstairs in the morning, my habit is to head to the kitchen for breakfast. There I would proceed to eat far more than I could possibly need and then get tired and sit down and get nothing much else accomplished until lunch. But, if I change my habit, and first, sit down with the Lord, to read the Word, and pray and receive a fresh touch for the morning, when I head to the kitchen I am much more self-controlled. I am peaceful and able to make proper choices. I carry on from there to accomplish much of what needs to get done and am not ruled by my stomach. I greet my family with love and joy. I treat them with kindness and gentleness. All of this comes naturally when I have spent time sowing the Sprit, growing in the Spirit – producing the fruit of the Spirit. So it is time now for new habits and new mindsets and new freedom from the flesh. It is time to begin everyday with Jesus. It is time to walk in the Spirit!

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