In the Book of Galatians, Apostle Paul, in a most insightful way exhorts the Body of Christ towards maturity. In Galatians 5, Paul makes several profound statements about living in the Spirit versus walking in the Spirit.
From these teachings, we come to see that there is in fact a difference between living in the Spirit or being alive in the Spirit and walking in the Spirit or being led by the Spirit.
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” – Galatians 5:25
From Apostle Paul’s teachings, we also understand that it is possible for us as believers to live in the Spirit and yet not walk in the Spirit. Paul also makes it clear that we must first be alive in the Spirit to walk in the Spirit. However, being alive in the Spirit does not necessarily mean we are walking in the Spirit.
In this message, we will be taking a look at what it means to walk in the Spirit, its benefits, and how walk in the Spirit.
Living in the Spirit
In our Salvation message, we took a look at some of the effects sin has had on man. One of those effects was the death of man’s spirit.
After Adam sinned against God, his spirit died, just as God had said. From that point on, man was unable to have a relationship with God. As a result of Adam’s sin, every person born in his lineage (which is all mankind) has been born with a “dead” spirit. This is clearly explained in the scripture below:
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” – Romans 5:19
Jesus came as the ultimate solution to the problem of sin. In John 3, he himself told Nicodemus the Pharisee the solution:
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” – John 3:6-8
Ye must be born again is the solution to the issue of sin. By being Born Again, our spirits are made alive by the Holy Spirit. In other words, being Born Again is to be born of the Spirit. And because that which is born of the Spirit is spirit, when we become Born Again, our spirit man comes alive. This is why Salvation through Jesus Christ is the only true way to God; all other religions and philosophies do not deal with the issue of man’s dead spirit.
Walking in the Spirit
As born again believers, we have been made a part of the Kingdom of God (Colossians 1:13) and members of God’s family. We have also become adopted children of God with complete access to the riches and inheritance of God.
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ…” – Romans 8:16-17
One such blessing of being born again is having the Holy Spirit live within us; in our spirit. Also, through baptism in the Spirit, we have access to Prayer in the Spirit, the Gifts of the Spirit, the Fruit of the Spirit and the leading of the Spirit among others.
The issue however is that most Christians settle for only the Born Again experience. Some Christians go on to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit but do not maintain a walk with Him. In Galatians 5, Paul was admonishing us to strive for maturity.
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” – Galatians 5:25
As born again Christians, we are alive in the Spirit. We live in the Spirit because the Holy Spirit gives life to our spirit and lives within us. God however expects us to also walk in the Spirit.
What it means to Walk in the Spirit
What does it mean to walk in the Spirit? In Apostle Paul’s teachings in Galatians 5, we see a clear definition. Let’s take a look at it:
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” – Galatians 5:16-18
From the above scripture, we see that Paul uses the phrase Walk in the Spirit interchangeably with the phrase Led of the Spirit. Therefore, simply put, Walking in the Spirit means being led by the Spirit.
Benefits of Walking in the Spirit
Walking in the Spirit is being conscious of the Holy Spirit’s presence with us and paying attention to see how He is leading us as we go through our daily lives. Some of the benefits of Walking in the Spirit are:
1. Dominion over Sin: In Romans 8, Apostle Paul teaches about how walking in the Spirit is key to living above sin.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. – Romans 8:1
Paul reiterates this same teaching in Galatians 5:
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. – Galatians 5:16
2. Access to the Supernatural: There is a supernatural dimension of the Christian walk that is available to all believers. Accessing that dimension is only possible through walking in the Spirit. The Gifts of the Spirit, the Fruit of the Spirit, the Five-fold Ministry gifts, Praying in the Spirit are all tied to our relationship with the Holy Spirit. In order to see these spiritual blessings at work in our lives, we must walk in the Spirit. Therefore, we see from scripture that it is impossible to walk in the supernatural without walking in the Spirit.
How to Walk in the Spirit
Walking in the Spirit is crucial to a successful Christian walk. We have seen from scripture that walking in the Spirit means being led by the Spirit. However, how do we actually walk in the Spirit? How can we be led by the Spirit? And how do we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit? Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about this:
1. In order to walk in the Spirit, we must first be alive in the Spirit. Paul emphasized this in Galatians 5:25.
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” – Galatians 5:25
To be alive in the Spirit is to be born again. If you are not yet born again, we invite you to give your life to Jesus Christ today. Please visit our Salvation page here to do so.
2. In order to walk in the Spirit, we must “mind the things of the Spirit”. Paul taught on this in Romans 8:
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. – Romans 8:5
What Paul was saying here was that we should pay attention to spiritual things and by the help of the Holy Spirit, put to death the works of the flesh. In Colossians 3, Paul explains this further:
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. – Colossians 3:1-2
In the remainder of Colossians 3, Paul goes on to mention the works of the flesh that we should put to death and put off. He then mentions the things of the Spirit we should put on. Please read the full chapter of Colossians 3 here.
3. In order to walk in the Spirit, we must be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit to know what He is saying and how he is leading us. The Holy Spirit leads in several ways such as through the Inward Witness, through the Word of God and through the Voice of the Lord. Please read our two-part message series on Following the Leadership of the Holy Spirit on this subject.
It is my prayer that this message will spark a hunger in your heart to walk in the Spirit and experience all the fullness God has for you in Jesus name. We also invite you to share this message on social media and follow us on our Facebook and Twitter pages. You may also use the handle @thebeholdfile.
David Adeniji is the Founder and President of The Behold File, a teaching ministry founded in 2003. The Behold File provides a platform through which the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of men to see Jesus so they can be changed to be like him.