How do you remain in that sweet place where God’s presence surrounds you, joy fills you and peace leads you?
Paul calls it “Walking by the Spirit” in Galatians. Two things that tend to “trip me up” when it comes to this daily walk are:
- My own human strength
- Measuring myself by the world’s standards
This week we want to highlight some words that Paul used to encourage the Galatians to pursue a life of holiness, not in their own effort but in the knowledge of God’s empowering grace in their life.
There are several encouraging points we will make that will help bring strength and encouragement to your relationships and your life. But there is one phrase Paul uses that we’ve adapted into our Christian vernacular and it’s this, “Walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16-18).
So the natural progression would be to answer, “What would that look like for me?”
This week, we want to inspire you, help you and invite you to the best life…the one we are called to live as children of God.
There are two images found in Galatians 5. Today we look at the first image found in verse 18: “If you are led by the Spirit you are not under law.” Most of us read it this way, “If you follow the Spirit…”
To understand the distinction between the two is transformative. The Spirit is not a leader like a pace car in the “Daytona 500.” He is a leader like a locomotive on a train. We do not follow the Spirit in our own strength, rather we are led by His power.
“Walking by the Spirit” means remaining connected (think relational) to The Source of power and going wherever He leads. By the power of the Holy Spirit, I am drawn into the best pathway for my life. When you are “led” it emphasizes the Spirit’s work, not my own. There is an empowering and enabling grace on my life.
The second visual of our walk in the Spirit is in Galatians 5:22: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, etc.” If our Christian walk is to be a walk of love and joy and peace, then “walk by the Spirit” must mean “bear the fruit of the Spirit.” But again, the Spirit’s work is emphasized, not ours. The Holy Spirit bears the fruit.
Recall John 15:4-5: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” So “walk by the Spirit” means “abide in The Vine.”
Paul emphasizes the work of the Spirit, yet the command is for us to do something. It’s our will and opinions that are deeply involved and must be surrendered to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We must want to be coupled to the locomotive. We must want to abide in The Vine. The work I’m involved with is active trust and abiding peace.
“I pray over you a release of the blessings of God’s undeserved kindness and total well-being that flows from our Father-God and from the Lord Jesus” (Passion Translation)
In your own effort, you simply don’t wake up with enough mercy for your day. Most of us often start the morning being hard on ourselves and others before we have even brushed our teeth. That’s why God provides! When we walk by the spirit, we tap into his waterfall of undeserved kindness and mercy. We allow Him to saturate our entire being with His unconditional love. Thank heaven that His mercy is new every single morning!
We will naturally GIVE what we are receiving. Mercy is needed each and every day. Trying hard to be a kind and merciful person takes much human effort. When we walk by the spirit, His mercies identify us and His kindness empowers us!
Make this your personal prayer today.
“I’m obviously not trying to flatter you or water down my message to be popular with men, but my supreme passion is to please God. For is all I attempt to do is please people, I would not be a true servant of Christ.” (Passion Translation)
For many years I struggled with “stretching the truth” or giving “partial truth” because of fear that people wouldn’t like me. Even though my natural personality and behavior are to soften the blow of any challenging truth, as I conquer fear by being found in love, I can face extreme challenges head on. It is here that I discover the value and importance of truth and love – I write on my heart, “I am a lover of truth! I don’t compromise!”
My own human ego will strive to please people. Worldly pressures and the attractions of this culture will pull me towards performing to gain love and acceptance. The Holy Spirit in me is in love with the supreme passion for pleasing God. That’s walking in the Spirit! There is no stretching of the truth here: You and I are immeasurably loved, my God!
Bob and Audrey:
“Because of the transformation that took place in my life, they praised God even more!”
Our lives tell the story of God’s goodness. Your life is a living testament of God’s incredible faithfulness and love. Whenever you feel discouraged, there’s a good possibility that you have measured your success by the culture of this world, and you may be lured by the attraction of what people have to offer as a source of acceptance or approval.
Encourage yourself in the Lord, speak aloud and give direction to your day:
“Arise thoughts of God’s goodness! Arise words of Adoration!” As you set your sights on the realities of heaven, you find rest in His calm retreat knowing that you are a child of God, and you are the one that “Walks by the Spirit!”
- Bob and Audrey Meisner