Walking in the Spirit
By: Dr. David L. Sampson
Galatians 5:16 “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
Some may think Paul’s directive to the Galatians is an impractical cliché or an unreasonable request for believers to achieve. However, Paul’s words are not unreasonable nor are they just a catchy cliché; they are a Christian command to obey. The command in this verse is a foundational truth that will daily shape the believer’s life. Nothing else can substitute this process, and to try and do so means only spiritual defeat.
Let’s look deeper into the text—the Greek word for “walk” could be translated as “keep on continually walking.” Meaning—never stop or pause to give room for the enemy to detour your calling from God. Since life transpires one day at a time, we should take each day one step at a time with God. As God’s people walk in obedience to the Spirit, they will find their chief opposition is the world, Satan, and their flesh (cf. Gal. 5:17). Satan will use your fleshly desires against you—to weaken your faith, tempt with sin, and cause you to walk out of fellowship with God. Therefore, it is crucial to possess a scriptural strategy to battle against the flesh, the world, and Satan as we walk with God. It is imperative not only to retain a spiritual approach but also to know how to carry it out effectively. Here are some ways to begin this incredible journey of walking in the Spirit.
Daily Reflect on God’s Word
Psalm 1:2 says the man who walks in righteousness will find their “delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Meditation on the Word of God (i.e., patiently, and thoroughly reflecting on a passage of Scripture) helps to seal the Word in your heart effectively. The meditation of God’s Word is much different than the Eastern religious meditation practices—biblical meditation is where the believer seeks to fill their minds with truth and application of Scripture. Dr. Charles Stanley said: “Prayer and meditation are key elements in resisting temptation. When you saturate your mind with the Word of God, you will gain God’s viewpoint concerning your life and situation. Therefore, when temptation comes, you will know right from wrong and can act accordingly.”
Diligently Renew Your Mind
The key to spiritually renewing the mind is found in Paul’s familiar command: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). Some Bible teachers have paraphrased “be not conformed to this world” as “don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold!” We must recognize the constant threat of the enemy to blind your mind to biblical thinking.
Dr. William Lane Craig profoundly stated: “Our churches are filled with Christians who are idling in intellectual neutral. As Christians, their minds are going to waste. One result of this is an immature, superficial faith. People who simply ride the roller coaster of emotional experience are cheating themselves out of a deeper and richer Christian faith by neglecting the intellectual side of that faith. They know little of the riches of deep understanding of Christian truth, of the confidence inspired by the discovery that one’s faith is logical and fits the facts of experience, of the stability brought to one’s life by the conviction that one’s faith is objectively true. Intellectual impoverishment with respect to one’s faith can thus lead to spiritual impoverishment as well.”
I will argue that living the Christian life in neutral, just idling in apathy and indifference, causes the church to lose the younger generation to worldly thinking and vain philosophy. The decline of church attendance, the violence on our streets, the ethical philosophies of our day are all indicative of a society filled with an unholy worldview. The believer must be careful not to allow social media, cable news, or political agendas to fill their mind with viewpoints that are contrary to God’s Word. Dr. John MacArthur quoted another Bible teacher saying: “Find me a worshiper of God, and I will show you a stable man with his mind in control, ready to meet the present hour with refreshment from above.”
Delightfully Rejoice in God’s Word
You need to note that reflecting on God’s Word produces rejoicing in the Word. The daily intake of God’s Word will bring blessings, which is indicated by the word delight in Psalms 1:2. The word delight carries the idea of finding pleasure. This pleasure is more than material enjoyment; it is a spiritual pleasure that brings comfort, strength, and peace as we are confronted with the daily grind of spiritual warfare. There is great pleasure in studying and obeying the Word of God. Note what Job and Jeremiah said about finding joy in God’s Word.
- Job 23:12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
- Jeremiah 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.
Here is a suggestion for your prayer time— Ask the Lord to give you the wisdom and fortitude to remove the things preventing you from worshipping Him wholeheartedly. When you do, walking in the Spirit will turn to worship and celebration of the one who loves you best—Jesus.
Missional Until He Comes,
Dr. David Sampson
 Charles F. Stanley, Living the Extraordinary Life: Nine Principles to Discover It (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2005), 100.
 John MacArthur, Strength for Today (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1997).