16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.–Gal. 5:16-18 (NIV)
What does Paul mean when he says “walk by the Spirit”? To understand what Paul is talking about, we have to understand that every word we say and every conscious action we take is a direct result of a decision we have made. The decisions we make are a direct result of our thought patterns. Our thought patterns are controlled by what we spend the most time thinking about. We spend the most time thinking about what we feel is most important to us. The more we think about one thing, the more important it becomes to us. It becomes a cycle of our thoughts producing actions that produce more thoughts about the same thing. We are born in sin into a world that is saturated in sin. so we are going to have sinful thoughts. More and more of the things we hear and see are designed to tempt us to satisfy the flesh. But the flesh wants the things that are contrary to what the Holy Spirit knows that we need. The indwelling Spirit is there to guide us and help us break the sinful thought pattern. Does the Holy Spirit audibly speak to us? Yes, sometimes He does. But most of the time, He just nudges us with a whisper that we sometimes think is our own thought. Sometimes He has other Christians speak to us. Sometimes, He speaks to us through God’s Word. When we have humbled ourselves and seek His guidance, He will get the message to us. If we listen to, hear and obey the message, we are being led by or “walking by the Spirit”.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
28 One of the experts in Moses’ Teachings went to Jesus during the argument with the Sadducees. He saw how well Jesus answered them, so he asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of them all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. 30 So love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second most important commandment is this: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”–Mark 12:28-31 (NLT)
We have been discussing witnessing to others by our lifestyle. The best way to do this is to live out these two commandments. To do that, we must allow God’s Spirit to abide in us abundantly. Then we will be filled with the love of God. This love will overflow into our daily life patterns and people will know that there is something different about us. They will watch us carefully and if our life is consistent with God’s word soon or later they will ask us where we get our joy. This will give us an opportunity to witness using words.
2 Timothy 2:22-25 (NLT) 22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. 23 Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. 26 Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.
We should always avoid any action that makes us appear to agree with sinful deeds. Rather, we should seek the guidance of God’s Spirit and live a life that shows love to our fellow man. We should not neglect to have regular companionship and worship with our fellow Christians. This will strengthen us and help us to follow after Jesus. We should never allow ourselves to be lured into arguments over doctrines and beliefs that go beyond what God requires for salvation. We need to show the love of Christ by showing patience in difficult situations. Don’t be the one to blow your horn in traffic or complain in the grocery line. Use those times to whisper prayers and praises to our Lord and Savior. Then you will find that God blesses those times and you are able to teach others by your actions and your words. Be humble, remembering that you used to live the same kind of lifestyle when you were held captive by satan. Lead a lifestyle that causes others to want to have the freedom and the attitude that you have.
Matthew 27: 50-52 (NLT) 50 Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, 52 and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead.
I fail to understand why people will pay hundreds, even thousands of dollars for tickets to concerts and sports events. I also fail to understand why people will roll out the big bills to attend a dinner with some celebrity. I suppose if you have so much money, you just don’t know where to spend it, those things are all right. But, my question is this: What good did it do you and how long did it last?
Here in this passage, Jesus has just given us total access to the King of Kings. Totally free, no charge and those same people who shell out thousands of dollars to sit with some human who is going to fade away like green grass in the noonday sun won’t accept a free gift. A free gift that sets them free from their bondage to money and power and gives them an eternity with the Creator of the Universe. Free salvation, free eternal life, how can you say no?
Romans 5:1-5 (NLT) 1. Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. 3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
God has not only given us His Holy Son to die on a cross to redeem us from sin, He has also given us His Holy Spirit to indwell us. When God has given us His absolute best, why would He withhold any good thing from us? God knows where we are in our walk with Him. The trials and problems we face are to let us know our progress. God cannot be surprised, He knows us better than we know ourselves. He isn’t worried about tomorrow because for Him, there are no tomorrows, there is only now. So, we should follow His example and stay focused on “now”. We can’t see the “big picture” so we can’t know what is best for us. Everything in creation was created by the Power of His Word and it is held in place by that same power. Everything He allows in our lives is for our benefit. If we truly believe that, then we can truly trust Him to bring us safely home.
Rev 3:15 (NLT) “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! 17 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. 18 So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. 19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.
God wants each of us to be totally committed to Him. Our lifestyles should reflect that commitment. We have to look inside ourselves and allow God’s Holy Spirit to show us where the problem lies. What is keeping us from being totally committed to Jesus? Are temporary physical pleasures more important than eternal life in heaven? Eternal life with Jesus is a free gift, so earning more money is not going to get you there. The only true peace and contentment we have is in Jesus. He knows our hearts and He knows the solution to not only the sins we try to hide, but to any situation we are facing. He is waiting to share that information with You. Stop! Listen! If you do, He will speak to You.