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Walk After the Spirit

Posted on July 24, 2019 at 10:55 AM

Dear Saints;

Have you ever noticed how the life we are called to live as believers seems totally backwards to what we naturally think? The words of Jesus illustrate the problem when he says such things as, “the first shall be last’, “the greatest will be the slave to all”, and “seeking to save your life will cause you to lose it”. Perhaps the most extreme was his commands to “turn the other cheek” and “love your enemies”. Paul described this backward lifestyle as “walking after the Spirit’ rather than “walking after the flesh” (Romans 8: 4) since it requires the supernatural power of the indwelling Spirit of God working in us.

 

Although it is totally backwards to the norms of this world, walking after the Spirit rather than the flesh is really the healthiest way to live. Those who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit enjoy certain personal and relational benefits others can only dream about. In spite of the fact that we still have a sin problem in our lives as believers (i.e. the flesh) and must face the consequences of that problem wreaking havoc in our lives; believers may be assured of the fact that we are under no condemnation from God. This first provision of the Spirit gives us the peace we desperately need living in this world as we realize that God is doing for us what we could never do for ourselves.

 

In addition to the peace we have in the midst of our inner turmoil with the flesh, walking after the Spirit affords us a real sense of hope. This hope (spiritual joy) is a confident expectation that no matter what we must face in the future we will not lose. Regardless of the things we must suffer or the obstacles we encounter we are sure we can, through the supernatural power of the indwelling Spirit, endure and overcome. We are never really at a loss for what to say or do in any given situation since the indwelling Spirit of God has all the answers. Our job is to simply trust him to comfort and lead us.

 

Relying on that “still, small voice” inside ourselves to comfort us and to make our daily decisions is an expression of faith on our part. Supernaturally giving us personal comfort and empowering us to do and say the things he wants is God’s part. Our part is faith, God’s part is power. The problem we have walking in the Spirit is our natural tendency to reverse this order. Often, we want God to trust us to do or say what we think needs to be done in any situation. Notice how that doesn’t work very well? That’s because we are called on to live by faith! Our part in any issue is always faith. God’s part is always power. Religion turns the equation around and wants God to trust us to do his work. That way our flesh can still be in charge and get the glory for whatever good is done. Once again, walking in the Spirit is totally backwards to our natural thinking. If we are going to walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit, then, we will find ourselves walking backwards.

 

Finally, walking after the Spirit is the only way we can fulfill our Lord’s new command to love others as he does. Knowing that we ourselves are ok we can then think about and love others. In fact, the very first thing mentioned as the “fruit” of the Spirit is that divine love. The way we know that we are in fact walking after the Spirit rather than walking after the flesh is by our love and compassion for others about us. Such divine love is not only the sign to others that we are the disciples of Jesus, but also a sure indication for us that we are walking backwards in this world. Regardless of our situation, there is always an opportunity for us to love others like Christ. Our willingness to be used of God to care for the needs of those around us is proof positive that we have been set free from the bondage of our own sin problem (the flesh).

 

John

 

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