You and I are physical people living in a physical world and yet we are called to walk in the Spirit. Galatians 5:16-17 “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” There is a battle between your spiritual side and your fleshly side. As a born again believer, you love God and want to please Him in all things. But sometimes the fleshly side of you may be strong and you do not do the things that you wish. Jesus, your High Priest, understands what you are going through. Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” When the desires of the flesh are strong, the writer of Hebrews encourages you to boldly come to God in prayer through Jesus Christ to obtain mercy and find grace to help you in your time of need.
What does it mean to “walk in the Spirit”? Romans 8:5 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” To walk in the Spirit means to have your mind set on the things of the Spirit. Since the Spirit desires the things of God, to walk in the Spirit would then be to set your mind on the things of God and do what pleases Him. That should be your goal in life. Here are some of the things that the Bible tells you are the things of God. Ephesians 5:1-2 “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” 1 Timothy 2:3-4 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” John 4:23-24 “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” From the few preceding passages, to walk in the Spirit would be to walk in love, to do what you can to lead the lost to salvation, to do justly or walk righteously, to love mercy, to walk humbly before God, and to worship Him in spirit and truth. This is not a complete list. To walk in the Spirit would be to have your mind set on finding and following the things of God.
To walk according to the flesh means to have your mind set on the things of the flesh. It is a selfish walk. You do what you desire. Romans 8:6-8 “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” To set you mind on the things of the flesh would be to continually think about the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, your desires of the flesh, your desires of the eye, and things you take pride in. The results are the works of the flesh. Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
The admonishment is to walk in the Spirit and not to walk according to the flesh. This is easy to say, but not always easy to accomplish. Maybe you see the failures in your life as a Christian when you walked according to the flesh and you become discouraged. Seek help and leading from the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:13-14 “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” Seek mercy, grace and help from God. We previously read Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” If you try to defeat the flesh with your own strength, you will fail. You need the help from God to walk in the Spirit.
The evidence that you are walking in the Spirit is that you bear the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-26 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” My encouragement to you is to crucify the flesh with its passions and desires and instead walk in the Spirit.