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. (Galatians 5:16-17)
Learning How To Walk
It was difficult at first. There was hesitancy of letting go and leaping forth in faith to what was certain failure. The legs were not strong enough. Trying to find balance was impossible. Unstable and unsteady, attempting to walk seemed doomed from the beginning. Over a short period of time freedom was realized when after continual attempts ending in failure there were small successes and then final victory. The child stood wobbly upon two feet and took steps without falling. In time, walking was second nature. Then came running and jumping and the early struggles learning to put one foot in front of another were a distant memory. The spiritual walk is not uncommon from the struggles of learning to walk at an early age.
Everyone who is a child of God begins with the new birth and the pains of infancy. Like a small child learning to walk, the Christian must learn how to walk before God. This becomes a daily effort to discern the right path to walk and the correct decisions that will bring glory to God. Learning how to walk enhances the spiritual growth of the child of God to find greater peace in His word. Paul admonishes the brethren to walk in the Spirit so they will not be overcome by the pleasures of the flesh. The battle between the spirit of truth and the lusts of the flesh is an everyday challenge. Walking in the Spirit is bearing the fruit of God’s image in every part of the character of the person. The works of the flesh are carnal and bring the person to be a slave of sin. Defeating the lusts of the flesh demands a spirit walk filled with the presence of God.
Spirit minded people think about spiritual things. Their hearts are attuned to the voice of God and frequently talk to the Lord through prayer. Walking in the Spirit discerns the way a person thinks, his language, attitude and outlook on life. The lusts of the flesh seek for immediate gratification and pleasure with no lasting value. When the mind of carnality guides the spirit of man there will only be heartache and misery. Only when one learns to walk in the Spirit will confidence fill the heart to overcome sin. It is hard at first. Like learning to walk for the first time, there will be failures along the way. Success will only come when the child picks itself up and tries again. As a Christian, there will be failures in the walk of God. Do not let these failures keep you from trying again and again gaining strength and confidence as you go. Walking in the Spirit is a lifetime of effort.
The lust of the flesh wars against the will of the Spirit. At the same time, the Spirit is at war with the flesh trying to bring it into the bondage of righteousness. Satan wants us to fall. He does not desire for us to learn how to walk. As long as we fail, we are kept close to him. Learning to walk by the Spirit means that we do not have to be in bondage to the wiles of the devil. The spirit of the flesh and the spirit of Christ are at odds with one another. Victory will come when we grow stronger spirits to live for Christ each day, walking in the Spirit of God through faith, love, prayer, meditation and thankfulness for all the Father has done for us. Walking away from the lusts of the flesh will only come through the power of God working in our lives to walk in the Spirit.
Let no one remember that he will make progress is all spiritual things only insofar as he rids himself of self-love, self-will and self-interest. (Ignatius Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, 1548)